According to ESPN, very few players are likely to opt-out of the NFL Concussion Litigation Settlement proposed in June. Players are given three options with respect to the settlement: they can accept, opt-out, or object. Attorneys have predicted that any number from two dozen to several hundred of the eligible 18,000 players will choose to opt-out. Some players have already opted out of the settlement, which could provide leverage against the settlement. While many former players eligible to receive money from the settlement are unhappy with the deal, the deal provides a surefire way to recoup some benefits and avoid an uphill litigation battle. If the settlement is rejected, the NFL may prevail on a preemption argument, on account of the fact that the NFL and the players are involved in collective bargaining and subject to that agreement, the NFL has argued that the concussion dispute should be settled in arbitration. Notable players who have chosen to opt-out of the settlement include Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Joe DeLamielleure and the family of deceased Linebacker Junior Seau, which could provide leverage against the settlement. U.S. District Judge Anita Brody will have a lot to consider when she makes her judgment on the settlement at the fairness hearing next month.
Jason Fixelle is the Sports Highlight Editor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current second year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2016).