The National Football League has agreed to settle a lawsuit with more than 4,500 retirees who had sued the league, claiming they suffered long-term health effects that stemmed from head trauma that comes with playing the violent game, the New York Times reports.
The $765 million settlement announced Thursday was considered a big win for the NFL, which has $10 billion in annual revenues, the Times reports. The league potentially faced much larger liability payouts in the billions. But many players were eager to settle, the Times reports. Some of the plaintiffs are suffering from dementia, the newspaper reports.
Not all players embraced the deal.
"I think it's a BS deal, and the only people winning in this whole thing are the attorneys," Chuck Foreman, five-time Pro Bowl running back for the Minnesota Vikings, told the Pioneer Press.
Among the players who were part of the suit were former Vikings "Purple People Eaters" Jim Marshall and Carl Eller, the Star Tribune reports.
The Associated Press notes that a key term of the deal is that it "cannot be considered an admission by the NFL of liability or an admission that plaintiffs' injuries were caused by football."
The agreement, still subject to court approval, would funnel $675 million to players and their lawyers. Another $75 million would go to testing players and tracking their health, as well as research in concussions and education, KARE 11 reports.
"It'll mean a lot particularly for youth sports and younger athletes," said Eller, the Vikings Hall of Fame defensive end who heads the Retired Players Association, KARE reported.
Another plaintiff in the suit was the estate of Wally Hilgenberg, who died five years ago at 66, suffering from an illness that made him unable to walk or speak, KARE reported. He played 16 seasons in the league and played in all four of the Vikings' Super Bowl games, KARE noted.
Other ex-Vikings in the suit include former quarterback Jim McMahon, the Associated Press reports. Sports Illustrated last fall profiled McMahon's struggle with early-onset dementia, which he and his girlfriend tie to the four documented concussions that McMahon suffered in a 15-year career.