NEW YORK A federal appeals court on Monday upheld the National Football League’s estimated $1 billion concussion settlement with retired players, calling the agreement imperfect but fair.
A small group of players had objected to the deal, which was approved in April 2015 by U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia, because it did not cover potential victims of a degenerative brain disease that scientists have linked to repeated blows to the head.
“It is the nature of a settlement that some will be dissatisfied with the ultimate result,” Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro wrote for a three-judge panel of 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. “But they risk making the perfect the enemy of the good.”
Representatives of the NFL, the objecting players and the retirees who signed on to the deal did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The settlement calls for payments of up to $5 million to former players diagnosed with certain neurological disorders, but it does not address chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which some researchers say can be caused by concussions.
The settlement could cover more than 21,000 former players, according to the NFL. The number of objectors was roughly 1 percent of that total.
(Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by James Dalgleish)