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October 23, 2018

Family of former Eagles player could receive nothing from NFL’s CTE settlement

Ralph Goldston’s family was awarded $160,000, but is expected to receive far less

Eagles CTE
Football field unsplash Andrew McElroy/Unsplash

A football field.

The family of a former Philadelphia Eagles player could end up receiving no money from a $160,000 settlement with the NFL.

Ralph Goldston, who was drafted by the Eagles and played for three seasons from 1952 to 1954, developed Alzheimer’s disease in his retirement. He died in 2011 at the age of 82. As part of the NFL’s plan to pay $1 billion over decades to victims of chronic brain trauma, it appeared Goldston’s family would be compensated — fairly or not remains up for interpretation — with a $160,000 settlement. 

But the award was apparently stripped bare by deductions, offset fees and holdbacks kept by the court. Documents and letters reviewed in a sweeping report by USA Today show the net payment to Goldston’s family at $737.90, after a litany of fees and deductions. 

The money, according to USA Today, will remain in the NFL’s settlement fund or sent to insurance companies, lawyers, credit card companies or other institutions.

The final sum awarded to Goldston could wind up being a wash because of further pending deductions and fees.

The same phenomenon is happening with at least a dozen cases of former players, the report explained. Appealing deductions from their awards would reportedly cost players or their families an additional $1,000.

Christopher Seeger, co-lead class counsel for the retired players in the settlement, issued this statement to PhillyVoice:

"The basic fact, which USA Today buries in its report yet hinges its entire story upon, is that the payout determinations it highlights are not final."

Craig Mitnick, a lawyer whose firm co-represents many of the players in the class-action lawsuit, told the newspaper the settlement is “not what we thought it was.”

Goldston’s daughter, Ursula, told USA Today the family’s lawyers found decades-old paperwork to contest the fees and holdbacks.

“A lot of people would have given up by now,” she said. “I’m not giving up, because my mother deserves this money.”

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