Sunday, May 20, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: The high cost of dangerous sport

An unprecedented settlement between the National Football League and thousands of former players with concussion-related health issues is a pragmatic if unsatisfying compromise. The NFL certainly has the revenue to pay more than the $765 million to settle 4,500 claims by former players and their families. But many of the players cannot wait for years of court battles to play out and need the money to pay for treatment and help their loved ones.

For the NFL, which makes nearly $10 billion a year primarily from lucrative television deals, the settlement is less than 10 percent of its annual revenue and roughly the value of one small-market franchise. But the settlement avoids costly and protracted litigation that could have stretched for years and provides immediate, much-needed financial help to damaged players suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, Alzheimer's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease and extreme chronic depression stemming from repeated head injuries on the field. In all, some 20,000 former players or surviving family members are eligible for compensation.

With no court trial, the image-obsessed NFL will avoid potentially embarrassing discovery proceedings where officials would have been forced to address allegations that the league was aware of scientific data substantiating the long-term debilitating effects of concussions yet failed to warn players of the risks. Former players benefited from avoiding discovery testimony that might have delved into prior concussive injuries from playing football in high school and college.

The long-term dangers of repeated head injuries came into vivid and tragic relief with the suicides of former NFL stars Junior Seau, Dave Duerson and Andre Waters. All of them were found to be suffering from CTE. Reflecting the risk football players face on the field, in post mortem examinations CTE has been found in the brains of every former NFL player tested.

From the stands, a professional football player's life seems glamorous. And it can be. But the NFL settlement is sobering reminder that there is a potentially deadly price to pay years after the cheers have faded. The medical research into these football-related health issues should continue, the safety equipment should continue to be improved and players at all levels should be better informed of the risks of playing the violent sport.

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Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the stateís 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondiís lawsuit against the nationís largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the stateís battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestraís violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestraís violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice theyíve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondiís lawsuit against the nationís largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the stateís battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Childrenís should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Childrenís should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Childrenís Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institutionís lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

St. Petersburgís 3-year-old recycling program has reached an undesirable tipping point, with operating costs exceeding the income from selling the recyclable materials. The shift is driven by falling commodity prices and new policies in China that cu...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: HUDís flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Editorial: HUDís flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Housing Secretary Ben Carson has a surefire way to reduce the waiting lists for public housing: Charge more to people who already live there. Hitting a family living in poverty with rent increases of $100 or more a month would force more people onto ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

It’s a safe bet Florida will get caught up in the frenzy to legalize wagering on sports following the U.S. Supreme Court opinion this week that lifted a federal ban. Struggling horse and dog tracks would love a new line of business, and state l...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/16/18