NFL players react to reports of $3M injury package
NFL players reacted Tuesday to reports that the league has agreed to pay $3 million to a team in a lawsuit alleging that its players were forced to wear gear that was not approved by the league.
In a statement, the New Orleans Saints said it had reached an agreement with the team, the University of Tennessee, and the league “to resolve this matter as expeditiously as possible.”
The NFL said it was committed to its players’ safety.
“Our focus will remain on the health and safety of our players and all of our fans,” the statement read.
“We appreciate the outpouring of support from our players, and we continue to support them through this difficult time.”
NFL players were not allowed to wear any equipment in any NFL game until the 2020 season.
The team and the NFL were unable to comment on whether the agreement was in place before or after the Saints reached the settlement.
The agreement could be in jeopardy if the lawsuit is unsuccessful.
The NFL Players Association said in a statement that it was “deeply disappointed” with the settlement and the timing.
“NFL players are entitled to wear the equipment approved by their respective teams and the owners of the NFL, but they must also adhere to all league policies and regulations,” the union said.
“This is a violation of the spirit of collective bargaining.”
The lawsuit was filed in August.
The Saints said the lawsuit was an attempt to “exploit” the NFL for profit and was filed without the knowledge of the league or the NFLPA.
The lawsuit said the players had been using equipment that was improperly approved by other professional sports leagues.
“As the New York Jets and other NFL teams have learned, this type of behavior is not tolerated,” the lawsuit said.
The suit also alleged that the NFL had “fraudulently obtained the right to sell equipment to the Saints that the players did not own, and that the Saints were in violation of contract terms by using NFL equipment for purposes other than to train and prepare for games.”
The Saints also said the NFL allowed the team to wear a mask, helmet and gloves in the preseason that were not approved for use during the regular season.
ESPN reported last week that the suit had been brought by the University Of Tennessee.
The university, which has an athletic department, had not returned a call seeking comment on the suit.
The NCAA, the NCAA tournament and the American Football Coaches Association also filed separate lawsuits against the NFL alleging that the company had failed to adhere to the rules in its contracts for its athletes.
The lawsuits were filed in federal court in Nashville.
The New Orleans suit was filed by attorney Paul J. Zoback, who said in the statement that the school and the team were “in the process of addressing the allegations in the lawsuit.”
“This matter is now under review by the NFL and the NCAA and will be determined in court,” the release said.