Hall of Fame defensive lineman Howie Long, who played 13 years for the Oakland Raiders, said Sunday it was clear that the NFL’s landmark concussion settlement with more than 4,500 former players who sued the league didn’t contain enough money to properly compensate every player who needed help.
“I don’t think you have to be a math major to figure out the numbers on that settlement. It’s not enough, and I’d like to see more,” Long, who is now an analyst for Fox, said during a pre-Super Bowl panel discussion on Fox News Sunday.
In January, federal judge Anita Brody refused to grant preliminary approval to the settlement because she said the league and the players had not sufficiently proven that the $760 million agreement included enough money to make payments to all qualifying players under its compensation structure. The settlement offers different payments for different diseases, from a maximum of $3 million for neurocognitive impairments to a maximum of $5 million for Lou Gehrig’s disease (other diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, fall in between).
Though both sides say they have economic analyses showing that the settlement is sufficient, those studies were not included in the preliminary settlement filing. An ESPN analysis found last year that if former players suffered the covered diseases at expected rates, the settlement would need more than $1 billion to properly pay them all.
Other players and their attorneys have also raised concerns about the settlement. The attorney for the family of former player Dave Duerson, who committed suicide in 2011, told Sports On Earth that many of the attorneys and players involved haven’t seen the analysis proving that the settlement is sufficient. The wives of three former players told NBC News in January that they believe it isn’t large enough. The family of Junior Seau, the long-time linebacker who committed suicide in 2012 and was later found to have CTE, said this week that it did not believe the settlement was sufficient because it did not address wrongful death claims.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on Fox News Sunday that he was confident the settlement would be approved.
And though he was critical of the settlement, Long wasn’t sure former players could afford a drawn out process to try to make it larger.
“I think one reasons why you’re willing to settle for that amount at this point is, you’ve got players in their older years who are in great need, who need the money right now, who can’t wait for a prolonged negotiation for potentially a bigger settlement,” Long said.