A group of eight retired NFL players, including three members of the 1985 Chicago Bears filed a lawsuit against the league last week claiming the league “illegally supplied them with painkillers and narcotics without getting prescriptions for the players or warning them of possible side effects.”
Mike Ditka was the head coach of that Super Bowl winning team but he’s not supporting his former players which includes Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent, quarterback Jim McMahon and offensive lineman Keith Van Horne.
In comments made to the Chicago Sun-Times, Ditka questions the motive of the lawsuit and says no one forced these players to take the drugs.
“Did they know what they were doing when they did it? I don’t know. The game of football has been too good to me. I have injuries. I’ve had things that have happened to me. But I’m not going to sit back and complain what’s happened to me.”
“I don’t think anybody ever forces anyone to do anything. If you don’t want to take it, don’t take it. If you wanted it, they were available. There’s no question about that. Is that right? I don’t know.”
Ditka who played five years of his Hall of Fame career with the Bears freely admits he took a number of pain pills during his career but isn’t going to complain even if it shortened his playing career, because the game brought him so much more in the way of positives than negatives.
“Have I ever taken a pain pill? Of course, I took pain pills,” Ditka said. “Did I ever take injections? I took injections all the time to kill the pain — novocaine, cortisone. Did it affect me? Yeah. It shortened my career, but so what? I had a great career. I’m still living off football.”
According to CBSSports, over 500 former players have signed on to the lawsuit with lawyers seeking class-action status.
Stay tuned to see if the NFL will have to shell out millions of dollars to even more former players they failed to protect as they did with a concussion settlement.