Yesterday, the NFL agreed to pay $765 million to settle a concussion lawsuit. I asked Daniel J. Flynn, author of The War on Football: Saving America’s Game, about the suit — and the state of the game.
“I have seen the future, and it is bubble wrapped,” Flynn joked when I asked him if this was indicative of a cultural shift where we are becoming a nation of wimps.
Part of the problem, Flynn said, is that “the intent of football is to … cause violence to the opponent.” More people die skateboarding each year than playing football, but since the intent of skateboarding isn’t to cause violence, we perceive it much differently.
Back to the lawsuit. Flynn thinks the settlement is good for football. The NFL brings in about $10 billion a year, so they can certainly afford to pay $765 to make this problem go away. So this is obviously a good deal for them. But that’s not Flynn’s sole focus.
“The leagues that sell candy bars and raffle tickets to stay in existence, they couldn’t afford another year or two of the propaganda surrounding this lawsuit and survive,” Flynn said, “because parents were starting to get the idea that football is not about building character and building bodies — they started to get the idea that football is about brain damage. And they were being guilt-tripped away from signing their kids up for football.”