Ex-football players sued the National Football League (NFL) alleging that the league provided players with painkillers and other drugs to mask injuries. The complaint filed in May stated there was a "culture of drug misuse" in the NFL in which the league administered cocktails of medications, including opioids, local anesthetics and anti-inflammatories, so players could continue to play while injured. Some players claimed they have suffered permanent physical damage as a result.
This case was part of a broader effort by athletes, through litigation, to be compensated for injuries.
About a month ago, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigators inspected equipment and questioned the medical staff of several NFL teams after games, seeking evidence of improper dispensing of prescription drugs.
In a recent ruling, U.S. District Judge Willliam Alsup in San Fransisco dismissed the lawsuit. The Judge stated that the NFL has taken many steps to address players' medical care by requiring clubs to protect their health and safety as part of collective bargaining agreements with players' unions. Player lawsuits over provisions of those agreements that would require courts to interpret the accords are barred by the Labor Management Relations Act.
The retired players can take up their claims through grievance procedures and arbitration with the league. Alsup stated, "the league has addressed these serious concerns in a serious way -- by imposing duties on the clubs via collective bargaining and placing a long line of health-and-safety duties on the team owners themselves."
The case is Dent v. NFL, 14-cv-02324, U.S. District Court Northern District of California (San Francisco).