NFL's Roger Goodell calls $765M concussion settlement review "appropriate"

Roger Goodell on "CBS This Morning" on Jan. 23, 2014.


NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, speaking about the $765 million NFL concussion settlement -- recently denied approval by a federal judge -- called the judge's review of the case "appropriate."

"The judge's properly going through everything -- all of our analyses -- to make sure that the money that's in the fund, in the settlement, will be sufficient for the projected needs, and that's appropriate," Goodell said on "CBS This Morning." "So we will continue to work with her, obviously, and do the best we can to convince her that the appropriate funds are there."

The judge, U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody, denied preliminary approval of the settlement of NFL concussion claims, fearing it may not be enough to cover 20,000 retired players. She asked for more financial analysis from the parties, a week after players' lawyers filed a detailed payout plan.

"I am primarily concerned that not all retired NFL football players who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis or their (families) ... will be paid," Brody wrote in a 12-page opinion.

The proposed settlement, negotiated over several months, is designed to last at least 65 years.

Goodell said, "Both sides want to have this, and we believe it's the right thing because we can get money to the people who need it immediately, and that's really the initiative, and we think that the funds that are in there are necessary and sufficient to be able to handle it."

Asked about President Obama's recent comments in a New Yorker profile -- that he wouldn't let his son play pro football -- Goodell remarked, "People don't understand that NFL players are living longer on average than the average male -- three years. And they're also living higher quality lives from a medical standpoint and a quality of life standpoint. These are important facts for people to understand. There's a lot of misinformation out there, but our players, we want to continue to do what we can to help them while they're playing the game, when they leave the game, but our players are doing great. We always will continue to do more for our players."

Goodell appeared on "CBS This Morning" with General Electric chairman and chief executive officer Jeff Immelt to discuss the league's initiative with GE. In March, the NFL and GE launched a four-year $60 million plan to fight brain injuries. On Thursday, they announced the first round of 16 companies and universities who develop new forms of diagnosis and treatment.

Immelt, discussing the initiative's two challenges so far, noted that the work with the NFL may have a wider impact on society at large. He said, "Brain science is a place where GE's invested heavily through our health care business. It's bigger than just the NFL. It has to do with Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury that the military kids are experiencing when they come back, and certainly concussions are a big part of that. We felt that there would be an opportunity to unleash the technical might of the country to be a part of this. The NFL is just a great convener. …When they do something, people listen. So Roger and I started talking about this about a year ago, and we made it happen last March. So far, so good. We're getting a ton of great ideas how to treat, how to diagnose, and that's the power of two great brands."

Goodell added, "What we hope will come out of it, is obviously to an objective standard that will advance science by using technology so that we can identify the injury and then we can get into better prognosis and obviously treatment and there are some great treatments there. … Player health and safety is important, but I think really what inspires Jeff and I here is I think we can make changes in all of sports, the military, and frankly, we believe in the greater society, because these are issues not only injury, but also disease."