Former NFL, FSU players lobby for payment in Devaughn Darling's death
From the News Service of Florida:
Family members and former teammates of a Florida State University football player who died while working out nearly 15 years ago gathered Tuesday at the Capitol to urge lawmakers to approve a bill that would compensate his family.
Devaughn Darling was a freshman for the Seminoles in 2001, when he collapsed and died during a training session. His family later agreed to a $2 million settlement with the university.
But under the state's sovereign immunity laws, the family could not collect more than $200,000 without legislative approval of what is known as a "claim" bill. Such bills have been filed repeatedly to compensate the Darling family but have not passed.
Devaughn Darling's twin brother, Devard, said it is difficult for his family to have to lobby lawmakers year after year.
"Nothing can bring him back, no amount of money,'' Devard Darling said. "$1.8 million isn't worth Devaughn's life, but like everyone has said, it is just the closure that we are looking for. We have to relive this every year."
Several former NFL players and FSU teammates joined the Darling family at the Capitol. Bills (SB 16 and HB 3513) that call for paying the Darling family have yet to be heard by legislative committees this session.
"I'm going to be here to support them (family members), and I hope that those that will vote on this issue and will bring this issue to the table will just think of the family,'' said Corey Simon, a former Florida State and NFL player.