The legendary Don Shula has been named in a lawsuit, amongst other coaches and the like, claiming that he pushed painkillers on NFL players and price per head solutions are shocked at the allegations.
The lawsuit, which is shaping up to be quite a doozy, currently has hundreds of former football players going up against all 32 teams in the league., and this latest was filed on Thursday in U.S. Northern District of Maryland.
“This lawsuit alleges intentional activity by the teams, not negligence,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Steve Silverman. “It’s another part of a unified effort to provide health care and compensation to the thousands of former players who have been permanently injured or died as a result of playing professional football.”
But should Shula be held accountable if he never threatened a player’s job if he didn’t take the painkillers?
One former Miami Dolphin who is part of the class action suit insisted Shula never threatened him or his playing career.
“No, he didn’t,” said Duriel Harris, a Dolphins wide receiver from 1976-83 and in 1985.
According to Shula’s family spokesperson and attorney, Robert Zarco, Shula “never threatened to cut a player or implied in any way to cut a player if they didn’t take painkillers or any other particular medicine.”
But it’s not all about Shula. Harris had hurt himself and thought after a week off not practicing he would be able to play on Sunday.
“I found out it I couldn’t make that decision,” he said. “Next thing I know they were pulling out a needle and telling me it would let me play. I was a 20-year-old kid, the youngest guy on the team as a rookie, and I was on a table.
The use of painkillers in the 1970’s and 1980’s was rampant, and at the time they didn’t understand the future effects of such over prescribing. The doctors gave them to the players to keep playing, and win for the team. The coaches accepted the doctors’ advice and let the players play, price per head solutions learned.
At the end of the day, there were a lot of people whose lives changed, not only by playing in the NFL, but also from the effects of the constant use of painkillers, which in some, have tragically, had some truly terrible results.