Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon and seven other ex-NFL players claim the NFL illegally gave them narcotics and other painkillers that led to addiction and long-term medical complications in a bombshell lawsuit filed on Tuesday.
This comes on the heels of the league agreeing to pay $765 million last year to players who claimed in a class-action lawsuit that the NFL concealed the dangers of concussions. A federal judge rejected that deal in January and the case is still pending.
Tuesday's suit, filed in San Francisco federal court, says the league obtained and administered the drugs without prescriptions in order to get injured players back on the field. Some players say they received large amounts of painkillers for free during their NFL careers and were addicted to the pills when they retired.
"Rather than allowing players the opportunity to rest and heal, the NFL has illegally and unethically substituted pain medications for proper health care to keep the money rolling in," the lawsuit says.
|Photo: Tony Mangia|
"After his playing career ended, he was no longer able to obtain painkillers for free from the NFL and was forced to purchase over-the-counter painkillers to satisfy his 'cravings,'" the suit says.
Offensive lineman Keith Van Horne, meanwhile, claims the Bears' trainer continually ordered the painkiller Percodan under his name even when he didn't need the medication.
McMahon, meanwhile, became addicted to painkillers, downing more than 100 Percocet pills per month, the lawsuit says. Team doctors and trainers didn't get prescriptions for the medication, keep records or explain side effects.
The lawsuit, filed by attorney Steven Silverman, seeks class-action status for any former player who received painkillers and other drugs without prescription, independent diagnosis, or warning about side effects or the dangers from mixing with other drugs.
The lawyers are seeking class-action status and say more than 400 plaintiffs have signed on.