Ex-players sue NFL over use of painkillers

Comment: Off

FILE – In this Oct. 7, 2011 file photo, President Barack Obama, left, looks towards quarterback Jim McMahon, wearing headband, as he honors the 1985 Super Bowl XX Champion Chicago Bears football team during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. A group of retired NFL players says in a lawsuit that the league illegally supplied them with risky painkillers that numbed their injuries and led to medical complications. Attorney Steven Silverman says his firm filed the lawsuit Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in federal court in San Francisco. The eight named plaintiffs include Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent and quarterback Jim McMahon. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

FILE – In this Oct. 7, 2011 file photo, President Barack Obama, left, looks towards quarterback Jim McMahon, wearing headband, as he honors the 1985 Super Bowl XX Champion Chicago Bears football team during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. A group of retired NFL players says in a lawsuit that the league illegally supplied them with risky painkillers that numbed their injuries and led to medical complications. Attorney Steven Silverman says his firm filed the lawsuit Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in federal court in San Francisco. The eight named plaintiffs include Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent and quarterback Jim McMahon. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

FILE – In this May 13, 2008 file photo, former NFL player J.D. Hill gestures during a news conference in Chicago, where an initiative was announced that would help retired NFL players in dire need of medical care to receive care with millions of dollars in donated medical services through the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund. A group of retired NFL players says in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, May 20, 2014, that the league, thirsty for profits, illegally supplied them with risky narcotics and other painkillers that numbed their injuries for games and led to medical complications down the road. “I was provided uppers, downers, painkillers, you name it while in the NFL,” plaintiff J.D. Hill, who played for seven years in the 1970s, said in a statement. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

FILE – In this Aug. 6, 2011 file photo, Richard Dent poses with a bust of himself during induction ceremonies at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. A group of retired NFL players says in a lawsuit that the league illegally supplied them with risky painkillers that numbed their injuries and led to medical complications. Attorney Steven Silverman says his firm filed the lawsuit Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in federal court in San Francisco. The eight named plaintiffs include Hall of Fame defensive end Dent and quarterback Jim McMahon.(AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

FILE – In this May 2, 2014 file photo, Richard Dent is introduced before the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest at the International Exposition Center in Cleveland. A group of retired NFL players says in a lawsuit that the league illegally supplied them with risky painkillers that numbed their injuries and led to medical complications. Attorney Steven Silverman says his firm filed the lawsuit Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in federal court in San Francisco. The eight named plaintiffs include Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent and quarterback Jim McMahon. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

FILE – This Jan. 16, 1986 file photo shows Chicago Bears defensive end Richard Dent chases a loose ball during the NFL playoffs in Chicago. A group of retired NFL players says in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that the league, thirsty for profits, illegally supplied them with risky narcotics and other painkillers that numbed their injuries for games and led to medical complications down the road. The complaint names eight players, including three members of the Super Bowl champion 1985 Chicago Bears: Dent, offensive lineman Keith Van Horne, and quarterback Jim McMahon. Lawyers seek class-action status, and they say in the filing that more than 400 other former players have signed on to the lawsuit. (AP Photo, File)

Buy AP Photo Reprints

WASHINGTON (AP) — Opening another legal attack on the NFL over the long-term health of its athletes, a group of retired players accused the league in a lawsuit Tuesday of cynically supplying them with powerful painkillers and other drugs that kept them in the game but led to serious complications later in life.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages on behalf of more than 500 ex-athletes, charges the NFL with putting profits ahead of players’ health.

To speed injured athletes’ return to the field, team doctors and trainers dispensed drugs illegally, without obtaining prescriptions or warning of the possible side effects, the plaintiffs contend.

Some football players said they were never told they had broken bones and were instead fed pills to mask the pain. One said that instead of surgery, he was given anti-inflammatory drugs and excused from practices so he could play in games. Others said that after years of free pills from the NFL, they retired addicted to painkillers.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in Atlanta for the league’s spring meetings, said, “Our attorneys have not seen the lawsuit and obviously I have been in meetings all day.”

The case comes less than a year after the NFL agreed to pay $765 million to settle lawsuits from thousands of retired players who accused it of concealing the risks of concussions. A federal judge has yet to approve the settlement, expressing concern the amount is too small.

The athletes in the concussion case blamed dementia and other health problems on the bone-crushing hits that helped lift pro football to new heights of popularity.

The new lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Francisco and names eight players as plaintiffs, including three members of the NFL champion 1985 Chicago Bears: quarterback Jim McMahon, Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent and offensive lineman Keith Van Horne.

More than 500 other former

Comments

comments

About the Author