The last few years have seen a rising hum of voices suggesting that playing football can cause brain damage. With the release of several prominent studies, rising player suicides and lawsuits; the noise had risen to a deafening crescendo threatening our love of the NFL. What made things even worse and a potential public relations disaster was the mountain of evidence that the NFL knew about the long-term risks of the frequent player concussions and had swept it all under the rug.
Last week, the NFL agreed on a $765 million settlement with the players even though they were more than likely going to win the case. They settled in part, because although they would have one the legal case, they risked losing in the court of public opinion. The longer the case dragged on, the longer the sad plight of many former players would have been on full display. Whether right or wrong, that type of emotional spectacle would have surely converted some fans into thinking the league didn’t care for its players.
The NFL settlement is textbook example of a business (the NFL) seeing the bigger picture, protecting its brand and doing the right thing even though it didn’t have to. It was all wrapped up more than a week before the new season started.
Here is a link to the story.