NFL Hall-of-Famer Joe DeLamielleure made an appearance Sunday on ABC's "This Week" not only to laud the efforts of the league in making the game safer but also to plea with the commissioner to make amends to old players with brain injuries.
DeLamielleure, a 1973 first-round draft pick and offensive lineman for the Buffalo Bills, has chronic traumatic encephalopathy and is one of more than 4,500 players involved in the lawsuit settlement reached prior to the start of the season. The settlement totals $765 million, and none of the plaintiffs has received any money.
"We have no health insurance," DeLamielleure said. "That's a problem. There's a lot of rule changes for the better of the game, so I think they're doing the right thing, but for them to continue to do the right thing, they have to make it better for the guys who created this monstrosity of a league, and they just don't do it."
The lawsuit was filed in 2011 and alleged the NFL failed to properly advise players about the sport's risk of concussions and that it did not give them proper treatment when they were injured.
"They've known for two decades this issue is there, and while the commissioner and the league are making moves forward … at the same time, when the commissioner is asked now, is there a link between football and brain damage, he says, 'Well, we're going to let the doctors decide this thing,' " said Mark Fainaru-Wada, author of the book League of Denial.
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