The ruling puts on hold what had been a major victory for the league on a controversial issue that had long haunted the sport. The deal reached last summer after months of negotiations required the NFL to pay $760 million — mostly in the form of medical benefits and injury compensation — to thousands of former players and their families.
A former federal judge acting as a court-appointed mediator endorsed the proposed settlement in court papers this month, calling it “fair and reasonable.”
U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody of Pennsylvania, though, wasn’t convinced, denying her preliminary approval.
“I am primarily concerned that not all Retired NFL Football Players who ultimately receive a Qualifying Diagnosis or their related claimants will be paid,” Judge Brody wrote in her order. “Even if only 10 percent of Retired NFL Football Players eventually receive a Qualifying diagnosis, it is difficult to see how the Monetary Award Fund would have the funds available over its lifespan to pay all claimants at these significant award levels.”
Judge Brody said economists who conducted an analysis on behalf of the retired players believed that the sum was enough. That report, though, wasn’t submitted in...