A report issued last Friday by the National Football League (NFL) that one of its football coaches, some teams and players were involved in a bounty scheme is startling news for our Fort Lauderdale sports injury attorneys. According to Reuters and several other national media sources, NFL investigators met with the former defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, Gregg Williams, on Monday due to his involvement of an orchestrated scheme that paid big money to league players to intentionally injure other players. For what is being called the, “pay for pain” scandal, Williams is believed to be the mind master of the bounty scheme and recruited U.S. football players from the Saints, and possibly the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans during the periods he acted as a coach for each of the teams. Under the plan, football players could be paid $1,500 for “knockouts”, $1,000 for “cart-offs” during regular season play, but that amount could double or triple during for postseason games, such as the playoffs. Williams has admitted his wrongdoing and said that “it was a terrible mistake”.
Further, Williams, who has been hired by the St. Louis Rams, said that the system was in place while he coached for the Saints. Moreover, the Bills CEO, Russ Brandon, has denied knowledge of his team’s involvement with the payment system. There are reports that well-known players such as Brett Favre and Kurt Warner were targets of the scheme. For the most part, at least Williams has acknowledged his wrongdoing and has taken responsibility for his unethical conduct that harms the reputation of the league. Nevertheless, there are serious legal consequences which are sure to arise that the NFL, owners, coaches and the participants who were involved in this scandal could likely encounter.
Besides the possibility of criminal charges being filed against those identified as the wrongdoers, there could also be grounds for a civil suit, including a Florida personal injury lawsuit that could be filed by the injured parties. An intentional hit to cause injury upon a person can be a basis for a civil assault and battery. Many legal analysts have weighed in on this issue and have argued that Williams, among others, could face paying damages to their targets due to their conduct. Although other legal commentators on the subject have said that if a personal injury lawsuit was filed, then the defendants in the case could argue that the plaintiffs assumed the risk of the contact because football by its nature is a sport in which contact is to be expected.
However, as Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, we know that the type of conduct in which football players ordinarily consent to is not of the kind of physical contact that was involved under this scheme and thus exceeded the scope of ordinary consent. It is understandable that physical contact associated with a sporting activity such as football is inevitable and players typically will not consent to intentionally suffering serious injuries such as a head concussion.
Our Fort Lauderdale sports lawyers are here to help those who have been intentionally injured in any type sporting activity, including professional athletes. When you have suffered serious life threatening harms, the law states that you could be entitled to recover damages for your injuries. Contact our office today to speak with one of our attorneys to learn more about your legal rights.
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