July 18, 2014 Bob Langdon

Kevin Regan

NFL Players Association Sued for Civil Conspiracy on Behalf of Former NFL Players
New Lawsuit Argues that NFLPA was Complicit with League in Covering up Concussion Risks to Players

Kansas City, Mo., July 18, 2014 -- A group of former National Football League players has filed
lawsuits against the NFL Players Association, alleging it failed to take necessary steps to protect
players from traumatic brain injuries in the face of overwhelming medical evidence that on-field
concussions lead directly to such injuries. Former NFL players Neil Smith, Anthony Davis,
Ladell Betts, Christian Ballard and Gregory Westbrooks are among the plaintiffs in this case,
which seeks medical monitoring and financial compensation for the long-term chronic injuries,
financial losses, expenses and intangible losses suffered as a result of the NFLPA’s intentional
and negligent tortious misconduct.

Kansas City-based law firms The Regan Law Firm, Shaffer Lombardo Shurin, Langdon &
Emison and Yonke Law LLC are leading the lawsuit. The claims filed assert that the NFLPA
has been aware of the evidence linking repetitive traumatic brain injuries (TBI) to long-term
neurological problems for decades, but it deliberately ignored the risks to players and failed to
communicate this critical information to them and to the general public.

As pointed out in the suit, DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFLPA, said to Congress
in 2009 that “for far too long, our former players were left adrift (and) we were complicit in the
lack of leadership and accountability but that ends now.” At further hearings before the House
Judiciary Committee, Smith testified “there is simply no justification for the NFL to have
previously ignored or discredited” the body of research available to that point.

“In the truest sense of the word, the NFLPA is not a union because a union looks after its
members,” said Bob Langdon, attorney for Langdon & Emison. “NFL players could have
avoided or mitigated the dangers of their sport had the NFLPA provided them with truthful and
accurate information.”

Plaintiff Neil Smith, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1988
to 1996 and won two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos, while Ladell Betts played
professional football for the Washington Redskins from 2002 through 2009 and for the New
Orleans Saints in 2010. Anthony Davis won a Super Bowl championship with the Baltimore
Ravens. Greg Westbrooks played for multiple teams during his NFL career. In 2011, Christian
Ballard was drafted in the fourth round by the Minnesota Vikings; he retired from the NFL in
2013. During their careers, these players sustained multiple repetitive traumatic head impacts and
concussions during practices and games, which were never acknowledged and never treated.

Over the years, these plaintiffs as well as their colleagues in the league paid thousands of dollars
in dues to the NFLPA. The NFLPA, through its representatives and agents, assured players that it
would protect their best interests and owed to its members a fiduciary duty.

“We believe that the most important resource in the NFL is the players, and the most essential
part of a player’s body is the brain,” said attorney Kevin Regan, who has represented NFL
players in other matters. “Considering the millions of dollars received as dues from NFLPA
members, the NFLPA did not do enough to protect its members from traumatic brain injury.”

The suit alleges that, “At all times, the NFLPA has had unparalleled access to and knowledge of
data relating to the relationship between head impacts on football players and cognitive decline.
This access to and knowledge of data comes from the NFLPA’s awareness of the growing body of
scientific literature on the subject, its own medical consultants, its own requested or commissioned
studies on the subject, its participation in the Retirement Board of the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL
Player Retirement Plan (“Retirement Board”), and its participation in the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Committee (the “MTBI Committee”).”

“Sadly, the players association knew for years about the medical science behind the dangers of
the game, and in spite of their promises to do what was in the best interest of their members, they
joined the league in hiding those dangers from everyone,” said Jim Kearney, who started for the
1969 Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. “These former pro players should be proud of
themselves for stepping up, because they’re standing up and saying that they would have
behaved differently if the players association hadn’t been complicit with the league in hiding
their full knowledge from them. If this action through the court system would have been
available to me when I was just out of the league, I would have been alongside them as part of
the lawsuit.”

The suit also argues that rather than informing the players of the results regarding nervous system
disorders, the NFLPA instead deliberately concealed the results of the studies that had been
commissioned for the players’ protection. The NFLPA supplied false and misleading information
regarding the risk of harm and engaged in a long-running course of fraudulent and negligent
The players association further engaged in a campaign of disinformation designed to dispute
accepted and valid research regarding the connection between repetitive head injuries or
concussions and degenerative brain disease; and to create a falsified body of research that the
NFLPA could cite as proof that truthful and accepted neuroscience on the subject was
inconclusive and subject to doubt.

“For years, the NFLPA received and paid for advice from medical consultants regarding health
risks associated with playing football, including the health risks associated with concussive and
sub-concussive injuries,” said Rick Lombardo of Shaffer Lombardo Shurin. “When presented
with information from such medical consultants regarding the health risks associated with these types
of injuries, the NFLPA ignored, concealed and turned a blind eye to such information. These
individuals should not be asked to pay the costs for the players association’s negligence.”
About the lawsuit: Together the four firms of Shaffer Lombardo Shurin, The Regan Law Firm,
Langdon & Emison and Yonke Law LLC continue to accept additional plaintiffs in related
personal injury lawsuits related to professional football injuries. To learn more about this body of
litigation, you can visit the group’s website at