WEEI>On Demand>>Pete Cronan on the NFL lawsuit 5-23-14

Pete Cronan on the NFL lawsuit 5-23-14

May 23, 2014|

Pete Cronan joined the show to give his personal perspective on the NFL lawsuit.

Transcript - will not be 100% accurate

You're out. What was that bing doing now -- being now opening day now now Powell. Al Al dykes is Dave O'Brien says sell Red Sox seventh straight losses. That should be selected as Michael Ray Richardson once that in the New Jersey nets' locker room will get back to the Red Sox I promise but we're at a ticket shorty -- -- -- little. NFL lawsuit because this is going to be a hot story here is the best season approaches another NFL lawsuit on the docket filed this week. League obtaining and administering the drugs illegally according to players without prescriptions and without warning players of their potential side effects to speed the return of injured players the field and maximize. Profits players say they were never told about broken legs and ankles and it's -- -- pills. -- masked the pain. One says that instead of surgery he was given anti inflammatory and skipped practices so we -- playing games. Others say that after years of free pills from the NFL they retire from the league addicted. To the point that -- painkillers the complaint was filed in US district court separate Cisco. And there is -- a long list of players who're involved with -- -- Cronin is not one of those guys who did play many years in the NFL the Seattle Seahawks. And the Washington Redskins was an all American at Boston College he's lucky enough to be -- broadcast partner. I mean that. I don't like part of -- broadcast partner he's -- brought in. The good morning how are -- I am a lucky guy I -- are you kidding me. Every Saturday -- the faulty -- look at astronomically more you continue to carry water body appreciated. One of these days -- to get that you'll lose your luggage put piano yet you looked at this lawsuit this week you said man you know what some of that stuff probably I can relate to right. You know we see absolutely this is the an interesting turn of events because. I wasn't even thinking about this stuff -- the lawsuit. Hit the radar in that I -- that it can go back in. Sit through long term memory which I sold the of the memory they continue to have. But because the concussions. You know it's a absolutely doing there was they hit a so maybe not a overt effort. But more Covert efforts two managed discomfort and pain and at. In the uses. Prescription drugs. Well we're we're absolutely part of the game when I played and it. And I personally never had the experience but I don't number of players who. Would prequel to go to the trainer and get something for their discomfort or pain and of course that second and arcade that's the seventies. In their but I played Seattle you know I'm reading fortune article that you wrote yesterday. You know this seems to be a connection between anti inflammatory it's toward all -- is kind of audience anti inflammatory choice. Well when I played Seattle. When abuse Soledad. Which is these candidates up public candy. Of course. I went to Boston college and graduated in four years why we're not big on taken anything that he would know what to do to me. But a lot of guys probably have long term help the -- Tuesday. Took the advice of the trainer the doctors and they pop stuff down their throat you probably have brought their kidney and liver issues today. And the trick trick is to connect all that back now -- prescription stuff. Much more Covert. It occurred. Injections absolutely. Period they're talking about prescription drugs in the in the effect it had on the a lot of these guys moving into the you know -- -- -- play. And the ability to. And the risks associated with prescription drugs you know in the afterlife football. Not uncommon. And our daily event to see people taking injections for quarter quote quarters now. But in the mixture would probably 7580%. -- -- which is to stop the -- to not your gums -- yet. When you between -- and so wanted to do was -- it it's -- on the -- -- -- was it to numb the pain around the injury I mean. Have a friend of mine who's an orthopedic surgeon here in town -- will not use his name but. Played College Hockey didn't description we talk about these things he says. Yup back then it was -- we get there is there is close to better medicine again. And you'll look back what they did the guys in and while I'm -- -- -- that stuff but. It was all drugs that. -- I know from covering the Red Sox that a lot of pitchers have used toward all at times to help them get through a long season. And it in the -- column. Obviously there's mention of toward all and and other. Other drugs that you mentioned here that were used during your playing days. As a putter in the NFL I mean is it difficult if you get by without using this stuff just given the nature of the game. How necessary is this stuff to staying on the field and staying. A productive. Well I I didn't use this stuff you know and and and night frankly. On the way to get up and get it done. I think the intensity relative intensity games relative though. But a lot of guidance -- it's like anything. In the simple a simple example is. Look at energy drinks today. No look at -- debt market is Apple's Q huge market. It that you drink vitamin drink protein stop all -- ingesting for a lot to improve performance the way you feel. Improve mental acuity whatever might be. Well that's the common. That's that's not a professional athlete. So now bring it up a couple degrees and you get a guy they -- a -- -- -- his body. What would you do. They do to protect that asset. And the question of course is whatever case are the pictures or whatever it takes that in most cases I I do a lot of public speaking. And you know we get this steroids can be kind of folded into -- staying. And I get the question asked me all the time and so did you take steroids in and I respond by saying you should ask the question differently. Would I have tickets -- to buy -- thought they needed them. In their yet has probably. Given that point in time thank goodness I didn't think I need. But mentality depression last week and such that he'll do shy of anything. Stay on the field who proved your ability to compete in view perpetuate. Their electorate. So there is a serious culpability in the players' side no question about it I think the argument here in. The players did a lot of things. Bet big they probably unconsciously or hypocrisy suspected. Would be hazardous to their health. The big difference here is they were not given the option to make the decision. And I can debt debt the crux of this issue they were told by doctors and trainers take this opportunity feel better and players. Blindly do what they were told. It is their herd mentality all -- there's a lot of that going on so. The players definitely have culpability but the conditions were such that. The question has to be raised. To do is review of football organizations. But they respond with a responsible. For full disclosure I think the argument -- responses yes there were but. And the question is was it didn't occur in. By all accounts did not. And they -- you read about some of these players and exporters some guys you played against like JD hill. A wide receiver the magnitude of this statement quote from bill is part of this lawsuit I was provided -- dollars painkillers you name it while in the NFL. I became addicted and turned the streets after my career I was homeless never took a drug in my life. And I became a junkie in the NFL. Well argued -- -- ample kind of culture. I was. In this 77 draft. Are projected BI draft a high draft pick the right Redskins invited me not a redskin park to visit with George Allen. It is a couple stories in the air but anyway when I walked into the locker. On the wall. Was they. A framed it. A board. Which will cut outs. Where they actually had pills. There must have been fifty. They were actual pills. The drug -- named. In this side effect on the effects of the drug were described them each one of the pills. Not that 1976. Point 77. National Football League locker room training. No doubt about. I I think that there was I would say not overt or Covert. Become a point here ariz. Are you I fractured my -- kept playing for the for the Seahawks and realize that until many years later when I get an accurate. Never missed practice never mr. like mr. a couple of down production broke my kneecap in two. After interpret that the king gone and out and Powell avenue. And I came off the field and I was I was I was riding in payment the Bursa sac blew my left need that thing just exploded. I walked over to Europe -- surgeon dot Pringle Sadat in picking something for the pains in these cease fire at white petals. -- up to a crossroads he. Electoral bounce. Back out in the field missing -- Munich while dot would you give me good would you -- So. There are some are going on tour. So I I I think it would really conditional. We do these we've really -- fought as a function of what team -- on what to what the culture was. No I played. In Seattle rookie year and I it was a second year existence of Seahawks in the box in the -- him in the same year. 1976. In a way they they basically. -- built their roster was to a pro allocation draft. So they went around they have the option draft guys from teams. That were already in the in playing in the week. It sort of concentration and guys were world. Along in their careers. You know 81012 year careers. Ending in Seattle which means they played in the sixties. And what these guys did to themselves. Was I -- on the young kid coming out of college. I'd never skated like before. So that is a function of what was going on during. The during the sixties which would suggest that it was a culture that existed has permeated. That is probably less of it now but over the 60s70s and eighties no question that that that this Wednesday. This is business as usual as well. Yeah I mean. Pete it sounds like you're the -- rare athlete who said what what I might taking please explain this to meet. Would you say that there's an overwhelming number of athletes who just take it. They look its offer yet. Pollute the election herd mentality you know the two -- this -- this is the interesting thing about. This whole conversation is not just prescriptive drugs is not confession it's not. Dealing note taking injections to view with injuries. It's really the whole Metallica and I have personal experience I actually -- a had a neck injury. And in 1980. In in training camp and don't master trainer told me I had a buzzer to buzzer and it was in -- -- I know my body signal and I'm hurt I'm hurt. They actually lost motor storm right -- I couldn't lift my arm couldn't grab. And we do we wasn't good also anyway. I rehab this injury for about about two weeks. And and -- and finally they say go get an accurate. And I have played about two weeks now and it make a roster decisions I -- under under the gun. So they send me into Spokane Washington and actresses don't let anyone tell you read this thing bring it back we'll read. So I get the extra it was a -- -- hot Sunday morning when it got X -- a Wade Miller and them in the weight room and the beat neurologists. Comes out of his opposite is excuse me mr. -- gonna stick with assurance as to -- any of those options. I'm not qualified to read this. In frankly neither you however I know a lot of work. It's free throws up my my -- -- you see anything here that looks like. Maybe -- account those two things right here and go to called vertebrate. Those two vertebrae look closer together and the rest of the yeah quote giving a lot of work I think you've been towards further investigation. Thank you doctor. I go back to training camp. The orthopedic surgeon neither him nor injury. They -- neck injury of detergent. Look at the screen goes you've got to go practice too long ago like the dark hole on a second thought he goes medical school did you graduate from. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- It come under pressure now look at the clear -- at the players to go look and feel despite stand up to the doctors say now I want further investigation. Now I got big problems. Well what I do it brought a practice now playing around this thing. I -- you played the game against. The following Thursday night against Atlanta. I've had -- -- on defense that was covering kicks so I have probably played probably hit it sounds like play around this this this injury. The next day we had a day off Friday in the Hyde wrote her recently Washington slight jump off -- boat as you know has had a couple of Beers and decide Woodward who lost. I'll withdraw because I couldn't tread water with my right arm. The next day we went back to practice. Half speed drill -- re injure myself they send me to the doctorate in the neurosurgeon. He says all the right here. You get closure before five that's in the you -- have a radiation or possible rupture. Which is how long you've been out at all I played that the couple -- a week before. He went sideways you went and called your -- particular dispute. Doesn't estimated to have the surgery was a ruptured -- refused an active I came back played five more years but that's neither here -- there. The point being is that microcosm of the mentality of the player. You do anything to get back in the field and you trusting your doctors is that giving you would replace. This is this prescription drug to drug thing is just an extension of that to the way that you know there's there's the way of these. The whole machine -- we are the machine operates. And all that that's changed at all because it's all about the money and the 765. Million in the last lawsuit. That the players got. And I think that was question as well by a judge that's -- interpretation now that might be enhanced and -- for that. Question is what money do you place on this lawsuit. How do you how do you place a monetary figure on this. The what do reading and listening to the text of what happens -- is that the settlement that the the league. Try to. -- down our throats that you would be the impression I mean the the -- sirens they have less dementia. You know Parkinson's disease that that's 765. The judge determined based on and actuarial analysis -- that one would be exhausted in about ten. So given the cost of treatment so that's why the judge held -- up look for more money -- frankly. Relative to that matter although all part of -- class rural will all be even in this case. If they end up getting a class action -- will all be drawn into it just from the functions that we are former players. But in that particular case I don't want their money because you don't get the money election. Payless dementia. Alzheimer's. Parkinson's disease so I don't want any of that -- thank goodness. But he would view would be -- it's -- people who are affected by those terrible diseases which are directly correlated to head trauma. You know if anything -- that it is is nothing right now. This case. A little bit of a different animal. You know I take it different I have a different take on this thing. About the cash now in May be some of the motivation is ethnic nationalities guys. Don't aren't good earners. You know struggled in in look at this thing is usually you know helped helped them get along. My thing is we'll stick it more holistic perspective -- Given. National health care. In an aging population of which maybe these guys in this lawsuit are in their fifties. What do they look -- have to look at it nationalized health care which. By all accounts he is better for the broad broad universe but not this -- that good for people who require acute health care. Well for all special football players required to -- -- and nobody is whether the orthopedic -- you know could be you know could be brain did a lot of lot of the -- -- supplement. The region have supplemental program all the players that they can get the best here care available given the nature of the game. I don't think it's the mentality before player. Is. Is such that they were actually think debt. That long term. Much more in the ball we would have waited for the players react to it seems like such a no brainer. It should be but it's you want you to not what we think -- Ramos and their mother was afraid to say to rich to people won't get -- like giving their money away. Men in the league his own issues. The owners are rich guys in -- -- they don't give it away. And so they're gonna make it hard on. Every every turn it hard. On the player former player particular because they believe we were we your assets -- appreciable assets. -- -- it's the entertainment business and that they get they don't run a hard we're so. Good luck thanks -- -- you know when you careers over. They're better now the league is much better now we're back in the seventies and 60s70s and eighties. There's not a and that's why you do you read statistics today -- -- stories Horton and electric bankruptcy rate of former athletes in football it simply just written something recently. Like five or six years out the average player now that the -- the best the best course the worst but the average player bankrupt secures out of the game I mean. That's a problem. That that those are big issues is a lot of issues are on this game. It is this kind of a dark underbelly here that. Is a function and it's interesting beat you and I were talking yesterday. About this the league is attempting to provide. Intimate access to the game. And my argument is when you bring. Cameras and microphones to the line of scrimmage and in the locker rooms and into training camps. You run the risk of exposing the consumer audience of things being made out like city. -- that's that's particularly businesses like. Is it dark side every bit. There's a certain level of tolerance -- help professional football great example. The tolerance level for things to people would pick up to almost inhumane things. -- -- We're done. We do to each other were done to us. It just his eye popping yet it was it's it's the culture it's part of the deal what it's part of being professional -- -- -- It seems you know pretty unlikely I would think that this thing ever sees a courtroom -- gets that far I'm sure the NFL do its best to avoid that but you know there are some big names attached to this lawsuit. Richard dent -- mic man. I mean you know is is this the sort of thing that. You believe will at least sort of bring this to light more that it looked like you said this is the dark underside of the NFL this is what goes on. In a lot of cases it's not right and maybe something needs to be done about it is that may be another product of this whole thing. Sure you know it's the that. And our legacy and I and I'm away from that the game -- I don't know what's going on today I can only speak to thirty years ago what was going on. Where we're headed to that knowledge of what was going on the game. I would I would just say that -- Tuesday here's an evolution. On every level. There's the level of sophistication. Is enhance. But it's like I can't even. Think about what. What's going on today I think it's because of but I mentioned a moment ago that the level of access to be just it is providing to the consumer. It for good reason you know -- because it's certain to obtain but that the capital be ten bit billion dollar game. With anticipated revenue growth over the life of its collective bargaining agreement gold over twenty. Billion dollars. Part of that is providing access. And I think the league is very sensitive to the image. That goes back to -- Roosevelt would really -- architect this week. In the image of of this league and the importance of presenting things squeaky clean product. And that is I think that's driving. A lot of the thinking. The modern thinking around they treat the players and this you know you I keep drifting in and out of things with that this is the purpose. Perfect example and to put the broad agreement. The confession that. History class is concussion classic class B class -- class 12 or three class Dave Warren. Is and knocked out. Okay -- it just feels personal assault you don't know you war. -- fighters of those those types of targets they note that in the ring that is a class two were the class -- concussion which is. Nausea headaches blurred vision loss of short term memory. But you know you kind of coherent but you're really you know your -- really. You're really not yourself and then which are pretty traumatic and relativity career. You know by by description -- curb rolled to Weaver -- a lot more that stopped going hockey not because disputed that -- but it happened the football I got a couple. Class cities -- class ones. Get a couple of a few more class these. The third one is the one concern which is a class a year plus three compression which is in the altered state. That happened probably couple dozen times today in practice. That's dizziness. Blurred vision headache. At least a dozen times today -- the dangers repetitive concussions over and over -- sort sort to make my point. We were expected. To practice with high levels of tension in China open on Sunday. Note the Redskins superb example we practiced full gear full go every day now from below the replay it about these 59%. Tension. In practice. Process and they we meet people rats people very physical group of guys. Today they don't hit practice. Because of a new collective bargain. Which bothers Belichick and the rest of the coaches. Because he'd get -- -- apple hit -- -- -- the it's very very hard to translate. Technique until you brought an acute because most people are experiential -- you learn by doing. Some people lucky if you stop and can reach up and you're so that they can -- got most people happy -- the Mexican -- protection -- is the experience. -- in the league is by the first part of our agreement. -- would be under the undertone here to try to address the issue of this class three. -- Which is that that at low grade brain trauma which -- which they determine has long term. Medical fact the league is taking steps to try to address that over the long term. It -- all summer all upbeat this sounds like the another major issue the NFL has to deal with a lot of money on the line here and I know that. One thing that you've always been outspoken about is the state of the ex player and what the how much money they get from the pension fund in and the lack of money -- guys yet. And -- how much time here to give me about a minute what you would say do they Drew Brees has been very outspoken critic against ex players. Getting more money what would you city Drew Brees. In a room if you Adam's department and -- -- Greece breathing rarefied air he was a quarterback. He paid big money. In the you know I have a lot of respect for quarterbacks great player but. He's not bite the hand it set up. And he's looking at distinct from the perspective. -- life after life. A little I think broadcasting and in in my future -- articulate guy and good look in -- of accomplished I can make that transition. I'm knocked -- I'm Moroccan make any noise about about the league because technically anybody who's in media. NFL broadcasting works for the -- in indirectly or directly or otherwise. I think he is that he is a he's just he just does not get it and he's an ulterior motive. Is that driving is his commentary. There a lot more guys like meeting him. That played the lead over the years who don't -- -- -- guys. Played hard did what was necessary. Made some money but not a lot. And you know -- Wear -- -- -- the body strictly in this region beset by the grew over again I would. On the one of those guys that I would let my kids play football not a life changing event for me I absolutely but. I would have done things differently had I known. What I know now. Secret stuff very informative. Here it -- -- what you're left a plugin I don't think that's allowed here on the stump up. On this element that we have come true to character -- realignment is the master of the free plug for go ahead Merrill -- OK that's enough -- Thank you hate to think you meant. You guys every holiday. Thanks Pete he sounds good -- thanked -- The it's staggering. And he's one of the many who could tell his stories left that bride says to me -- -- -- for -- on net. It's it's it's just amazing what these guys had to go and I know we have a lot of -- coming in. What are you -- system -- except what he -- a -- no he didn't make a lot of money that I would have got right this we have more time. His maximum the maximum that he earned which is August a lot by. Our standards but not by current NFL status is maximum contract he got was 190000. Dollars but that's. That was high ceiling in the specialties -- Thai army's third player it special teams captain linebacker. But -- that much money the secretary -- throughout your life yet. Andy did it was his choice to put it online identity but still had faced a lot of our problems. You know the the story line with the doctor who's you know getting guys on the field before that they should be and -- before you'll think about this when you watch the NFL every Sunday it happens all the time. All the time and you wonder how many guys are out there who really should not be out there. Whether they have a concussion were broken leg broken leg whether they whatever they have going on. What percentage of guys round on the field every Sunday really ought to be out there with his stamp and and what kind of risk they take. And they understand -- I think most of them have to understand that going in. And as Pete said there is culpability for the players here. But from a player in this and the trainer says to me that you go out on the field to take this. And my livelihood depends on it. And this is that the trainer doctors telling you that's. Put your feet in the medical professionals take what they tell you to taking get out. Don't ask questions now he's been -- broken leg for five years. When the tires -- a broken leg wasn't told about the injury for five years former Chicago bear. During which time he that was fairly constant diet pills to deal with a pay the seats acts. My good some people are built to play the game wasn't one. This distinction yeah yeah right that's what you had to -- that's that's what you and I government that -- no not not for -- -- an -- about playing the game but. I love bluff called it yet. Gotta love it we all watch it. All right we're late for break yes we do this is Dennis and Callahan when meter and lob or Sports Radio W Riyadh back -- more Red Sox talked I promised 617. 7797937.

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