The Washington Post has spilled a considerable amount of ink recently in covering the NFL. In Sally Jenkins's latest column, she argues, "the NFL is becoming more disturbing than appealing, and TV viewers are tuning out." In another, Kent Babb and Steven Rich write about the NFL's "quietly escalating" problem with fan violence, which often leads to severe injuries and assault charges. In a third, Jenkins tackles NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for suspending New York Giants kicker Josh Brown just one game following a domestic violence charge. Tom Brady, on the other hand, got a four-game suspension "over the amount of air in a football."
Pop Warner: A Football Legend
Linda Carroll with NBC posits the theory that concussion-related brain injuries could be fueling the legal problems currently plaguing the NFL ("Could Brain Injuries Be Behind the NFL Rap Sheet?") Texas authorities have accused star Vikings running back Adrian Peterson of hitting his child with a switch made of a stripped tree branch. Peterson faces charges for child abuse. The Vikings played the off-again, on-again, off-again game with Peterson, but seems to have settled on suspending Peterson for the time being.
Several weeks ago, we covered a bounty scheme in a California association of a youth football league. The same league is in the news again this week after coaches allowed a team of 10- to 12-year-old boys to rack up no less than five concussions in a single game. All of the injured boys were on the losing team. The other side won, 52-0.
The NFL punished one of its teams for running a "bounty" program between 2009 and 2011. Bounty programs reward players for delivering devastating or game-ending injuries to the opposing team. As concerns about the effects of sports-related traumatic brain injuries continue to rise, football bounty hunting is a disturbing practice.
The residual effects of mild traumatic brain injuries have received increasing scrutiny over the past few years. Perhaps in response to mounting criticism of football-related head injuries, the NFL gave a $30 million grant to the National Institute of Health this week. The money will fund a study of the long term effects of brain injuries.
Previous posts have discussed the impact that a traumatic brain injury can have on a person's life. More than 2,000 former NFL players and their wives have filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL, accusing their former employer of not doing enough to prevent repeat concussions and long-term brain injuries. The former players claim that they suffer from depression and early-onset dementia.
Some sports law and personal injury attorneys believe that the recent NFL bounty scandal may result in personal injury litigation. The NFL scandal erupted earlier this spring when it came to light that the New Orleans Saints had a bounty system which encouraged team members to injure their opponents.