Football, Sports

Retired Football Players Just Got Jacked Up!

Bet you can still get through that thing to someone’s brain.

Jefferson, are you injured or are you hurt?–James Caan, The Program

Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.–Joseph Heller

A few years ago, ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown used to do this bit where their assorted chuckleheads would sit around reviewing the biggest hits the NFL’s weekend action had to offer. At the soaring crescendo of each smash, one of the giggling ninnies would shout “You got JACKED UP!!!” And everyone would dissolve into further paroxysms of laughter.

I’m not going to tell you that I knew what was being displayed on the TV was morally reprehensible back then. Quite frankly, I’ve never been on the vanguard of moral consciousness. I was recently shocked to find out that beating your pets is not only frowned upon, but deeply taboo in almost every social circle. This late life come-to-Jesus moment does nothing for Rascal, who’s still smarting over my intemperate outbursts.

The point, if there is one, is that the arc of the moral universe seems to be about as long as my patience with animals. Everyone I know is getting gay married these days, weed is damn near legal, and slobberknocking hits are now, if not wholly condemned, quietly enjoyed in the privacy of one’s home (like samizdat or BBW porn). Strange days, indeed.

Yesterday, the NFL settled a major lawsuit filed against it by former players who claimed the league had failed to protect its players in the face of mounting evidence that concussions were making them permanently stupid or crippled or sad or worse.

Let’s talk which side got JACKED UP.

Let’s talk sports…


Elie here: that’s Leonard Marshall celebrating over a concussed Joe Montana in a playoff game. I don’t give a good goddamn about Joe Montana’s brain. Of course, I’m probably not letting my son go near a football field.

The settlement of the lawsuit brought by former players removes what was once thought to be an existential threat to the NFL. Perhaps “removes” is too strong a word, as the league will continue to confront challenges to its inherently barbaric nature. But the settlement does show that the NFL can settle its way to a victory that is a fiscal drop-in-the-bucket for teams. Lester Munson broke down what the dollar amount represents for each NFL club:

If the settlement sum is divided equally among the 32 owners (a procedure the NFL has used in earlier settlements), then each owner will pay only $24 million. And the $24 million will be paid in installments, half of it within three years and the remainder over the following 17 years. A large portion of the $24 million will be paid from league and team insurance. If you told any owner a year ago that he could escape from the concussion crisis with a payment of $24 million, he would have been relieved and happy.

If the amount owed by each team were converted into a currency comprised of boring overpaid quarterbacks, each franchise would then owe a little over one Flacco. And one Flacco is the very definition of chump change.

If you want a more detailed take on the settlement without all of the dog beating, I highly recommend Lester Munson or Michael McCann. I do not recommend Pete Prisco. I also do not recommend picking up yesterday’s New York Times, which ran a horribly-timed look at the lawsuit mere hours before it would settle. The paper of record had this to say about the case (emphasis added):

Brody could also order the sides to continue working with a mediator, as they have been since July, to reach a settlement, although the league and the retired players are unlikely to reach an agreement until they get more clarity from Brody about the scope of the case, legal experts said.

The chances of a quick settlement, though, are complicated by the plaintiffs’ competing agendas. Some older retirees may want money as soon as possible, while younger players facing many more years of medical bills might want to hold out for more.

Larry Schiffer, a lawyer representing Alterra America Insurance, which wrote one policy for one year for the N.F.L., told the judge that a settlement could cost $2.5 billion, a figure some legal experts consider conservative.

Prognostication is hard. And there is obviously a chance that this settlement crashes on the rocky shores of old demented football players’ anger. But the Times probably wishes they could take a mulligan on this one.

They’d also probably like to have excised this part of the story, a quote from someone who teaches at my alma mater. Consider its vapidity a key insight into my own idiocy. With teachers like this, I didn’t stand a chance:

“It has to be in the Mount Rushmore of things that keep Roger Goodell awake at night,” the lawyer Scott A. Andresen said, referring to the N.F.L.’s commissioner.

Andresen, who teaches sports law at Northwestern University, added that he would not be shocked if the case eventually went to the Supreme Court.

“Mount Rushmore of things that keep Roger Goodell awake at night.” The concussion lawsuit had to be in the carved mountain landmark of things that keep the commissioner awake. The lawsuit was surely the granite-faced Washington of concerns Goodell had. Roger Goodell had a nightmare where he was chased by a stone Abraham Lincoln, but instead of a rock dick, Lincoln had a concussion lawsuit he was trying to stick in Goodell’s butt.



Manziel’s attorney predicted that the spunky QB would start Texas A&M’s first game this year. Turns out, he was too clever by a half.


This is an occasional feature where we talk about ‘sup with Aaron. Well, not much ‘sup with that guy. He’s still sitting in a jail cell. He’s probably telling his fellow prisoners “If you think this is bad, imagine being in Coach Belichick’s doghouse.” Which, probably, all the other prisoners nod their heads in agreement but seriously? They think Aaron Hernandez is definitely overstating the degree to which Bill Belichick could make a fella’s life hell. This being prison and all and the comparison seeming to come out of nowhere since, like, they all know Aaron Hernandez was a football player and they could totally stand a few less mentions of the Patriots and whatnot. I mean, that’s cool and all that you were a professional football player two months ago. But two weeks ago? I saw you take a doodoo since your toilet is right out in the open is probably what the prisoners say to themselves.

Oh, and Rolling Stone reported that Aaron Hernandez liked to get wet.


* The new coach of the Atlanta Hawks was charged with a DUI this week. Somewhere in Detroit, Josh Smith smiles. Then bricks a three.

* A former Arkansas football player named Josh Melton was charged with second-degree murder. The murder allegedly occurred after the victim puked on Melton’s living room floor. Melton’s attorney plans to mount a vigorous party foul defense.

* Another arrest warrant was issued for Titus Young after he missed several scheduled court dates. I admit that I didn’t read this carefully, so it may be that he missed several scheduled court figs. I always mix those two up.

In the end, settlement not surprising [ESPN]
Half-game penalty for Johnny Manziel [ESPN]
The Gangster In The Huddle [Rolling Stone]

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