Category Archives: NFL

Fines Drop, but Study Finds Dangerous Hits Still Prevalent in NFL

A recent study by the AP analyzed the rate at which NFL players experience dangerous hits by reviewing 549 penalties called through the first 11 weeks of the 2013 football season.  It found that over the first 162 games of the year, 156 of the penalties studied involved contact with the head and neck.  Statistically, this means that nearly once per game, an NFL player receives a blow to the head or neck that could have serious health and/or career consequences.  The numbers also revealed…

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Ex-Players Sue Kansas City Chiefs Over Concussions

The Kansas City Chiefs are the latest target of concussion litigation.  On December 3, 2013, five former members of the NFL team sued for damages related to head injuries. The case was filed in a Missouri state court on Tuesday by Alexander Cooper, Joseph Phillips, Kevin Porter, Leonard Griffin, and Christopher Martin.  It is the first concussion lawsuit filed against an NFL team, rather than the league. The players allege similar complaints to those in the suit settled earlier this year.  They are suing on…

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NFL Just Can’t Outrun the Concussion Lawsuits

No matter how hard the NFL tries to get away from the concussion lawsuits, they won’t go away. Most recently, former Chicago Bears quarterback Bobby Douglass, and former Northwestern player, John Cornell, are suing the NFL and helmet manufacture Riddell. On November 4, 2013, the two former players filed suit alleging concussion-related injuries resulting from their time on the field. Douglass, 66, was quarterback for the Chicago Bears from 1969 to 1975. He later went on to play for the San Diego Chargers, New Orleans…

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Professional Athletes Fighting “Jock Taxes”

Professional athletes in two states are fighting “jock taxes.”  Arguing that the taxes are “unfair and unconstitutional,” players are telling Tennessee and Ohio they want their money back. A “jock tax” raises state or city tax revenues by taxing athletes who play in those locations.  These taxes are imposed on professional athletes in a number of places such as the state of Tennessee and the cities of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Philadelphia.  The general idea is that athletes are charged a…

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NFL Bullying: Boys Will Be Boys?

How bad could things be for Jonathan Martin? The 24-year-old received a signing bonus of $1,919,468 from the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League last year after leaving Stanford as a second round draft pick. He is guaranteed his entire 2013 salary of $479,867. He is one of approximately 1,800 individuals fortunate enough to be on an NFL roster. He is a starting offensive tackle, one of the most lucrative positions in all of professional football. Considering that the franchise tag for an…

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$50M Settlement Approved in NFL Retirees’ Publicity Rights Suit

A Minnesota federal judge approved a $50 million settlement in a case over the publicity rights of more than 25,000 NFL retirees. Calling it a “historic settlement,” the judge stated it is “very creative and it’s very exciting to see this opportunity being provided to retired players for the first time.” Despite the objection of 19 players, on November 1, 2013, the judge granted final approval of the settlement. The judge noted that “only one-tenth of one percent of the class objected and less…

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Photographers Want to Capture Their Rights

Seven professional photographers sued the NFL, Getty Images (Getty), and the Associated Press (AP) for violating the photographers’ copyrights. The freelance photographers (plaintiffs) filed the lawsuit in New York federal court on October 21, 2013. The lawsuit claims that the three defendants are liable for copyright infringement, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty. The plaintiffs allege that the NFL failed to receive consent to use plaintiffs’ photos in connection with NFL advertisements, news, promotions, and products. Freelance photographers regularly license their photos through…

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Did Concussion Lawsuits Deal a Fatal Blow to Helmet Manufacturer’s Deal with the NFL?

Riddell, Inc. was contractually granted the rights to be the official helmet supplier of the NFL in perpetuity in 1989, over 20 years ago.  However, on Thursday, October 24, 2013, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed that the NFL had negotiated to end its business relationship with the helmet manufacturer at the end of the 2013 NFL season. Riddell initially resisted the NFL’s withdrawal from their contractual relationship, but was ultimately unsuccessful in thwarting the NFL’s designs.  A statement made by Roger Goodell at a youth…

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Closing the California Workers’ Compensation Loophole: AB 1309 Awaits Governor’s Signature

In a previous article (“Stemming the California Workers’ Compensation ‘Gold Rush’: AB 1309”) we previously covered the California’s legislature’s attempt to crack down on “cumulative trauma” type injuries being filed by former sports players who have spent the majority of their careers playing for non-California based teams or who have played a handful of games in California for other teams.  Supporters of the bill have maintained that it will curtail attempts by athletes with little or no connection to the state of California…

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Eighth Circuit Retires Former Player’s Claims Against NFLPA

On September 23, 2013, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision that rejected NFL retirees’ claims against the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).  The retirees alleged that they were wrongfully excluded from settlement negotiations during the 2011 NFL lockout.  As a result, they claimed they lost out on at least $600 million in benefits. Two lawsuits were filed during the lockout.  One suit was brought by active players against the NFL and the other by retired players against the NFL and its teams.  Since…

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