Former NFL star Ken Stabler's widow joins concussion suit against league

By The Sports Xchange
Former NFL star Ken Stabler's widow joins concussion suit against league
Former Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler at a 2008 Raiders game in Oakland. Stabler died in July of colon cancer at age 69, but an analysis of his brain shows he had CTE. File photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

The widow of former Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler has joined a concussion lawsuit against the NFL.

According to USA TODAY Sports, Rose Stabler was among those who joined a civil racketeering lawsuit in documents filed in federal court on Friday.


The amended complaint submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida lists former NFL players Tracy Scroggins, Quinn Gray and Danny Gorrer along with Rose Stabler as plaintiffs.

Last week, Scroggins filed a suit seeking relief under the civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Judge Robert N. Scola ruled Thursday that Scroggins' original lawsuit had to be amended because the filing didn't make clear whether the court had jurisdiction to rule on the case.

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"The intentional delay in diagnosis and treatment of CTE and repeated head trauma causes avoidable injury and death," said Tim Howard, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs. "Justice requires that the NFL be held accountable for its fraud and conspiracy in hiding the truth of CTE from repeated head trauma to players."


NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA TODAY Sports earlier this week that the league expects the lawsuit to be rejected because "Scroggins is a member of the settlement class and did not choose to opt out."

Stabler, who led the Raiders to their first championship in Super Bowl XI in his Hall of Fame career, died last July at age 69 from colon cancer. His brain was sent to researchers in Boston and he was diagnosed with CTE by Dr. Ann McKee of the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, a collaboration between the Boston VA, Boston University, and the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

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CTE, short for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, has been linked with repeated head trauma, such as the blows delivered in football, and can cause memory loss and depression. Boston University has now found CTE in 90 of the 94 former NFL players it has studied, seven of which were quarterbacks.

Stabler, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 6, retired during the 1984 season after 15 years in the league. He led three different teams to the best record in franchise history -- the Raiders (1976, 13-1, and a Super Bowl championship), Houston Oilers (1980, 11-5) and New Orleans Saints (1983, 8-8) before retiring when he needed a fifth knee surgery. He also set a record with 100 wins in only 150 games. The four-time Pro Bowl selection amassed 27,938 passing yards with 194 touchdowns.


According to the New York Times last week, at least 100 diagnosed concussions were not reported by the NFL in data the league used to downplay effects of head injuries on players.

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The league used the information from the data between 1996 through 2001, the Times reported, knowing it didn't include information from multiple teams. For example, no concussions were reported by the Dallas Cowboys, including multiple documented head injuries to Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman.

The NFL has demanded the Times retract the article, but the newspaper responded that there is "no reason to retract anything."

Jeff Miller, the NFL's senior vice president for health and safety, acknowledged on March 14 that a link exists between head trauma caused by playing football and CTE while participating in a discussion on concussions that was organized by the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce.

"The most important thing for us is to support the medicine and scientists who determine what those connections are," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said at the recent owners meetings in Boca Raton, Fla. "We think that the statements that have been made by Jeff Miller and others have consistent with our position over the years. We've actually funded those studies. So we're not only aware of those and recognize them but we support those studies. A lot of the research is still in its infancy, but we're trying to find ways to accelerate that."


Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently said that it is "absurd" to believe there is a connection between playing football and developing ailments such as CTE.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay told the Sports Business Journal much is not known about the side effects of participating in the sport, comparing it to what someone might experience from taking aspirin.

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