Maybe Deion Sanders was right.
A Los Angeles Times story lambasts Sanders for filing a California worker's compensation claim in 2010 and then criticizing ex-NFL players before the last Super Bowl for filing concussion lawsuits against the league.
I never pass up a chance to mock Sanders, who I consider a paid loudmouth. Condemn Sanders for hypocrisy for mocking fellow retirees for filing suits after playing what he called a "safe game." How safe? The California Division of Worker's Compensation found that football left Sanders 86 percent disabled. They say he is suffering long-term cognitive and emotional issues.
Sanders is an analyst for the league-owned NFL Network. It does the NFL no good when one of its biggest celebrities denies football's long-term impact on the lives of other players while seeking payment for his own injuries.
It seems that my favorite sport may be killing my favorite players.
In a perverse form of loyalty, Sanders did not go after the NFL for compensation. He targeted California. California is fighting back.
The Times analyzed worker's comp claims since 2006 and found that "almost 4,400 athletes had filed claims alleging serious head or brain injuries with nearly 80 percent of them coming from former football players."
The California Senate approved a bill to limit out-of-state worker's comp claims by professional athletes. The bill requires the athlete to have played for a California-based team for two years and have spent no more than seven seasons with an out-of-state team to be able to file a claim.
California, it seems, objects to providing a health benefit to the NFL when 29 of those teams do not contribute to the state's worker's comp fund.
The bill is steamrollering to passage, but it contains a huge "gotcha" that has alarmed the NFL Players' Association.
The players' union warns former players that the bill shuts off all claims by now eligible player on September 15, 2013 ‒ THIS SUNDAY. The original version of the bill set January 1, 2014 as the effective date.
There should be a penalty for that. Offsides, maybe.
The union advises any member who thinks they might have a claim ‒ that's pretty much every pro player at every level ‒ to contact union lawyers to get some money.
The NFL settled a concussion lawsuit filed by 18,000 former players for $765 million, $675 will go to players who suffered cognitive injuries, or to surviving family members. The rest will go into baseline medical studies and education.