Suing in the NFL: Can Players Take Legal Action Against Each Other?

28 January 2023

NFL players, as seasoned professionals in their field, have had to grapple with the law more often than most. From debates surrounding contracts and compensation to personal injury claims – these high-profile figures are no strangers when it comes to handling legal matters. An interesting query that is worth exploring however is whether or not NFL players can sue one another. As expected from any legal matter of this caliber – the answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no; instead, there is an array of conditions that need to be taken into consideration before making a determination either way.

Collective Bargaining Agreement

When tackling legal feuds between NFL athletes, the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is of paramount importance. This legally binding contract delineates terms and regulations for professional football players, such as salaries, perks, medication guidelines, and disciplinary measures. What’s more significant about this deal is that it generally forbids players from taking each other to court – except in exceptional conditions.

Grievance Procedures

Players often have recourse when it comes to resolving disputes with their peers through the CBA’s grievance procedures. This platform allows any player that believes another has breached the agreement to seek a resolution by petitioning an impartial arbitrator, whether it be in regard to contracts, labor conditions, or other professional matters related to playing in the NFL.

Personal Injury Claims

Exceptions to the rule prohibiting lawsuits against other players are only applicable when a personal injury claim is in question. For instance, if one player dangerously tackles another and results in severe harm, legal action may be taken by the injured party for recovery of losses. In this situation, an individual can initiate a personal injury lawsuit towards the responsible one-on-one with proper evidence that they had endured detriment due to their opponent’s behavior.

Criminal and Civil Lawsuits

It’s essential to recognize that the CBA only relates to disagreements and grievances resulting from players’ employment as NFL players. If a player stands accused of any crime or faces civil misdeed, they may be subject to criminal or civil laws in a similar fashion to all other individuals. In such cases, neither the NFL nor the Players Association will have to partake in legal proceedings.


To sum up, NFL players are usually bound to not take each other on in court due to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. However, certain scenarios such as a disagreement over salary or injury claims can be exceptions so that recourse is possible. It should be underscored though that this agreement only covers issues pertaining directly to their work in the league and any outside events affecting them personally would have no bearing because they will still confront whatever legal repercussions like any member of society.