Silverman Thompson Files Class Action Lawsuit Against the National Football League

PRESS RELEASE May 20, 2014

(Baltimore, MD): The law firms of Silverman Thompson of Baltimore, Maryland and Namanny, Byrne and Owens of Lake Forest, California (“NBO Law”) announced today the filing of a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court, Northern District of California against the National Football League (“NFL”) alleging harm to former players from the NFL’s decades long abuse of controlled substances and prescription drugs. “The NFL has supported a drug culture that has provided dangerous pain killers and anti-inflammatories for free to players for years with no warnings as to their side effects or the dangers of mixing them together and with alcohol” noted Steve Silverman of Silverman Thompson.

The eight named plaintiffs – Richard Dent, Jeremy Newberry, Roy Green, Keith Van Horne, Ron Stone, Jim McMahon, JD Hill and Ron Pritchard – collectively played in the NFL for 16 different teams over the 40 seasons from 1969 – 2008. Combined, they have 13 Pro Bowl Appearances, 10 All Pro seasons, 7 Super Bowl Championships and 1 Hall of Fame career.

They and over 500 other former NFL players who have already joined the lawsuit tell a remarkably similar story – for over four decades, large amounts of prescription pills have been distributed illegally by trainers, and numerous injections of pain killers and anti-inflammatories have been given by doctors in violation of their medical duty “to do no harm” in every NFL team.
“The doctors’ and trainers’ goal was to get players back in the game. The players are not told of the long term health risks of these drugs” said Mel Owens of NBO Law. “Players in the NFL are in their 20s and will always want to return to play. We trusted our doctors and trainers not to give us drugs that would destroy our lives” added Ron Pritchard.

Jeremy Newberry played in over 160 NFL games. He describes a typical game day experience “Pregame, maybe 15 other starters and I would receive a shot of Toradol. During the game, I would often receive multiple injections of pain killers. After the game, I would take at least 2 Vicodin and occasionally additional pills. I would then be given beer by the team. Of course, we would then be given Ambien or some other sleep medication to sleep.”

“On the plane back from an away game, the head trainer would walk down the aisle and ask if you needed anything for pain. If yes, he would hand you some pills. You could also get something to sleep. Beer was also provided” said Keith Van Horne. JD Hill noted “As a player, you get all of these drugs for free over the years of your career. Then suddenly you are released and the free supply stops overnight. Many players are addicted and turn to street dealers for the drugs formerly provided by the NFL. This then leads to other problems such as cocaine or heroin use, bankruptcy and prison.” Additionally, most players have large amounts of pills in their lockers and give them to other players at their request.

All eight named plaintiffs agreed on their motive for going public at this time. “We need to get medical assistance to the former players who desperately need it” said Richard Dent. Roy Green stated “Many former players think they have something wrong with them from their playing days, but they are not certain. They need access to medical treatment just to determine how extensive their health problems really are.” Ron Stone added “We have an obligation to protect future players. We don’t want the last 40 years of their lives to be harmed by their NFL experience.” Jim McMahon concluded “The NFL has created this silent drug culture throughout the league. They ignore the players’ long term health and the law. This must stop.”

Steve Silverman explained “This lawsuit does not involve any head or brain injuries. We are concerned with harm from pain killers and anti-inflammatories that cause joint injuries by masking pain, addiction, and damage to internal organs. During all the relevant years, the NFL knew of the debilitating effects of these drugs on all of its players and callously ignored the players’ long term health in its obsession to return them to play. The NFL has made billions of dollars as a result of drug use that would be prohibited for horses.”

For more information on this lawsuit, please contact Steve Silverman at,, or 800.385.2243, Mel Owens at,, or 949-452-0700. Additional information about this case and the class plaintiffs, as well as a downloadable copy of the complaint can be found on our class action website

About Silverman Thompson: Maryland-based law firm Silverman Thompson, an AV rated law firm by Martindale-Hubbell and recognized by US News & World Report as a “Best Law Firm”, is widely regarded as one of the premier litigation firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. It has achieved extraordinary success for its clients across Maryland and Washington, D.C. and throughout the United States. For more information, please visit