Ex-Panther joins group in lawsuit against the NFL

Credit: AP

Former Panthers running back Stephen Davis


by NewsChannel 36 Staff


Posted on July 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 12 at 5:38 AM

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Stephen Davis and Corey Miller are among five former NFL players from South Carolina joining a lawsuit alleging the NFL concealed information linking football-related head injuries to permanent neurological problems.  

Davis, from Spartanburg, was a three-time Pro Bowl running back who played for Washington, Carolina and St. Louis from 1996-2006. Miller is from Pageland and spent nine seasons in the NFL with the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings.

(Click here to read the lawsuit)

Davis claims he played hurt in the Super Bowl and NFC Championship game and that he shouldn't have, saying the league culture encouraged them to play injured. "There's a saying, 'You win games on the field, not in the tub.' Behind closed doors, they make it clear if you don't play, you're off the team," he said.

In an exclusive interview with NewsChannel 36 reporter Dianne Gallagher, Davis said he has a hard time remembering things, often sees stars and his ears constantly ring.

Davis also said that because of his religious beliefs, he doesn't believe in suicide but said he understands how his friends have become so distraught and hopeless that they have killed themselves.

Davis told NewsChannel 36 that he is participating in the suit because he wants to make sure former NFL players are taken care of medically. "Living like this is hard, painful & scary," he said.

The 3 time Pro-Bowler said he just wants to be able to remember life after football, with his wife and children.

Davis is now working to make sure his own son, a high school football player, doesn't play hurt--especially with a concussion. He said he even had to pull his son off the field once, even though coaches told him to go back and play.

Others joining the lawsuit are ex-NFL players Henry Taylor from Barnell, Travis Williams from Columbia and Langston Moore from Charleston. 

Documents to get the five and Davis' wife DeeDee as part of the class-action suit were filed July 5 in U.S. District Court in Columbia. Attorney Bakari Sellers, of Strom Law, says the master complaint involves thousands of retired players.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.