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Saturday, May 24, 2014

The NFL and Painkillers: Get Over It

I was going to make this post about Cleveland and Johnny Football, but I've heard about all I can handle on that subject until August.

Anyway, moving on to more pressing issues. As you may or may not be aware, several former and current NFL players have filed a lawsuit against the league claiming they knowingly hid (or downplayed) the after effects of painkillers. The plaintiffs in this case are basically arguing that the NFL treated players 'like lambs being sent to the slaughter' when it came to dealing with issues of pain and/or injury.

As someone who works in the prescription drug care industry, I am warned on a continual basis of the dangers of drug abuse. I have also taken painkillers on a couple of different occasions, most notably for back pain. Yet as someone who is reluctant to take medication in the first place, I have not become addicted to painkillers.

On the other hand, I do know people who have become addicted to painkillers, even if they were aware of the consequences. I am also not as naive to think that the league informed all its players equally on the lasting impact that drugs could have. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if teams failed to inform players sufficiently because, in effect, they didn't know themselves.

But for me the bottom line is that these former players need to get over it. As much as they believed the owners were hiding something from them, they also wanted to be out on the field more than anything. Their whole lives revolved around playing football, and very few of them prepared for a life outside of football. Many people would argue they were as much a part of the culture of violence as management.

So while these former NFL stars sue the league on a question we may never know the real answer to, they would be better served by educating the current generation of athletes. Because, after all, they may be just as guilty as the league itself.