Former Defense Marcus Wiley Joins Lawsuit Against NFL Prescription Drug Abuse
Former NFL defensive player Marcus Wiley, now an ESPN personality, has joined the NFL prescription drug abuse lawsuit, against the NFL, alleging that the league recklessly prescribed prescription drugs and painkillers to players in order to keep them in the game, regardless of the players’ health.
More than 750 players filed the prescription drug lawsuit in the US District Court of San Francisco in May of this year. The complaint, clocking in at 87 pages, claims that the NFL “has intentionally, recklessly and negligently created and maintained a culture of drug misuse, substituting players’ health for profit.”
The 39-year-old Wiley has played for four teams during his 10-year career: Buffalo, San Diego, Dallas, and Jacksonville.
Wiley added his complaint to the longer list, stating that while he played for the San Diego Chargers, he was diagnosed with groin strain, although he insisted to the team’s doctor that his pain was too widespread to be a simple strain. Rather than investigate Wiley’s claims further, the doctor diagnosed him with “bilateral groin strain.”
“Relying upon that diagnosis, Mr. Wiley played as expected through the injury, receiving multiple injections of an unknown, pain numbing substance for the rest of the season,” according to the release.
However, Wiley was still in serious pain after the season ended, so he sought a second opinion from a doctor unaffiliated with the NFL. That doctor diagnosed Wiley with a “severely torn abdomen wall,” adding that the injury was “the worst I have ever seen” and required major surgery.
An interview from 2003 details the NFL’s negligent use of prescription drugs and painkillers that led to the NFL prescription drug abuse lawsuit:
“Sometimes you need a fistful of Vioxx. Any anti-inflammatory. You need it to survive. Vioxx is a beast. I love Vioxx. I’m going to invest in that company when I retire,” Wiley was quoted as saying. “I probably don’t want to know what they’re shooting in there, but it’s probably some kind of anti-inflammatory. It’s like a fire extinguisher. Something’s on fire inside of you, and they’ve got to get that extinguisher in there to put out the flames.”
His lawsuit release continued: “That long-masked injury caused Mr. Wiley lasting, intense pain — requiring even more injections and medications to continue playing — and shortened his career.”
In April of this year, Wiley was diagnosed with renal failure and loss of half his kidney function, which he believes to be related to the NFL’s reckless use of prescription drugs to mask players’ pain. Wiley says that he has no history of kidney disease.
“Mr. Wiley’s kidney damage was caused by years of dangerous over-medication and cocktailing of prescription drugs by NFL trainers and doctors — especially harmful to a player they knew had asthma,” the release said.
“I am joining this case to stand up for what I believe was a terrible injustice to me and my fellow teammates,” Wiley said, according to the release. “I cannot sit silently by and let the NFL decimate another generation of healthy young athletes.”
“You can’t walk into a doctor’s office and say, ‘Give me this, give me that, just to get through the day.’ Somebody would shut the place down,” Wiley said in a telephone interview with ESPN. “But that’s what was going on in the NFL. It’s easy to get mesmerized. I won’t deny that; there’s this ‘play-through-the-pain, fall-on-the-sword’ culture, and somebody in line ready to step up and take your place … Meanwhile, he’s getting paid by how many bodies he gets out on the field.”
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