A Closer Look into the NFLPA and The GLA Agreements

Dec 2, 2008

With everything Gene Upshaw and the NFLPA touched over the past 25 years, you can always expect it to be like peeling an onion: There’s one new surprise after another as you peel away the layers and it’ll bring tears to your eyes with each layer.

When Judge Allsup’s decision was announced in November, most of the retired players were elated to hear about a hard-fought victory that was years in the making. (Click HERE to read that earlier post.) But it didn’t take long for more and more retired players to realize that they weren’t on the final GLA (Group Licensing Assignment) list that was released at the end of the trial. At first, we thought that perhaps a few of the players had simply not signed and/or returned their GLA’s. And the more players who wrote in, the more we realized that many of them had never even received GLA’s at all over the years.

So Dave couldn’t stop wondering about the difference between the number of retired players that the NFLPA claimed to have signed to GLA’s and the actual number that they provided to the courts. Dave, of course, has been a dues-paying, card-carrying member of the NFLPA all these years. (Even as Gene Upshaw announced that they didn’t represent the retired players.) And Dave seldom throws anything away. He managed to dig up the last 3 copies of the NFLPA Retired Members Directory, spanning from 2002 – 2009.

Here are the pages from the 2002 – 2004, 2004 – 2006 and 2007 – 2009 Directories that actually states the number of GLA’s the NFLPA claimed to have on file (click on each image to enlarge it for easier reading):

And just for good measure, here’s an introductory page from the 2007 Directory that says it all:

A Continued Voice in Your Union…

And in case you haven’t seen what’s printed on the front and back of each and every NFLPA membership card:

According to the final list of signed GLA’s that the NFLPA provided for the trial, here’s the breakdown by year, compared to what the NFLPA boldly stated in their published semi-annual Directory:

Does this mean that any players who hadn’t signed a GLA or been included in the list can now sue Electronic Arts directly for copyright infringement if their images were used in their Madden video games without their permission? And does it also mean that the retired players who were excluded from signing GLA’s have been misrepresented by their union, the NFLPA?

We can’t help wondering just exactly what was shredded in that huge shredding party last year at NFLPA headquarters…

6 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Dick Bielski
    December 2nd, 2008 at 6:38 pm #

    Dick Bielski

    My husband’s name isn’t on the list and neither are several of his teammates. We were wondering what recourse we have at this point. What a mess this is. The deeper you dig, the more you come up with.

    I know we are in possession of some Topps Legends Football cards that were sent to us when my husband was picked to be in that group. Topps sent us a complete set of all the Legend Football Players and then 2 boxes of 100 cards in each box of my husband for the 2 years he made the Pro Bowl.

    Sure wish we could find someone with some answers.

    Thanks for all your efforts.

    Jo Bielski
    Wife of Dick Bielski
    1955 – 1963
    Eagles, Cowboys and Baltimore Colts

  2. Ron Rewald
    December 2nd, 2008 at 9:01 pm #

    I recently came across some old NFLPA correspondence involving annual dues and such. I found a copy of NFLPA GLA, I apparently hadn’t sent it in. I did pay my annual dues during that whole time and have always been included in the NFLPA Retired Members Directory. I also have all my NFLPA membership cards for those years. I noticed my name did not appear on the Trial List supplied by the NFL to the court. Am I just out of luck?

    I would appreciate some feedback.

    Thank you,
    Ron Rewald

  3. Mark Cooper 83-89
    December 3rd, 2008 at 7:57 am #

    Mark Cooper
    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the clarification on who was – and wasn’t – part of the “CLASS.” Glad I’ve been paying my Union dues all these years?? The Union certainly seemed to know where to send my renewal form each year?

    I couldn’t agree more on the victory; believe me when I say that. But the negligence of the Union should be pointed out, yet again. Someone mentioned it (Fiduciary Responsibility) was violated again for each player that wasn’t part of the class that should have been. My name’s in those directories by the way.

    Here’s what amazes me: I have had that responsibility with each and every one of my clients for the last 17 years and if I violate it, I can lose my license. There should be another round of a new “CLASS” that was violated as a simple example of our Union’s negligence, while the topic’s still on the table.

    Any comments? I’m a little surprised this hasn’t yet become an issue to be resolved with the guys that were left out? Has Mr. Katz the attorney been asked? I’m glad to ask if someone will forward me a number.

    Denver 83-87
    Tampa 87-89

    Mark Cooper
    ABR, CRB, CRS, e-Pro500, MRE
    Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
    Toll free:800-574-8800

  4. Dave Pear
    December 3rd, 2008 at 11:42 am #

    Dave & Heidi Pear
    Dear Mr. Berthelsen, (temporary Executive Director of the NFLPA):

    We are perplexed by conflicting information. Federal Rule of Evidence 1006 compilation: Retired Players’ GLAs, only 2074 signed GLA agreements in effect were submitted in the recent Players Inc. trial (please refer to: (Nov. 25, 2008: The Players, Inc. Trial GLA list). My NFLPA directories from 2002 thru 2009 claim a range of over 2500 to over 2900 signed GLA agreements! Our question is: “How can a signed agreement not be in effect?” Could this be another example of covetousness marked by counterfeit figures to exploit retired players by our amorphous union, the NFLPA?

    Please note: In the most current directory dated 2007 – 2009 the written words, “A continued voice in YOUR UNION.”

    A union is charged by law with a fiduciary responsibility to ALL its members (active and retired).

    We all look forward to an answer as to why this incomplete list of signed GLA agreements was submitted in Federal Court. Thank you.

    Dave & Heidi Pear

  5. Mike Pyle
    December 3rd, 2008 at 2:44 pm #

    Mike Pyle
    Hello Dave & Heidi

    It so happens that I have the NFLPA Retired Players Directories going back to 1988. There is no mention of Players Inc. until 1997.

    I signed a GLA December 23, 1996 and never heard from the NFLPA again. I don’t know if my name is on the list, but I don’t think so. I can forward the GLA Form and the letter from the NFLPA requesting that I sign the GLA.

    Thank you for all you and Heidi do,
    Mike Pyle
    NFLPA President, 1967

  6. Dave Pear’s letter to acting NFLPA Director « Fourth and Goal Foundation
    December 7th, 2008 at 7:33 pm #

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