NFL Concussion Settlement: 7 former NFL players that want to speak for all of us

By Jeff Nixon
Aug. 28, 2014

On July 21, 2014 seven former NFL players - Sean Morey, Alan Faneca, Ben Hamilton, Robert Royal, Rock Cartwright, Jeff Rohrer, and Sean Considine - filed an appeal to Judge Brody's preliminary approval of the NFL Concussion Settlement.

In their number one statement in the appeal under the heading Factual Background - The Litigation, they say "In 2011, retired football players began suing the NFL to recover for neurocognitive injuries...."

That's right.  Over the course of the next two years, around 5,000 former players filed suits against the NFL. Those players were instrumental in getting the NFL's attention. There's no way the NFL would have settled this case without the avalanche of lawsuits filed by the brave men (and their wives) that weren't afraid to go on the record.

There are seven players who were not among the players who sued. Do you want to guess who they are?  They are the seven former players that are now appealing the Settlement.

Those seven, have now decided that the deal is lousy. Those seven want to speak for 20,000 former players and say we don't have adequate representation.

In their appeal they say they are doing this because "multiple conflicts deprive many class members of adequate representation, and many other factors, including the substantially declining health of many in the class, call for review without delay."

Unfortunately, they are the ones that are going to cause a delay.

It is almost unheard of to file an appeal of a Settlement that is still in the preliminary approval stage and hasn't even received final approval.

We have already received the formal Notice of Settlement! There is nothing "timely" about their appeal - as they say in their filing.  Like all former players, these seven players have the ability to object, or opt out of the Settlement and pursue litigation on their own.

Instead of doing that, these men and their lawyers have decided to throw a monkey wrench into the process. Class counsel took on these arguments and you can read their response at this link: Seeger / Weiss Response to Appeal

Another question I have is - where were the attorneys behind this appeal years ago, when all of us were retaining lawyers and filing lawsuits against the NFL? Not one of these lawyers was involved in filing any lawsuits on behalf of former players. If they had been part of the Multi-District Litigation that brought about the settlement in the first place then maybe they wouldn't be bitching about it now.

They are upset with the lawyer fees that were negotiated under the Settlement, but what do you think they are doing by filing this appeal? They aren't doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. They want money for their services and this is the only way they think they can get it.

Don't get me wrong. Everyone has a right to make a decision about accepting the Settlement, objecting to it, or opting out. But you can't have it both ways. You can't say you want to help guys like Kevin Turner that don't have a lot of time left on this earth and then turn around and appeal a settlement that could delay the money that would go to guys like him and other former players that have early and moderate dementia, ALS, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

I respect these seven men. They all had long careers in the NFL and they all sustained injuries that may qualify them for compensation under the Settlement.  They don't believe that, but how does someone like Sean Morey, who is only 38 years old, know what his condition will be like in 5, 10, 15 or 20 years? As I've mentioned before, studies have shown that former NFL football players are much more likely than the general population to develop serious neurocognitive impairments.  

I hope these players will do the right thing and make a decision for themselves - to object or opt out – and not continue with appeals that will do nothing but delay and deny the men that need the money now.........and possibly jeopardize it for the ones that will need it in the future.

Because, the fact is, if these seven push their opposition too far, this whole settlement could blow up in our faces we may just end up fighting the NFL in Court all over again.

There are some players that wouldn't mind seeing that happen.

I'm not one of them.