Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

15 Jul 2010

Record Settlement For Ex-Bear Reid

Former Bears tight end Gabe Reid has been awarded $325,000 in worker's compensation by the state of Illinois after suffering a knee injury while playing for the team during a four-year stint.

Safety Mike Brown, who suffered several injuries during his stint with the team, was awarded $140,000. As NFLPA lawyer Gil Gordon noted, "Brown would have received more money if he weren't still playing well for Kansas City". Fortunately, he didn't say this under oath.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 15 Jul 2010

20 comments, Last at 17 Jul 2010, 11:25pm by Viguy007


by Joe T. :: Thu, 07/15/2010 - 1:29pm

Outrageous that professional football players would be qualified for workman's comp. And they wonder why Illinois is nearly bankrupt.

by fek9wnr (not verified) :: Thu, 07/15/2010 - 1:36pm

While this doesn't look like the most wise expenditure ever, Illinois' insolvency stems from the failure of a series of governors to raise or maintain taxes to pay for government services.

/politics talk

by buzzorhowl (not verified) :: Thu, 07/15/2010 - 3:43pm

That problem is way more exaggerated in California, by the way.

But yeah, I don't think there's anything outrageous about worker's comp for football players. They're doing a job and they get injured doing it. Saying "they knew the risks" or whatever would be equivalent to saying the same thing about loggers or other people who work dangerous occupations. Worker's comp exists for good reason, and it is at the very least a debatable proposition that one of those good reasons is situations like this.

by Joe T. :: Thu, 07/15/2010 - 4:10pm

But loggers are not expected to take repeated blows to their body in the performance of their job. Is a punch-drunk boxer entitled to worker's comp? Where do you draw the line?

What bothers me more though is that worker's comp is supposed to be for people who are so disabled that they can no longer work full time (with some exceptions). Mike Brown was injured, and remained under contract (and was paid), and continues to play football. How is he disabled enough to warrant comp?

EDIT: Football players play under contract - how do they justify lost wages if injured under contract? If injured, they can't play for incentives, but they can't be docked pay for being injured?

by Overrated (not verified) :: Fri, 07/16/2010 - 12:28am

I think you're exaggerating the point of worker's comp. I got worker's comp when I worked in a deli for slicing my finger open on a slicer. It's not about being disabled to a certain point, it's about just not being able to work normally because of something that happened at work. I think it would depend on how the player gets paid - if they get paid based on actually playing in a game, then worker's comp should apply. If they get paid whether they play or not, then it shouldn't.

by Noah Arkadia :: Fri, 07/16/2010 - 10:25am

Workers comp should only apply up to a certain salary level. Otherwise it's begging a Robot Chicken sketch:

(head of Enron falls down the stairs in company building)
Assistant: Are you ok Director?
Director: Yes, no problem.
Chorus: Worker's comp!
(director flashes a smile)
(network executive bursts into scene)
Network executive: This is bad for my brain. The show's canceled!
Chorus: Worker's comp!
(snow and static)

by R (not verified) :: Thu, 07/15/2010 - 11:36pm

Specifically what government services are you referencing.

I live in Chicago. There are no government services. This place is a shithole.

by Brendan Scolari :: Fri, 07/16/2010 - 4:41am

Raising taxes doesn't necessarily increase revenue, especially from a long term perspective. I think a more accurate statement in general would be, "(Insert financial/economic crisis here) stems from the failure of (insert politician(s) here) to spend at an appropriate level given their tax revenues".

/politics talk

by Dean :: Fri, 07/16/2010 - 1:31pm

Or maybe it's Illinois insolvency stems from their insistance on spending tax dollars on things the government has no business being involved in.

by BenMalcolm (not verified) :: Fri, 07/16/2010 - 4:14pm

Not sure if you live here, but I don't think there are many people in Illinois complaining that our taxes aren't high enough. We have very high taxes (in Chicago I believe our sales tax is now the highest in the US).

Our problem is not a lack of taxes, it is an abundance of spending. The economy is bad, our taxes are still high, but revenue is down, and the government does not have any idea how to cut spending in line with the recession. (Though they seemed very adept at increasing spending along with the growing economy. Funny how that works.)

All things being equal I would rather the state not be sending money to enormously wealthy football players, but we have bigger problems than this. (We just spend something close to a million dollars on a giant eyeball on state and Van Buren, for example!)

by tuluse :: Fri, 07/16/2010 - 4:29pm

Illinois has one of the lower state income taxes.

by Rich C (not verified) :: Sat, 07/17/2010 - 12:03am

and 12% sales tax. On everything, including food.

by tuluse :: Sat, 07/17/2010 - 2:27am

Since when?


The fundamental rate for:

* Qualifying food, drugs, and medical appliances is 1%.
* Items required to be titled or registered is 6.25%.
* Other general merchandise is 6.25%.
* Motor fuel “prepaid sales tax" on Gasohol is $0.05 per gallon.
* Motor fuel “prepaid sales tax" on a ll other motor fuels is $0.06 per gallon.

Cook county and Chicago have their own taxes, but that's not the state's doing.

by Sophandros :: Thu, 07/15/2010 - 3:46pm

How, exactly, does this support your argument? It's not as if the state is paying out WC claims.

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by jimbohead :: Thu, 07/15/2010 - 6:28pm

IL economy perhaps. leading to lower tax laws? There was an argument floating around in CA a number of years ago that we were losing jobs to NV due to overly punitive worker's comp laws. I'm not sure there was a shred of actual evidence for causality, but when does that ever stop a political discourse?

by Sophandros :: Fri, 07/16/2010 - 10:40am

Well, companies will always move to places where they can pay employees less and treat them worse.

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by Joe T. :: Thu, 07/15/2010 - 7:09pm

I think its symptomatic of a system that's broken on many levels.

by Viguy007 (not verified) :: Sat, 07/17/2010 - 11:25pm

Workman's comp is an insurance program, mandated by the state but paid for by the employers. In some cases the state runs the insurance pool, but in most cases it is run by private companies, with state oversight (appeal). The program covers both lost income and medical related expenses, where there is no need to show negligence on anyone's part. This way the employee does not have to wait for it to be adjudicated to know he is covered, and the employer does not have to fear he will be sued, which might include an award for "pain and suffering." It only goes to a court like appeal if the award is considered by one of the parties to be unreasonable. It is a greater protection for the employer then it is for the employee. However, it is a small safety net which provides some peace of mind for the employee, because he has this insurance immediately for 100% of his medical bills, since it is work related. (Most appeals deal with determining if it was work related.)

by ChicagoRaider :: Thu, 07/15/2010 - 2:07pm

Illinois has a system that operates pretty automatically. Yes, it has times when you scratch your head. But it gets money out fast with little fuss.

From: http://research.lawyers.com/Illinois/Employment-Law-in-Illinois.html

Illinois' worker's compensation laws are designed to compensate employees who have been injured or killed in work related accidents according to a fixed monetary scheme, without having to resort to litigation. Dependents of a fatally injured employee may also be entitled to benefits. Employers may be protected by limits placed on the amount of an employee's recovery.

The amount of compensation paid to an employee depends upon the classification of his or her disability:

Serious and permanent disfigurement to the hand, head, face, neck, arm, leg below the knee or chest: not to exceed 66 2/3% of the employee's average weekly wage, up to 150 weeks

Permanent partial disability: generally 60% of the employee's average weekly wage

Temporary total disability: generally 66 2/3% of the employee's average weekly wage

Other cases: generally 66 2/3% of the employee's average weekly wage

Illinois' workers' compensation system is premised on a trade-off between employees and employers. Employees promptly receive workers' compensation benefits for on-the-job injuries, and the limited workers' compensation benefits are the exclusive remedy against the employer, even when the employer was negligent.

In Illinois, the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission operates a state court for workers' compensation cases.

by Karl Mal0wned (not verified) :: Sat, 07/17/2010 - 9:31pm

Oh snap!