| Opinion/The Review

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

The NFL settlment: Who really pays?

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

Daily Photo Galleries

Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Like an offense hurrying to snap the ball before the opposing coach can challenge a ruling on the previous play, the NFL surely hopes its tentative 20-year, $765 million settlement of about 4,500 retired players' concussion-related lawsuits is approved by a federal judge in Philadelphia before taxpayers realize it would burden them with the vast majority of these players' medical costs.

Writing for Columbia Journalism Review, David Cay Johnston, president of Investigative Reporters & Editors, says media reports have missed the settlement's real significance. He points out that in the context of NFL finances, $765 million is just “a fraction of one percent of likely revenues over the next two decades.” And after deducting from that total the costs of baseline medical tests, research grants and efforts to inform plaintiffs, the settlement's average player payout would be just $150,000 at best.

That, combined with NFL health insurance ending after players are retired for five years, means the settlement “cannot possibly cover the lost wages and medical bills the former players will face during their lifetimes.” And that means many of those players eventually will end up relying on such taxpayer-funded programs as Medicaid and Social Security Disability.

“What the NFL has achieved, if the settlement is approved, is to shift costs from itself to the taxpayers,” Mr. Johnston writes — which makes the public funding for NFL stadiums seem almost taxpayer-friendly by comparison.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Editorials

  1. Mon-Yough Tuesday takes
  2. Pennsylvania edu-crock: What a mess
  3. Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
  4. Alle-Kiski Tuesday takes
  5. A House in disorder: Words to consider
  6. Greensburg Tuesday takes
  7. Keep asking questions
  8. The Thursday wrap
  9. U.N. Watch: The Saudi fix
  10. The language of America: Tongue of success
  11. U.N. Watch: Corruption’s platform