A lawsuit filed by former NFL players that alleged the league routinely and illegally gave them dangerous painkillers has been dismissed by the judge in the case, according to the Associated Press.
More than 500 former players, including Richard Dent, Jim McMahon, Keith Van Horne and Marcellus Wiley, filed the lawsuit in May, claiming that team physicians withheld injury information and gave the players painkillers so they'd remain on the field despite their injuries.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled that the issue has to do with the league's collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association and not the law. Alsup said the concerns were serious but that the NFL has addressed them in a "serious way" that are "backed up by the enforcement power of the union itself and the players' right to enforce these benefits."
"In ruling against the novel claims asserted herein, this order does not minimize the underlying societal issue," Alsup wrote. "In such a rough-and-tumble sport as professional football, player injuries loom as a serious and inevitable evil. Proper care of these injuries is likewise a paramount need."
The ruling is subject to appeal, and the nine players who were named as plaintiffs have until Dec. 30 to file an amended complaint.
On Sunday, Nov. 16, Drug Enforcement Administration agents conducted surprise inspections of the medical and training staffs of visiting NFL teams at games and checked for potential violations of the Controlled Substances Act, actions which were reportedly motivated by the lawsuit.
- Molly Geary