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The Junior Seau Wrongful Death Lawsuit Cites NFL Films for Mythologizing and Spreading the Fraudulent Messages of the NFL

Junior Seau’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL and various other defendants earlier this week in California, not surprising considering the recent announcement that he had CTE. A copy of the actual filing was released on Friday, and put online by the Oceanside-Camp Pendleton Patch. (PDF here) Much of the petition is similar to the myriad of petitions filed by former players, and which I summarized last year. Seau played much of his career after the creation of the MBTI committee, which is notoriously involved in this litigation for its role in minimizing the effective of traumatic brain injuries.

One thing the petition does do, which I have not noticed in others I reviewed, is go after NFL Films for its role in romanticizing big hits and playing with injuries, including concussions. NFL Films is not a named defendant, cited as an agent of the NFL in the petition. Starting at page 9 of the petition, you get the following allegations:

“Part of the NFL Defendants’ strategy to promote NFL football is to glorify the brutality and ferocity of NFL football, in part lauding and mythologizing the most brutal and ferocious players and collisions, and simultaneously propagating the fraudulent representation that “getting your bell rung,” “being dinged,” and putting big hits on others is a badge of courage which does not seriously threaten one’s health.”

The NFL has “propagated the false myth that collisions of all kinds, including brutal and ferocious collisions, many of which lead to short-term and long-term neurological damage to players, are an acceptable, desired, and natural consequence of the game . . . “

“NFL Films is an agent and instrumentality of the NFL Defendants devoted to producing promotional films for the NFL. . . . These featured videos are marketed and sold to advance the NFL’s culture of violence as entertainment.”

. . .

The films utilize players, including Junior Seau, to spread the fraudulent message that brutal violence is necessary for the sport.”

The petition even cites a specific NFL Films production, “NFL Rocks” from 1993, when a young Junior Seau offered his opinion on punishing hits in the film: “If I feel some dizziness, I know that guy is feeling double.” The same film also quotes Michael Irvin saying he would trade a concussion for a reception, according to the petition.

[photo via USA Today Sports Images]

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