TAMPA — For the several retired NFL players, many of whom are former Buccaneers, who are filing a lawsuit against the NFL for past injuries, the fight just got much harder.
Yesterday it was reported in an LA Times Blog that another group of former NFL players were filing a lawsuit against the NFL and equipment makers Riddell and Easton for being negligent in their handling of player injuries; specifically head injuries. the list included former Buccaneers Lee Roy Selmon (the highest profile player name in the suit), Dewey Selmon, James Wilder, Cedric Brown, Greg Roberts, Jessie Solomon, Scott Brantley and Jimmie Giles.
The suit was filed Friday in Los Angeles.
”They took it out of my check for eight years with the Bucs. I’m entitled to it. We don’t want a lawsuit, but if there’s a chance to get some help, you have to look into it. It’s (the lawsuit) not as much for me as it is other people. A lot of guys — the Jerry Eckwoods of this world — are in dire need.”
-Scott Brantley, former Buccaneers Linebacker
The suit claims the accused “acted with callous indifference” and “reckless abandonment” which led to players suffering memory loss, trauma, dementia and various other brain injuries which the NFL, Riddell and Easton were all aware could be consequences.
A report today now claims that although the suit was indeed filed on Friday, the Selmon brothers are not a part of the original lawsuit. Clerical error is being blamed for the reason both Selmon’s were included.
“We’re in the process of correcting these errors,”Lead Attorney David A. Rosen said Tuesday from his Los Angeles office.
“We plan to re-file the suit after making the corrections.”
The Fight Still Continues
But because Lee Roy Selmon’s name is gone from the suit, doesn’t mean it’s not a valid case. Jimmie Giles cites mounting medical bills as his reason for joining the suit. ”I think we have a strong case against the NFL,” Giles said Tuesday. “I’m looking for someone to take care of my medical bills if something happens to me. I don’t want that burden on my wife and family, and I don’t want that burden on the state. Guys who played in my era still have to fight … and that’s sad.”
Former Buccaneers running back Jerry Eckwoods can also be cited as a motivating factor for retired players who suffered trauma during their careers to see the proper financial restitution before it’s too late. Eckwoods is suffering from dementia at age 56. Former Bucs linebacker Scott Brantley is just three years Eckwoods junior.
“It’s there; we paid for it,” said Brantley said of the damage he and his fellow colleagues endured. “They took it out of my check for eight years with the Bucs. I’m entitled to it. We don’t want a lawsuit, but if there’s a chance to get some help, you have to look into it. It’s (the lawsuit) not as much for me as it is other people. A lot of guys — the Jerry Eckwoods of this world — are in dire need.”
Giles, who is the most recent inductee into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor, has said doctors have told him he is showing early signs of illnesses he wishes not to disclose. He sees this as a call to get help now.
“I want to live a long, good life, and right now I suffer every day. It may not look like it when you see me, but believe me, I’m suffering every day.”
Even though this suit includes many names that wore Buccaneer colors, it is never-the-less, a community wide struggle for former players to remain functioning members of society. A sad truth that haunts the NFL and it’s relationship with it’s retired warriors.