NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saw fit this morning to make sure that he got his point across that the $765 million settlement of NFL concussion claims, was more than enough to cover the claims of the 20,000 retired players. He took his case to the morning television airwaves today as he appreared on CNBC.
As a guest on the Squawk Box, Commissioner Goodell expressed confidence that the settlement will be approved.
“We think that there is sufficient funding,” Goodell said. “That’s why we reached the agreement that we did. And the plaintiffs are standing behind it, we’re standing behind it. We have to convince the judge that there are sufficient funds there to meet the demands going forward.”
There’s a very easy way to do that, as we’ve mentioned a time or two this week. If the league believes the $675 million pool of money (of the total $765 million settlement) will cover all claims that could be made over the next 65 years, then the league should commit to providing any extra money that will be needed if the pool of money runs out.
Goodell is responding to Judge Anita Brody who has been very concerned that the settlement of the concussion lawsuit won’t have enough funding to cover retired players who develop severe cognitive impairment decades from now. And so she has declined to approve the global settlement pending further information that shows the funding will be sufficient.
Judge Brody has asked for more raw financial data before scheduling a fairness hearing this year, when objectors can question the plan. The objectors could later decide to opt out of it.
Some critics said the NFL, with more than $9 billion in annual revenue, was getting away lightly. But the players’ lawyers said they would face huge challenges just to get the case to trial. They would have to prove the injuries were linked to the players’ NFL service and should not be handled through league arbitration. They could end up with nothing.
There will be plenty more debate before Judge Brody comes to a number she feels is fair, which could indeed be the $765 million dollars that the NFL offered.