Arguing that “football has become the site of perhaps the gravest health crisis in the history of sports,” lawyers for thousands of former NFL players asked a judge to reject the league’s bid to dismiss their lawsuits about concussions.
In a brief filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, the players dispute the league’s framing of the cases as a labor issue that should be governed by the sport’s collective bargaining agreements instead of the legal system.
Among the players’ arguments: Relevant CBAs did not address long-term brain injuries, the NFL committed fraud by concealing risks of repeated head trauma, and the league has a common-law duty to protect players.
The league filed its motion to dismiss the lawsuits in August and now will have the chance to respond to the players’ reply. The NFL repeatedly has stated publicly it did not intentionally mislead players and has tried to better protect their health.
The attorney for New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma has gone to court in the bounties case with an email from a former assistant coach Mike Cerullo who called the Saints a “dirty organization.” The email is part of a filing that seeks to block former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue from hearing appeals of the alleged program to pay for injury-producing hits. It is designed to back up Vilma’s claim that Cerullo had a vendetta against Saints interim coach Joe Vitt. … Michael Vick will remain the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. … Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey says there’s no truth to the report of ongoing talks between the Jets and the Jaguars over the trade of Tim Tebow. … Denver quarterback Peyton Manning was unaffected in practice by an injury to his right thumbnail. … Washington receiver Pierre Garcon and safety Brandon Meriweather are unlikely to play again this week. … Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill is practicing on a limited basis.