Normally, this would be the time for a “laces out” joke, but this is no laughing matter. Dan Marino, the Hall of Fame quarterback who famously played for the Miami Dolphins, holds a host of league records, and started nearly 100 NFL games in a row, joined with thousands of current and former professional football players in filing a concussion-related lawsuit against the league. While the NFL settled the class-action lawsuit with players earlier this year for $765 million (a literal drop in the bucket for an organization that makes more than $9 billion a year, per Forbes), the money “remains in limbo,” according to CBS Miami, “as a judge decides whether that’s actually enough money” for players suffering from brain problems associated with multiple concussions.
Filing out of Philadelphia, Marino and 15 other former players set the civil action complaint in motion last week, singling out the NFL’s knowledge of the “player’s increased risk of future brain deficits” in regard to the league’s concussion policy. Former player Toddrick McIntosh, one of the others on the suit, described his symptoms as a loss of balance and an equilibrium problem while walking. The players are alleging that repetitive hits to the head during games and practices, while “subconcussive” in nature, are at the heart of the problem, and that the league did not properly inform the players of the dangers or make sufficient effort to keep injured players off the field.
“We’re warriors, so to speak,” said McIntosh. “That’s not smart — running out, banging your head, killing yourself.” The former defensive end did admit that, as football players, that was the name of the game, adding, “That’s what we do.” McIntosh played for the Dallas Cowboys, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the New Orleans Saints. He also said that he was glad that a Hall of Famer like Marino was joining in with the effort and bringing more visibility to their cause.
Update: As of Tuesday afternoon, Marino is attempting to remove himself from the lawsuit, according to the Florida Sun-Sentinel. A source told the paper that “[i]t was never Marino’s intention to initiate litigation in this case, but to ensure that in the event he had adverse health consequences down the road, he would be covered with health benefits.”