Sue The NFL For Concussions? Get Your Head Examined!

Now that the Super Bowl is over, the really big game begins. And it’s going to be a head-knocker .

On one side we have the raiders. No, not Oakland, but the Trial Lawyers, who delight in raiding everything good and decent in America. They are representing former NFL players in their fight against the evil empire, a.k.a. the National Football League. At stake? Upwards of ten billion dollars, and possibly, the existence of the NFL itself.

And what is the nerve center of this federal lawsuit, filed in Philadelphia, that have the plaintiffs so mad they’re seeing double? What went so wrong that these former players, given a life of royalty by the NFL, now want to ring the League’s bell?

They suffered concussions playing football.  No lie.  That’s actually the basis of the lawsuit.

The sheer stupidity of such a suit makes you wonder if they really did get hit too many times, because no one of sound mind could dream up something like this.

It would seem, therefore, that their motive is rooted in something else. In the preferred legalistic nomenclature, they’re looking for a handout.

Maybe they’re bitter because they didn’t play in the era of massive contracts. Maybe it’s because they can’t function as “regular” guys after being worshipped for so long, which, for many, started in grade school. Others may feel lost, with football the only thing they know. But their commonality is thinking they are entitled to something.


The outcome of this lawsuit should be a no-brainer. But given the insanity in America’s civil legal system, a jackpot jury award is definitely possible.  (NFL Properties and helmet maker Riddell are defendants, too.)

The players claim the NFL hid information linking football-related head trauma to permanent brain injuries (such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease). In addition to monetary damages, they want the NFL to assume responsibility for the medical care involved for those players suffering from those health problems.

Let’s look at the case objectively:

1) This sense of entitlement is not just misguided but inappropriate. No one held a gun to players’ heads to sign lucrative contracts and become celebrities to play football.  They’re big boys, and chose their profession — with its risks — of their own free will.

2) And yes, there are risks. Plenty of them. Football is not a contact sport; it’s a collision sport. It is an intensely physical, violent profession. That’s why God made pads and helmets, but any third grader can tell you that those things only help to minimize injuries, and can never totally prevent them. The NFL is not a flag-football league, but one with punishing hits. That’s the game. Players can take it or leave it.  Not surprisingly, they take it.  Always.

3) The pass-the-buck, take-no-personal-responsibility attitude so prevalent in America is once again on full display. Players knew the risks, reaped immense rewards, and now, after the fact, want to blame the NFL for their issues. And are we really supposed to believe that the NFL willfully engaged in a grand conspiracy to keep players in the dark about the effects of hard tackling? To swallow that, we must assume that the League had every doctor in the country on the take, preventing them from speaking to any player who had questions about concussions. And that it somehow inhibited medical professionals from conducting research into concussions and brain injuries.

4) Did the NFL, the medical community and our society know as much about concussions several decades ago? No.  Is there a concerted effort now to better understand brain trauma, and to make all sports — including NFL football — safer? Absolutely.  That’s not malfeasance. It’s progress.

5) Is the NFL culture one that glorifies big hits, highlights them on NFL films, and encourages playing through injuries? Yes, but so what? Fans love when players get leveled, and players love delivering big-time jolts, which often help their team. Gutting it out has always been a source of pride for players, who do it not to secure the next big contract but because they love the game.  An admirable choice, but a choice nonetheless.

6) Where does it end? Should a firefighter who gets burned sue the fire department? Is a baker responsible because an obese donut-eater develops heart disease? And should office workers who develop carpal tunnel syndrome have legal standing to sue their company?

Some jobs have higher risks, and playing NFL football is one of them. But given the lavish rewards, it’s an acceptable risk to players — past and present.  And regarding former players who state that, if they had today’s knowledge back then, they would have opted out — give us a break.  Not a chance in the world.

7) The NFL (and the Players Association) has spent more than a billion dollars on pensions, medical and disability benefits for retired players.

The NFL also operates numerous health programs for current and former players, and offers medical benefits to former players, such as joint replacement, neurological evaluations and spine treatment programs, assisted living partnerships, long-term care insurance, prescription benefits, life insurance programs, and a Medicare supplement program, according to the League. Equipment has improved, and safety has increased, including outlawing certain types of hits.


Is it sad that some former players have trouble walking, concentrating and living a “normal” life? Sure.  Is it a tragedy when a few commit suicide? Absolutely.   But it’s time that these players stop blaming others for their situations and look in the mirror. They made their choices, and for most, lived a fairy tale.
If they now choose to feel sorry for themselves, or regret their choices, fine.  But it’s a personal foul to ruin the game not just for current and future players, but for the ones who allow the League — and its former players —to be so successful: the fans.

And you don’t need your head examined to see that.

Nationally in Newsmax:


Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau,  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at

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February 12, 2013 at 10:03 am Comments (0)

Freindly Fire’s Biggest Losers Of 2010

The nature of New Year’s is to look at things in a positive way, but truth be told, it’s a lot more fun to tee off on those most deserving of our wrath, ridicule and pity.

So now, Freindly Fire’s most deserving Losers of the Last Year:

Dick Clark

How do you criticize a man whose stroke of good fortune made him the real American Idol for several generations of Americans?  Not easily.   But Freindly Fire has never stroked egos to make nice; the sad truth is that Dick Clark’s time has come and gone.  His continued presence on ABC’s New Year’s Eve program is an embarrassment to the network, and, whether he knows it or not, a humiliation to Clark. 

His incoherence is a morbid fascination for millions, to the point where viewing Clark’s gaffes has itself become a New Year’s Eve tradition.  He was fantastic in his prime, and his courageous comeback was admirable. But let’s face it.  One last go-round would have been more than enough inspiration for people with debilitating conditions.  The prolonging of Clark’s once-proud career has made him the butt of tasteless jokes, unfortunately validated by his woeful countdown to the stroke of midnight.

Even talentless host Ryan Seacrest looks uncomfortable trying to understand, let alone converse, with Clark.  Like an aging athlete whose time to hang it up is obvious to all but himself, Clark is trying to maintain a relevance that is simply impossible to achieve.

To salvage whatever’s left of his dignity, please, ABC, pull the plug on Dick Clark.

Teachers Unions, Trial Lawyers, Taxers and Tea Party critics

Throughout Pennsylvania and nationwide, all four spent millions this campaign season — and all got shellacked.

For the first time, more candidates than not took a hard-line stance against unchecked lawyer greed, fat union contracts, organized labor’s outrageous demands, and increased taxes.  And the fiery Tea Party made sure those issues remained at the forefront of the election cycle.

The result?  Hard to say.  Despite their vanquishing, none of the losers is going away anytime soon.

Facing a brand new phenomenon called accountability, teachers unions will use their unlimited campaign war chest (obtained through forced dues) to dig in hard against pension reform, school choice and public education funding cuts.  Trial lawyers will continue to write big checks, since tort reform threatens their very survival (and the number of Mercedes in the driveway). Taxers will again try to handcuff the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry by imposing job-killing extraction taxes and fees, and Tea Party opponents are looking to prove their nemesis to be a One-Hit Wonder.

However, special mention in this category goes to State Representative and House Democratic Campaign Chairman Mike Gerber of Montgomery County, who, just one month before the election, arrogantly boasted, “We will hold and maybe even expand our majority.” In fact, under Gerber’s watch, the Republicans gained 13 seats (and the Majority) despite being outspent by $1.3 million.  With that kind of predictive accuracy, maybe he should be a weatherman.

Tucker Carlson

Filling in as host for Sean Hannity on FOX, Carlson said that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick should have been executed for killing dogs in his dogfighting operation. 

What a buffoon.  

Does he really believe that? Common sense would say “No,” but he appeared deadly serious. 

Look. What Vick did was heinous and inexcusable.  But he served his time, and appears to be penitent.  How he behaves moving forward will tell a lot about whether he is truly sorry.

But Vick isn’t the issue.  Carlson’s cheap shot to gain a brief bit of fame is. 

Equally as pathetic was Carlson….

Read the rest and post a comment at Philly Mag’s Philly Post:


Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau,

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a guest commentator on Philadelphia-area talk radio shows, and makes numerous other television and radio appearances, most notably on FOX.  He can be reached at

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January 4, 2011 at 10:56 am Comments (0)

PA Business Leaders Sell Out Orie In Supreme Court Race

PA Business Leaders Sell Out Orie In Supreme Court Race


If there’s one word to describe the Pennsylvania business community, it’s consistent, as in consistently pathetic.

The state’s business leaders — and that description is a stretch— once again dropped the political ball and, in all likelihood, will be the biggest losers after next month’s state Supreme Court election —
one of the most important in decades. With the court deadlocked 3-3, the winner will shape the court’s direction for years to come. Republican Joan Orie Melvin and Democrat Jack Panella, both judges on the Superior Court, are duking it out.

Panella has outraised Orie Melvin by a wide margin, thanks to huge financial support from labor unions and trial lawyers. While Orie Melvin is certainly still a viable candidate, it’s no secret that whoever touts the largest warchest has a distinct advantage.

Why the large gap between the two? Enter the business community, or, more accurately, lack thereof.

Pennsylvania’s business leaders, for the most part, have sat on their hands, preferring the view from the sidelines, as is virtually always the case.

While Orie Melvin struggles to keep pace, Panella enjoys the nonstop support of the archenemies of business. Why?

Because when it comes to politics, the business community is lazy, incompetent, and clueless. That is a broad stroke, to be sure, for there are executives who innately understand what’s at stake (check out those in Luzerne County in northeastern PA) but courageous and politically savvy business folk are definitely the exception.

Pennsylvania business leaders make many excuses for their failures, but most common among their inane babble is that they “just want to run their companies, and don’t have time for politics.”

Two points:

1)That’s a cop-out. Make time. Organized labor and the trial lawyers do.
2)Business is governed by politics. Period. Every aspect of business is conducted in accordance with the political environment: regulations, health care, liability, taxes, etc. The list never ends.

What part of this can’t these guys understand?

Let’s make this simple.

If one candidate is strongly backed by labor and lawyers, then a business leader should support the other person, financially and otherwise. And no, it’s not beneath you to host a coffee klatch, put up a yard sign, form a political action committee, or, God forbid, stuff an envelope. Those “pedestrian” things win elections.

But despite business’ complete disregard for the political process, they are always the first to complain when something doesn’t go their way.

Which, this being Pennsylvania – home of the worst business climate in the nation – is an everyday occurrence.

Newsflash: if you bang your head against a wall nine times, you will get the same result on the tenth try.

But this incomprehensible behavior should come as no surprise.

The Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, chaired by David Cohen, one of Ed Rendell’s biggest fundraisers and closest advisers, actually thought the recent 100 per cent increase in the Philadelphia sales tax was a good thing. So much for the Chamber’s stated goal of sensible tax policy.

Where was the business community when the Fair Share Act came up for a vote not long ago (a bill that would have limited a defendant’s liability to only his share of responsibility)? Nonexistent, because they naively believed Gov. Rendell’s campaign pledge that he would sign it. Instead, he vetoed it.

Unlike business leaders, the trial lawyers didn’t need a proctologist to find their head. And guess what? They won.

We own the second highest corporate net income tax in the country. Onerous and often unnecessary regulations placed on our companies by unaccountable bureaucrats with no real-world experience stifle job growth, innovation and productivity. And instead of being phased out, our capital stock and franchise tax has found new life.

But where is the outcry regarding the state’s ever increasing taxes, which, by the way, result in companies and jobs fleeing Pennsylvania in droves? Nowhere to be heard.

And there is barely a whimper at the prospect of taxing to death those companies drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, a blossoming industry which, if not destroyed by our politicians, will create thousands upon thousands of good-paying, long-term jobs.

The manufacturing economy is little more than a distant memory, and our hostile legal climate has increased the cost of doing business in Pennsylvania to the point that we are virtually dead last in America for job creation.

The message should be absolutely clear — elected officials will act only when these issues become ones they cannot escape, whether at debates between candidates as they run for re-election, at meetings with community leaders in their districts, visiting a coffee shop, or giving a speech to a service club.

But that won’t happen unless the attitude of business changes. And since attitude reflects leadership, don’t hold your breath.

So if Mr. Panella happens to win, watch for the business community to emerge yelling and screaming after the court upholds its first ludicrous jackpot jury award or company-killing regulation.

And when they do, I have a message for those hypocrites: Look in the mirror, and don’t let the door hit you in the derrière as you fade into oblivion.

Chris Freind, author of “Freindly Fire,” is an independent columnist and investigative reporter whose readers hail from six continents, thirty countries, and all fifty states. He can be reached at

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October 8, 2009 at 1:18 pm Comments (8)