Attorneys for a group of retired players resisting the proposed NFL concussion deal want the league to disclose communication with ESPN about “League of Denial,” the book and PBS “Frontline” documentary that explored how the league handled head injuries.
The motion filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia by attorney Steven Molo on behalf of seven ex-players asked Judge Anita Brody to order the release of any such documents to help determine if the settlement is “fair, adequate and reasonable.”
The motion asked that the NFL also turn over documents showing “the full extent” of its knowledge about chronic traumatic encephalopathy and provide information about how much the league’s insurers may contribute to the settlement.
“The NFL’s conduct is related to its alleged efforts to poison the well of public knowledge about CTE and the link between football and CTE,” the motion said, “and is therefore relevant now that the NFL has invoked the supposed immaturity of the science of CTE to defend the proposed settlement.”
In October, Brody denied a separate motion by Molo to conduct limited discovery about the settlement.
An NFL spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment on the filing. A spokesman for Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss, the co-lead counsel for the retired players, declined to comment.
Last year, ESPN ended its collaboration with “Frontline” on “League of Denial” a month and a half before the program aired. A New York Times story from August 2013 cited in Tuesday’s filing attributed the breakup to NFL pressure on ESPN, something both parties denied.
Brody granted the settlement preliminary approval in July. After last month’s court hearing examining the deal’s fairness, the next step is for Brody to rule on whether to issue final approval.
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