Another summer, another class-action lawsuit against the NFL. This time, eight former NFL players—Richard Dent, Jim McMahon, Jeremy Newberry, Roy Green, J.D. Hill, Keith Van Horne, Ron Stone, and Ron Pritchard—filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that the NFL supplied them with illegally prescribed painkillers throughout their careers, which led to medical complications such as addiction later in life.
Specifically, the players are alleging:
1. The NFL illegally and unethically supplied players serious pain medications, including addictive opioids, and NSAIDs such as torodol.
2. The NFL did so for financial gain, in order to keep them in competition rather than allowing them to rest and heal.
3. The NFL “fraudulently concealed” the dangerous side effects of the drugs from players.
3. The illegal prescription of these painkillers has led to dangerous medical conditions later in life, including painkiller addiction, stage 3 renal failure and high blood pressure.
More than 500 other former players have signed on to the lawsuit, which was filed today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, according to lawyers representing the former athletes. They are looking to make the case a class action lawsuit.
An NFL spokesman told Fusion that NFL lawyers have not yet had time to review the lawsuit.
The full complaint outlines how plaintiff after plaintiff went through the same ordeal: illegal prescription of painkillers, deceit about both the injuries and the side effects of the drugs, and subsequent medical damage.
Some excerpts include:
“Named Plaintiff Jeremy Newberry received hundreds of Toradol injections over the course of his career and for many games, would receive as many as five or six injections of other medications during the course of a game. He also would receive Vicodin before, during and after games to numb pain and often during a game would simply ask a trainer for medications, which would be provided without record as to who was receiving what.”
“While playing in the NFL, Mr. Hill received hundreds, if not thousands, of pills from trainers and doctors, including but not limited to NSAIDs, Codeine, Valium and Librium. No one from the NFL ever talked to him about the side effects of the medications he was being given or cocktailing. He left the League addicted to painkillers, which he was forced to purchase on the streets to deal with his football-related pain, a path that led him to other street medications. He eventually became homeless and was in and out of 15 drug treatment centers for a period of over 20 years until overcoming his NFL-sponsored drug addiction.”
“Mr. Green, who received hundreds of NSAIDs (which can cause kidney damage) from NFL doctors and trainers, had tests performed on him while he played in the NFL that showed he had high creatinine levels, indicative of a limitation on his kidney function. No one from the NFL ever told him of those findings. In November 2012, he had a kidney transplant.”
Of course, this is the second class-action lawsuit filed against the NFL by former players. In August 2013, the league agreed to a $765 million settlement with former players who alleged the league lied to players about the physical danger of concussions, which created long-term disabilities for the players that were not covered by league insurance.
You can read the full lawsuit here: