Sunday, November 23, 2014

DEA checks 49ers’, Bucs’ medical personnel

Week 11 did not end as planned for the San Francisco 49ers'. No, they did not lose, they beat the New York Giants by a score of 16-10. It was the surprise visit by the Drug Enforcement Agency  that received attention at MetLife Stadium in East  Rutherford New Jersey postgame. The San Francisco 49ers' were one of three teams to be greeted by members of the DEA after their respective game this past Sunday the 16th (also visited were the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks). While no arrests were made, the DEA is responding to serious allegations by former NFL players in regard to the mishandling of prescription drugs by team medical personnel. A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the former NFL players this past May in a San Francisco federal court house. The most pressing of these drugs are pain killer medications. The lawsuit specifically claims that the NFL and its 32 team's doctors and trainers acted without regard for player health by withholding information about injuries while prescribing an excess of pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication to mask pain and increase playing time. One plaintiff described the distribution of these drugs through his lawyer as "like candy at Halloween" and went on to say that the drugs were even combined in "cocktails". A multitude of former players came forward describing a range of debilitating effects caused by these practices, they range from chronic muscle and bone ailments to permanent nerve and organ damage due to addiction. Although many of these conditions have not been fully linked to the use of painkillers, they players insist it came from the drug use. The NFL has stated that it is not responsible for the medical practices by each of its 32 teams and argues it should be handled by the players union. 

Should the NFL take responsibility for their teams actions and put forward some sort of relief fund in order to help the players harmed by drug use?
Is it the leagues responsibility to insure better quality care of its players by better monitoring of the situation and enforcement of new guidelines? or should each team hold their respective medical staff accountable?


Elias Bermeo said...

I don't know what specific aspects of the teams the NFL itself regulates, but when allegations are made from players from so many separate teams it becomes clear that something is inherently wrong with the way certain issues are handled in the league. While I don't think it's fair to heap all of the responsibility on the NFL as a whole for the alleged misconduct, I think the NFL has a responsibility to ensure the safety of its players. Sports franchises are first and foremost businesses that intend to make profits, but for leagues like the NFL to maintain their reputations I think they need to take steps to guarantee that each branch of the highly-publicized organization is following the rules. In addition to just being the right thing to do morally, from an economic standpoint ensuring the adherence to guidelines could help maintain the league's reputation and prevent future scandals that distract from the actual sports. If the players' allegations are proven true I think providing some sort of compensation would be the right course of action to be taken by the league.

Rene Chen said...

I certainly do think that the NFL should take responsibility. The fact that there is proven to be misconduct in the league, shows fault in the NFL's regulatory rules itself. Like Elias said, I certainly do agree that the NFL has a responsibility to ensure safety of its players. However, I do not think it is the league's nor the doctor's responsibility for the player's addictions, unless coaches were purposely giving the players drugs without their consent. Players in the NFL should be motivated and kept clean, which includes fighting addiction and keeping their health at the absolute best. Overall, I think the NFL is fine as it is, for it is really up to the best interest of the players to maintain their professional careers, unless of course, it was evident that the NFL were feeding them drugs.

Anonymous said...

I think that if the accusations are correct and teams are misusing perscription medication, than there should be some sort of relief fund put up by the league in order to assure the saftey of its players. But I don't think that this issue is necessarily the league's fault. In the business of sports were your organization recieves more money for winning, teams want to have their best players on the field at all times. So when a player goes down with an injury mid-game, he miraculously returns in the fourth quarter to help win. I think these investigations by the DEA are perfectly acceptable, as it is wrong to gain an unfair advantage over your opponent, and players are ammounting more long-term injuries because of this.