Tuck: Football Players Know The Risk

The NFL is now facing dozens of lawsuits from former players who say their lives have been adversely affected by brain injuries suffered on the field.

The Washington Times reports that Clinton Portis is the lead plaintiff in an 83-player lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.  Portis recently said he played through concussions “all the time” during his nine-year career with Denver and Washington.

Dante Culpepper, who played for the Vikings, Dolphins, Raiders and Lions, and former Bucs running back Cadillac Williams are among the 82 co-plaintiffs.

In total, over 4500 former players are involved in lawsuits against the league and it’s teams.

I feel terrible for those players that deal with the consequences of playing a violent, dangerous game for 15-25 years of their life.  It is uncomfortable to read about the disorders, the family drama, and in some cases, the suicides that can be related to head injuries.

But I refuse to acknowledge they deserve more money for their troubles.  They were all paid royally as players.  Even the ones that played long ago, or didn’t play long enough to build up a Scrooge McDuck piggy bank, knew the risk involved.

Every single one of these players made a choice to play.  I am sure the same two factors made them decide it was worth it.

1. The money.  A chance to make a lot of it.

2. The game.  You get to play a game you love, and are glorified for doing it.  I wouldn’t want to stop either.

Sadly, those decisions came ahead of their own future well-being.  The argument that they didn’t have a doctor or somebody to tell them how bad it could be doesn’t hold water.  Logic dictates.  It has to.  Nobody knows exactly what the future will hold, but we can all certainly agree that different types of risky behavior puts our health, and our future health in jeopardy.  It wasn’t the NFL’s job to predict the future for these men.

Everyone knows the risk involved with football.  Signing up for Pop Warner football as a kid, parents know.  The risks only grow bigger as the children grow bigger and become young men, and then grown men.  We all know this.

I feel bad for the injured and beaten down.  I just don’t feel like they should be paid twice for their work.