nfl, painkillers, lawsuit


In 2014 and 2015, two groups of former National Football League (“NFL”) players brought lawsuits against the NFL for its handling and distribution of opioids and other dangerous painkillers. While neither lawsuit has succeeded in its goal of addressing the painkiller problem, they brought to light the broken pain management culture of the NFL and the health risks these medications pose to both active and former players. Addressing the opioid problem should be a top priority for the NFL and the National Football League Players’ Association (“NFLPA”). This Note examines the pain management crisis in the NFL, and analyzes the two player lawsuits, illustrating the difficulty players face in obtaining relief in the courts. Additionally, this Note discusses the joint NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) and demonstrates the NFLPA’s need to negotiate for changes in that agreement to secure relief for former players and protect active players from any further harm.