NFL Paid Ted Wells Same As They’d Payout A Player With Parkinson’s
In all of the commotion surrounding the release of the transcripts from Tom Brady's appeal hearing it has come to the public's attention that Ted Wells' billed the NFL "somewhere between 2.5 and 3 million" dollars for his services, and that the work of others that assisted with the investigation would be paid out accordingly.
Oh...that's not enraging in the slightest. Especially when you consider this: that amount is uncomfortably more than the $2.11 million in salary that the average NFL player made last year. That's a joke, and it's not even the worst part.
Goodell and the NFL disregarded and disrespected their own players and the fans by engaging in this investigation in the first place. Everyone keeps talking about the "optics" of Brady destroying his cell phone and the "optics" of being so vehement in his denial of wrongdoing.
What about the "optics" of paying a guy more for a few months of work investigating an equipment violation than you paid many of your players who were diagnosed with 202 total concussions during preseason and the regular season in 2014? Check out the particulars according to CNN regarding the class-action lawsuit settlement between the NFL and former players.
"On April 22, 2015 a federal judge [gave] final approval to a class-action lawsuit settlement between the National Football League and thousands of former players. The agreement provides up to $5 million per retired player for serious medical conditions associated with repeated head trauma."
Holy shit. If that doesn't make you mad enough, just keep reading.
"There are several categories, based on a doctor's diagnosis, with maximum payments ranging from $1.5 million to $5 million. For instance, an ex-player who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease could receive up to $3.5 million...The award might be less when service time or age of the retiree are factored in."
Let that sink in. Ted Wells and his three months of investigation into the possible tampering of a football is worth as much to the NFL as a man who ends up with a devastating and life-altering disease because he played the game that they make billions off of. Am I the only one whose blood is boiling?
Most of the players that were involved in that lawsuit were not given the type of concussion education and protocol that is in place today. And even if they were, the NFL is one of the most profitable sports leagues in the world. They make that money on the backs of men who get their heads smashed in on a regular basis. Whether or not they continue to increase safety protocol, hazard pay for players who help make their billions is certainly not too much to ask of the NFL.
If the maximum payment for an Alzheimer's or Parkinson's diagnosis is $3.5 million, I don't want to know what kind of diagnosis it takes to get the full $5 million. I'm no expert on medical expenses for these types of conditions and God willing I will never have to be. But there is no way in hell that three months of investigation into a non-criminal NFL Rule Book violation should be worth nearly as much as a player who becomes permanently brain damaged while doing the work that you require from them as your employee.
This entire situation is the symptom of a league that is systemically broken from top to bottom. What is that word that Goodell keeps using in defense of his relentless pursuit of Tom Brady and the Patriots? Oh yeah, integrity. He shouldn't even be allowed to let those words touch his lips. There are men in the NFL beating their wives, smashing up cars, getting in drunken, violent altercations, doing steroids and carrying illegal firearms. Then there are good men who love the game that they play for you and your league so much that put their future and their health on the line. The former deserve more of your discipline and the latter deserve more of your respect and your money, Mr. Goodell.
Fans and media, the NFL must be held accountable for this. Every single minute and dollar more that is spent arguing against a team that has already coughed up $1 million and a first round draft pick is a direct middle finger to your team and your players as much as it is to the Patriots. Goodell and the NFL have made it clear that they value Wells' service as much as they value your star linebacker who could end up disabled by middle age; or possibly already has. That's just flat out unacceptable.
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