Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Powerful Op-Ed by Alan Milstein in the National Law Journal on the NFL Concussion Settlement

In a new piece titled Brutality's The Winner in NFL Settlement, our own Alan Milstein looks at the broader implications of the NFL concussion settlement for The National Law Journal. 

Here's an excerpt:
What remains unsettled after U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia signs off on In Re National Football League Players' Concussion Litigation is whether the game itself should survive.

Fifty years ago, after boxer Davey Moore died after sustaining repeated blows to the head in a nationally televised fight, Bob Dylan asked whether the promoters, the writers and even the fans were responsible, singing their answer that "Boxing ain't to blame. There's just as much danger in a football game. It's just the old American way. It wasn't us that made him fall. No, you can't blame us at all."

Maybe. But it's worth asking whether it is even ethical to root on and support a game when we know the players are placing themselves at serious long-term risk. And even if we are not to blame, because we paid to watch the gladiators duel it out from our perch in the Coliseum, what does it say about us when we encourage young people to enter this very dangerous arena?

As bioethicist Arthur Caplan told me, the settlement "only reinforces my ethical anxiety about a league that knows its game greatly harms its players but won't fess up, and instead, talks about the 'safe' way to play the game to worried parents in its commercials." In 1905, a year when 18 athletes died in intercollegiate football, President Theodore Roosevelt threatened to abolish the game if the brutality could not be reduced. Perhaps he should have acted. 
To read the rest, click here.

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