Along those lines, the NFL can now minimize the public relations damage caused by the litigation. This is true not only for purposes of fan attitudes and media commentaries, but also -- more importantly -- in regards to members of Congress. Members of both political parties have increasingly signaled concern over the health of retired NFL players and the perception that football is too dangerous. Settling the lawsuit does not end the broader question of whether football is too unsafe, but it likely removes from the table potential legislative proposals directly adverse to the NFL. The NFL, like the NBA, NHL and MLB, enjoys exemption from antitrust scrutiny for national broadcasting deals with the networks through the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961. Rumors of connecting that continuation of the exemption with the health of retired players are now likely to wane.
Michael McCann is a Massachusetts attorney and the founding director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. He is also the distinguished visiting Hall of Fame Professor of Law at Mississippi College School of Law.