An Old Lawsuit the NFL would Rather Forget
NOTE: See if your name is on the list at the end of this post!
Recently, some of the retired players received an announcement from the NFLPA’s offices about another very old settlement fund finally closing on Feb. 18, 2010. Dee Becker from the NFLPA sent out an announcement about this lawsuit that dates back to 1993 – Reggie White et al vs. NFL et al.
The lawsuit was significant in that it came in the days before free agency and the 1993 CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). Several players were negotiating to move to different teams when their respective owners intervened behind the scenes in an effort to keep them from negotiating with other team owners. Imagine something like that happening today: Brett Favre wants to leave the Green Bay Packers and his agent starts discussions with the Minnesota Vikings. So the owner of the Packers just picks up the phone and calls the owner of the Vikings to dissuade him from doing so. The Packers get to keep Favre’s contract and then make Favre a low-ball offer or simply kick him to the curb with no place to go. And that’s the antitrust game in a nutshell. Unrestricted Free Agency and the CBA have become an integral part of players’ contracts today as a result of battles like Reggie White’s lawsuit. Unfortunately, it also allowed former NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw to pervert the process by negotiating the CBA for the full benefit of the active players while completely neglecting – and stealing from – the retired players. It was all about the money. Of course, it also meant that Superagents like Tom Condon (who just happened to have been sitting on the Disability Board for years and long rumored to have been the real power behind Upshaw’s throne) would get increasingly bigger pieces of those ridiculously sky-high salaries and bonuses that they’ve been negotiating for untested new rookies coming in every year since.
We’re posting Dee Becker’s announcement and list below along with a copy of the most recent appeals ruling out of the District Court of Minnesota. Note that the Defendants List not only includes the NFL as a single entity but also lists the teams at the time individually. This clarification ruling includes the Michael Vick case.
This suit is also interesting today because it covered a lot of ground with implications for the recent American Needle case before the Supreme Court right now, as well as the NFL’s recent decision to opt out of the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) last year. A lot of the people who were listed on the original lawsuit can’t be located (it’s been over 10 years!) and won’t be eligible to receive a share of the settlement if they don’t sign in before that Feb. 19th deadline passes. If you know any of the people on this list, please let them know immediately.
Oh – and one final note: Reggie White did NOT receive one dime from the lawsuit. It was done on principle and for the benefit of his fellow players on the field.
FROM: Dee Becker, NFLPA
The NFLPA is attempting to locate the former NFL players who are listed in the Notice below because they continue to be eligible to receive payments in connection with the settlement agreement in the Reggie White v. National Football League case, which was entered into on February 26, 1993. The NFLPA has attempted to locate the listed persons in the past, but has been unable to do so. The NFLPA is making this final attempt because the Settlement Fund in this case is in the process of closing, with no further payments to be made.
If you know of the whereabouts of any of the persons in the list below, please provide their contact information to Dee Becker at the NFLPA (phone number (800) 372-2000, email address Dee.Becker@nflplayers.com, fax number (202) 756-9313) as soon as possible, as the Settlement Fund will be closing on February 19, 2010.
Please also forward a copy of the following Notice, which was published on the NFLPA website, www.nflplayers.com, to any of the listed persons for whom you have contact information. Thank you.
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the persons listed below remain eligible to receive a settlement payment in connection with the Stipulation and Settlement Agreement in Reggie White, et al. v. National Football League, et al., which was entered into on February 26, 1993. However, the settlement fund in this matter is in the process of closing, with no further payments to be made. In order to receive a settlement payment, the below listed persons must notify the National Football League Players Association, in writing, at the following address BY FEBRUARY 19, 2010:
1133 20th Street N.W.,
Washington D.C. 20036
Attn: Dee Becker (White Settlement Fund)
Written notice may also be submitted to Ms. Becker electronically, at Dee.Becker@nflplayers.com, or by fax, at (202) 756-9313. If such written notice is not received by the NFLPA by February 19, 2010, then no payment from the remaining monies in the Settlement Fund will be made to any such persons who have not contacted the NFLPA. If you are not listed below, you are not eligible to receive a payment from the remaining funds in the Settlement Fund.
Plan B Subfund
Preseason Pay Subfund
Estate of Lyle Alzado
Estate of Brad Beckman
Bennett, Charles A.
Bennett, Roy Mitchell
Crain, Kurt Bannon
Emery, Larry G.
Ervin, Corris D’Angelo
Futrell, Bobby Lee
Glover, Clyde M.
Graham, Donald John
Howard, William Dotson
Morris, Jim Bob
Estate of Darryl Usher
Valentine, Ira L.
We found the most recent ruling from the Minnesota District Court of Appeals filed in 2009 and have used DocStoc for easier access and viewing. (Click on the FULL SCREEN button to enlarge it for easier navigation – hit the ESC key to close. You can also click the DOWNLOAD button to save a PDF copy for printing and reading. There’s also a Menu button in the upper left corner with even more options.)