Michael Myers v. The National Football League, filed Feb. 24 in a the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, reads much more like a detailed magazine article than a personal injury suit. There’s a good reason for that, explains the attorney who filed the complaint.
The allegation in the complaint is simple enough: Former NFL lineman Michael Myers alleges the league did not do enough to warn him of the permanent damage that he now suffers from as the result of “devastating head injuries” from playing football.
But it also goes into deep history about the NFL, what happens to a human whose head is hit violently over and over again, and even Congressional testimony by doctors about NFL injuries. That’s because you don’t take on the league that hosts America’s most popular sport and do it lightly, says Anthony Buzbee (pictured), of Houston’s The Buzbee Law Firm, who represents Myers.
“There are a lot of people just like me who are fanatic football fans. The point is: This has substance,” says Buzbee of the complaint. “This is not a player who is penniless and is not playing anymore and wants money.”
The NFL denies the allegations in Myers’ complaint, and others like it, writes Brian McCarthy, vice president of communications for the NFL, in an e-mail.
“The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so. Any allegation that the NFL intentionally sought to mislead players has no merit. It stands in contrast to the league's actions to better protect players and advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions,” he writes.
Myers, who played for the Dallas Cowboys for six seasons before retiring in 2007, alleges he now suffers from “migraine headaches, sleeping problems, dizziness, light-headedness, loss of short-term memory [and] other memory related problems” because of head injuries he suffered while playing in the NFL.
On Jan 31, the U.S. Judicial Panel on MultiDistrict Litigation selection a U.S. district court in Philadelphia to handle the multidistrict ligation filed by numerous other former NFL players who have filed similar complaints.
Buzbee says he will soon file cases similar to Myers’ on behalf of 50 other NFL players, and Myers’ complaint is just the first.
“I’ve been working on this case for a while. This case is going to be a doozy. You are fighting the NFL, and you know America loves football. I love football,” Buzbee says. “But I think it’s pretty clear the NFL didn’t do enough to prevent concussion.”
--- John Council