NFL Reportedly Supplied Players with Illegal Drugs

Last updated on November 4th, 2019

More than 500 former NFL players have reportedly signed on to a class-action lawsuit against the league, accusing the organization of pumping them up with prescription medications and other dangerous narcotics in order to be able to compete in games.

The lawsuit was spearheaded by eight retired players, including three who are members of the 1985 champion Chicago Bears. They claim that the NFL obtained and dispensed the drugs illegally, without a prescription, while team doctors and trainers intentionally didn’t inform them of serious injuries such as broken legs and ankles. Some of the players in the lawsuit claim their own painkiller addictions were sparked by years of free medication administered by the NFL.

“The NFL knew of the debilitating effects of these drugs on all of its players and callously ignored the players’ long-term health in its obsession to return them to play,” said Steven Silverman, the attorney for the players. The lawsuit is also pushing for the NFL to create a testing and monitoring program designed to help prevent addiction and disabilities related to painkiller use.

The lawsuit is also pushing for the NFL to create a testing and monitoring program designed to help prevent addiction and disabilities related to painkiller use.

Although the financial damages the players seek are unspecified, we do know that the NFL settled for $765 million last year in a case accusing the league of intentionally withholding information on the risks associated with player concussions. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy has not yet addressed the accusations, simply stating: “we have not seen the lawsuit and our attorneys have not had an opportunity to review it.”

Drug use has been an ongoing problem in the NFL, though. Recent examples include former Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd being arrested on felony drug charges in 2011 after negotiating to buy and distribute large quantities of cocaine and marijuana. After violating his bond by failing two drug tests, he received a 15 year prison sentence last November.

Since March 2013, NFL players have been arrested 27 times on charges related to drugs and alcohol, including DWI, possession and public intoxication.

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