Broncos special teams player and outside linebacker Aaron Patrick filed a negligence suit against the NFL, the Los Angeles Chargers, Rams and ESPN over an ACL injury he suffered at SoFi Stadium on Oct. 17.
Patrick alleges that his season-ending injury was due to unsafe workplace conditions.
Facing the Chargers, Patrick ran out of bounds on a play and collided with a broadcast official. He also stepped on a mat that was covering cords and cables for the broadcast team. Patrick was diagnosed with an ACL tear after going down in the collision.
Footage from the scene makes it apparent that the mat played a part in the injury.
William M. Berman — representing Patrick’s lawsuit, filed in California — released a statement on the litigation, emphasizing negligence toward players’ safety.
“Player safety should be the foremost of importance to the NFL and its owners,” Berman said. “The NFL is a multi-billion-dollar sports enterprise and business, and it needs to do everything possible to protect its players from non-contact game injuries.”
He added, “As for Patrick’s injuries. SoFi Stadium was built at a $5,000,000,000 expense; the stadium should have the state-of-the-art equipment to protect for player safety, and not use the type of $100 mats that you would expect to see in a restaurant kitchen.”
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As noted by FOX31, Berman previously represented former RB Reggie Bush after he suffered a lateral meniscus tear in 2015-16. Traveling to Edward Jones Dome to face the Rams, citing the unsafe workplace. Bush was given $12,450,000 from his lawsuit.
Following the incident, Patrick’s agent, Lamont Smith, reacted to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and blamed the reckless sideline set-up for his client’s catastrophic injury.
“I was very disturbed about the way the injury occurred with the carpet being on the sideline like that,” Smith said. “His cleat got lodged in the carpet trying to avoid the media person.”
Over the weekend, there was a collective backlash on social media from the football community against the NFL’s use of slim-fit turf fields, which have been blamed for lower leg injuries across the League.
More players continue to speak out on field conditions upheld in the NFL due to their “frugal” attitude with hopes of prompting imminent change.
Follow Alejandro Avila on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela