SBD/September 3, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

As Seau Family Opts Out Of NFL Concussion Settlement, Could Others Follow Suit?

An attorney for the family of late NFLer Junior Seau yesterday said that they will "reject a proposed settlement between the league and thousands of former players," according to Fainaru-Wada & Fainaru of ESPN.com. The decision to "opt out" means the Seaus will "proceed with a wrongful death lawsuit they filed" in January '13. That suit alleges that the NFL "concealed the dangers of football-related head trauma over a period of several years." The announcement is a "serious blow to the NFL's efforts to put the concussion issue to rest." It "raises the specter of continuing litigation that would pit the NFL against the family of one of its most popular players." The settlement received "preliminary approval from a federal judge in June." Seau attorney Steve Strauss said that the family "concluded that the deal does not address several concerns, including adequate compensation for the descendants of the former players." Strauss said that he "hoped other players might follow the Seau family's lead and opt out of the deal to force the two sides to negotiate a better deal." It is "unclear how many other players, if any, have signaled their intent to oppose the deal." Strauss said that the Seau family will "formally notify an administrator of their intent to opt out before an Oct. 14 deadline." Players also have until that deadline to "formally object to the deal." A large number of "opt outs" could "become a factor in the judge's decision to give final approval" (ESPN.com, 9/2).
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