Bob Grant’s Progress Report on The Summit

Apr 29, 2009

Bob Grant

To those folks who are pulling against the upcoming Independent Retired Players Summit, many of whom are with the NFLPA Golf Tournament down in Palm Springs, you don’t have to call anyone to see how it is coming along. I will bring you up to speed now.

We have already exceeded the number of retired attendees that we started out hoping for. More are still coming in every day. We haven’t waived a registration Fee that we never had and we’re not offering those who are attending the Summit any coupons or a gift of a membership fee to any organization because there’s no group or organization for them to purchase a membership from. Attending Advocates are, of course, free to make any presentation that they would like to. We are not requiring any Advocate to agree with any other on any matter. What the Retired Players feel and think are what is most important to me.

If the NFLPA would have offered to make the adjustments that the Independent Advocates and Summit Coordinators have FORCED them to make, all of us could well have been meeting in Palm Springs (or Las Vegas). It would certainly have been a “fired up” meeting but perhaps we could have all been together.

The NFLPA never gave a damn about any of us attending their Meeting in years past. They held it as far away as they could and charged fees that made it impossible for most of us to attend while they used our money to pay for their “favored ones” to go to Puerto Rico! Are you kidding me? We come along and organize a Summit to give Players an opportunity and an option and they are suddenly begging and fighting to get folks to attend their Gathering.

There are many Retired Players, Widows and Wives who have just plain had enough. They’re the backbone of our Summit. The old way of doing things hasn’t worked and it’s not going to work. All of the same old faces are still there at the NFLPA. When Al Capone went to prison and died did the Chicago Mob die along with him? Nope! All of the same old faces were still there. I don’t have to accuse anyone of criminal behavior because that has already been found to be a fact in a Federal Court in San Francisco.

A Steering Committee that has no Vote in NFLPA business and matters has no right to claim that it represents the interests of Retired Players and their Families. That’s going to ruffle some feathers on their side but they know it’s true. Those guys were afraid of Gene and quite intimidated by him. Speak roughly to him or challenge him and you were gone.

All NFL Players should have a “Vote For Life” and that includes the young men who are playing today. There is no need for them to find themselves shut out of the Union’s affairs in the coming years the way that we are today. Most of them don’t believe it but each of them is going to play an average three-and-one-half years and die at an average age of fifty-six years of age. It’s true. Just take the time to count the number of men who have played since the mid 1950’s which would make the oldest around seventy years old now. There only about ten thousand of us left alive.

Our Pension and Disability Plan should be the equal to Major League Baseball. You know that. Our disabled men should not have to go through all that they endure in order to get help. Players should not have to suddenly go back in for re-evaluation in order to keep their disability payments just because they upset somebody at the PA. “Plan 88″ wives should not have to worry about what they say about the Union and its management for fear of having all or some of their money taken back. Oh – you didn’t know that they could take back whatever part of that tricky and misleading 88k they claim they’ll pay you?

The people who have hijacked the Union and held it hostage for some twenty-five years now must be called to account. The days of the Bully Pulpit of the Executive Director are over. The days of Lawyers who never played a single down in the NFL but are being paid millions of OUR Union’s dollars to stop us from getting what is rightfully ours will be over soon. The days of Staff women at the NFLPA who only have high school diplomas and GED’s making salaries that are more than five times greater than women of color with college educations are going to end soon – even if your father is a Congressman or a Senator. The days of men making huge salaries for doing the same work that women do for much smaller salaries have to end as well.

What decent Leader would force a hard-working, educated female employee to not use the elevator but rather to walk up and down seven floors every day in an unprotected stairwell while everyone else rides in the “Cadillac comfort” of an elevator? Why would others stand by and allow that to happen? There is a very simple answer: They were afraid for their own jobs. How would you have reacted if Gene and those other folks did that to your mother, wife or daughter?

Back in Slavery Times in the Old South the Slaves were always kept pacified by telling them not to worry about the tough life that they were living because they would be rewarded when they reached Heaven. I am going to go out on a limb and saying that Retired Players are no longer willing to wait for a Heavenly reward while the Bosses, Masters and House Help, enjoy a Heaven right now, right here on earth.

To you fellas down in Palm Springs, take some time to think about this during your meeting while you are out on the Golf Course.

Malcolm X once said that there were two different kind of Negros. There was the field hand who slaved in the fields daily and there was the Negro who worked in the comfort of the “big house.” He said that when the big plantation mansion caught fire and was burning down, the House Negros would stand around and say, “Oh Lord, our house is burning down, Masta! What are we going to do.” The field Negro, on the other hand, would be saying “I am glad that the damn house is burning down.” Well, like Malcolm X, I’m a “FIELD NEGRO” and in our ranks I believe that we have some “FIELD CAUCASIANS.” I have had enough of this foolishness and I believe that many of the rest of you have as well.

We’re doing just fine with the Summit. Some of the people who are coming can’t really afford the trip but they have gone on and purchased an airline ticket somehow. We also have at least one who is still paralyzed from an injury suffered in the NFL years ago and there are others who suffered broken necks and some who had multiple surgeries over the years because of football injuries.

I feel very good about being at the Summit May 29th – 31st. Will you come and stand up with the rest of us? It’s going to be quite a show.

Register For The Summit and Hotel at DavePear.com.

Bob Grant,
Summit Coordinator

9 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. John M. Pitts
    April 30th, 2009 at 4:40 am #

    John Pitts
    BOB,

    This is the Best Article that has been presented in the Summit Report. I love your approach in demonstrating that we are ALL fighting the same WAR. However, we should collectively consolidated with each other and maximize our resources. Please count me in as a FIELD NEGRO and I would welcome all FIELD CAUCASIANS!

    GOD BLESS!!

    John Pitts
    Buffalo Bills 1967 – 1973

  2. Dave Pear
    April 30th, 2009 at 7:17 am #

    Dave Pear
    Bob,

    Very well said! The ONLY retired players that SUPPORT the NFLPA are the ones on their payroll. They’re receiving ALL expense paid vacations for them and their families (plus daycare!) to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Palm Springs, etc., or they’re employees or benefit financially through business dealings. Why else would they support these rascals who continue to steal from us and our families?

    Even though Gene Upshaw is gone, nothing has changed! As Bob pointed out, “the same old faces” are still there holding their hands out and selling out their football brothers.

    Who else would support an organization that steals from their retired members and has NO VOTE!!

    Please allow me to remind everyone of the language the jurors used in the recent conviction in Federal Court in the Players Inc. trial (that lasted 3 weeks). In court, the jurors found the union (NFLPA Leadership and its minions) to be guilty of “MALICIOUS and OPPRESSIVE CONDUCT with EVIL MOTIVE” and “CONDUCT that was OUTRAGEOUS and GROSSLY FRAUDULENT“.

    A jury convicted them of “BREACHING THEIR FIDUCIARY DUTY” or “STABBING RETIRED PLAYERS IN THE BACK THAT THEY WERE CHARGED BY LAW TO REPRESENT AND PROTECT THEIR BEST INTEREST“.

    Have you ever heard of any other so-called union (social club) being convicted of a crime and described with words like this? Who would trust these crooks? In fact, even Al Capone wasn’t convicted of a crime as wretched as this. He was simply convicted of not paying his taxes and sent to prison – where he died of syphilis! We’re still waiting for the federal criminal charges to be filed and enforced now that the heavy lifting has already been done for them.

    This is why a GAO (Government Accountability Office) audit will further expose and make transparent the illegal business dealings and grossly fraudulent behavior. Their Lawyer, Jeffery Kessler, can once again have the option of claiming a “Miscarriage of Justice” as he did in the Players Inc. conviction for screwing over 2,000 retired players and their families out of their earned royalties.

    If retired players want to learn the facts and become educated as to how the NFLPA Leadership has cheated and swindled retired players and their families for over 25 years – with the same leadership in place today – then please sign up for the retired players summit in Las Vegas on May 29th thru 31st .

    Knowledge is power and once retired players become familiar with the sordid details, they’ll be screaming, INEXCUSABLE CONDUCT and then join the growing group of retired players petitioning for JUSTICE NOW!

    We look forward to seeing you at the summit in Las Vegas.

    Sincerely,
    Dave & Heidi Pear

  3. Robert
    April 30th, 2009 at 8:58 am #

    Bob’s comments may seem inflammatory at first glance. But I think his point was that Upshaw – and his regime – was guilty of equal opportunity abuse. Black or white, he took advantage of anyone and everyone who wasn’t a friend, relative or ally.

    Something for everyone to think about: What if Upshaw was white? Would it have been easier to accuse him of being racist without any reservations? Just as in the long history of slavery, there were always turncoats who sold out their own brothers for personal gain and survival.

    Food for thought.

  4. Dave Pear
    April 30th, 2009 at 12:41 pm #

    Dave Pear
    John Pitts,

    I’m a FIELD CAUCASIAN and proud of it! You can count me in!

    And as we all keep emphasizing, the NFLPA Leadership has now been found GUILTY in federal court of breaching their fiduciary duty over GLA agreements in the Players Inc. trial. SURELY, it’s not a hard stretch to realize they’re also VIOLATING their fiduciary duty over disability benefits.

    Regards,
    Dave Pear
    NFL 1975-80
    Pro Bowl 1978
    Super Bowl XV (teammate of Gene Upshaw)
    Social Security Disability

  5. Tom Baugh
    May 1st, 2009 at 6:37 am #

    Tom Baugh
    Not sure the racial overtones have any place in today’s world. I got the message, understand the situation and I feel the pain, but there’s no place for it… sorry, Bob. It discredits a serious and significant message for all NFL Alums.

    Certainly there’s another way. If we expect to be taken seriously we have to avoid this in the future.

    Tom Baugh
    Kansas City Chiefs
    Cleveland Browns 1986 – 1989

  6. GEORGE NOCK
    May 2nd, 2009 at 3:15 am #

    George Nock
    I agree with Tom Baugh. This is very serious but this isn’t racial; this is neglect, not following the mission, the cause or taking care of your fellow ball players & their families.
    It’s a shame that I am ashamed of my own pension & GHOST medical benefits.

    George Nock
    NY Jets ’69=71
    Washington Redskins ’72-73

    Remember your most memorable “PLAY” & how it felt to you: “Priceless.”

  7. Carl Lee III
    May 3rd, 2009 at 6:16 am #

    Carl Lee III
    I’m really just getting wind of all this and will not be able to make it but I have plenty to say.

    I do agree that race is not a major factor because I do not think that was the reason for Gene’s action.

    Although I’d think that at one point race may have played a factor in how things were done. I don’t think anyone could question that. If you think for just moment, why did we as black athletes not play certain positions for years? Those big money positions? Never was it because we couldn’t but more to do with an old trust that we were not smart enough. Race can never be totally removed from any type of problem that has years and years of history.

    With that said, let me make this point on using race or not. I don’t think we need it now because the facts and the truth are on our side. Not that I think that people won’t think we’re about something because we are speaking about race but we should use people and faces to make this point. Race is a side bar to this huge problem but it wasn’t limited to just blacks.

    This is a issue about people not just black. Sometimes people think that this is a sure way to get us on board. This by no means is a blast to all of those people doing great work but more to a practice that has sometimes worked in the past. Let me continue on this point because there are people that hate racism and when they see it they want to help, but blacks today can fight without using the color of their skin to be their defense. Yes, a lot of times race may have something to do with how we’re treated but that doesn’t concern me as much as what you took from me. After I win, you’re still going to feel the same way about me. Knowing that, I want to fight you over your wrong doing and then later make you explain why!

    Health issues and retirement money is a joke when you think about the money that we have made for the NFL. Baseball and Basketball have passed us when it comes to all of those issues and they have shamed a sport that’s like boxing to me. Using its stars to make them rich and then picking the ones they want to allow to showcase their sport. The other stars fall by the wayside and are forgotten. Every now and then you get some type of honor and you are happy for a moment because you feel proud of what you had done, but then you go home and they forget you all over again. For the players who don’t get any of the so-called honors during your playing days, they can forget it; they’re gone forever and they’re never getting any assistance.

    The Madden game, what a joke. Nothing against Madden, because I have no facts to say that he knows anything about what is going on with it. As a past member of his team (1989), I respect and hope that he isn’t aware of the unfair practice that has gone on with that revenue stream. That game and many other games could have done so much for retired players but it’s been all about the current players and the cover! It’s my league too; it’s all the players that have been part of the game and you can’t separate me from that! If I was doing that deal with the gaming people, I would say no, we will not do a cover with one person, this is more about every team and every player. I know that’s how things are done now, but not here because you can’t put one person on the cover and make them the only person in the game. You need all of us! It’s the NFL that makes that game and not a star player that really doesn’t need the money. They cut deals with some players so that they can have their name listed on it but other players are just added. This is stupid to me. I’ve been in these games and I got little checks for awhile and now I’ve been on some of the throwback teams but I get nothing for it. They have changed my number or something that “protects” them and keeps them from paying me. Why would my Union allow that? How is that?

    It is in those type of actions I can tell you that there is no real support for us. My roommate for several years with the Vikings was Curtis Rouse. He’s been near-death and his health has been up and down for years. I made a trip to see him years ago because his wife called me and said he was dying. He’s doing much better now but needs medical help and other basic needs. He was one of the first 300-lb. players and this has caused him much grief over the years. I wonder what will happen to all of the large men that are making all of this great money now once they stop playing. Yes, with this type of money their wives and children my be set, but where will they be? I would say many won’t be able to drop the pounds that helped them make all that money when they were young. It could be those pounds that may limit and or shorten their life. There isn’t enough money for the kids or that wife when he’s gone.

    Well, the NFL would still have made their money and used that player so maybe they’ll send a few flowers etc. – we know it all depends on how great that player was.

    I’m sorry – but this was my first time getting a chance to say something and perhaps it’s too much but I do feel better!

    Good luck for my sake and yours!

    Carl Lee III
    1983 – 93 Minnesota Vikings
    1994 New Orleans Saints

  8. John Ebersole
    May 4th, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    John Ebersole
    I’ve been complaining for years that the conventions are only for rich people. I played in the 70’s and I’m certainly not rich. I would love to come to The Summit but I have to work to feed my family.

    John Ebersole
    New York Jets 1970 – 1977

  9. Bob Grant
    May 4th, 2009 at 7:40 pm #

    Bob Grant
    My position actually has very little to do with race. I just use history, race and class to make a point sometimes. Sorry if some of you can’t understand. I’m not fighting to please an overly sensitive few who feel that being politically correct is the order of the day in this fight. Where were you when the two guys at the top in the NFLPA said, “The league is now over 80% black now and we’re going to make sure that a bunch of angry old white guys don’t tear the Union down.” Come to the Summit and listen to Valerie Thomas’ presentation on bad behavior during Upshaw’s reign. Black-on-black discrimination and female discrimination can be practiced by a Leader and his gang and not one damn soul will stand up for truth and righteousness.

    If I pointed out to you that there is a very strong resemblance between everyone who is an NFL Owner or Part of the Cabal that really rules the PA, would you say “Be cool, Bob – you shouldn’t mention stuff like that.”?

    If you look into my background, you’ll find that I was actually on the front lines of the Civil Rights Conflict in the South and my position was always equality for all people. What were you doing back then?

    I have heard from over 25 active players (20 Blacks and probably 7 or 8 Whites) and they certainly understand what I’m saying and they’re the ones who are working in the Big House making $1 million+ a year.

    I promise to keep on fighting for Retired Players of all races and I’m not going to become overly sensitive when fighting with facts, emotion and enthusiasm.

    You’re always free to judge me as you decide.

    Bob Grant