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The Too-Little-Too-Late Strategy

Oct 28, 2010

When it comes to dealing with its senior retired players, it seems that the NFL and the NFLPA have consistently been running on a strategy of doing too little too late. And that’s the only thing they seem to do consistently. First, concussions couldn’t possibly cause any long-term problems. Then, they decided they DO cause long-term damage (but only to active players!), so they fired Dr. No and quickly created all those new rules and fancy posters warning all the current players about the dangers of concussions. Those new rules came all the way down from the Commissioner’s office and – if followed to the letter – would completely change the game of football. Even a lot of the players have come forward to point out how ridiculous and confusing this has become – all in a short span of just a few weeks. Sheesh!

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And still absolutely nothing that addresses or helps retired players at all. Except…

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Yesterday, Larry Kaminski pointed out in the Comments that he (like many of you) had just received notification of one more fantastic Union benefit: The NFLPA Alzheimer’s HelpLine. Here’s Larry’s comment (along with an appropriate sentiment shared by many) and the official press announcement below that:

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I received a notification today that our wonderful NFLPA now has a hotline for Alzeimers questions! The NFLPAA…NFL Players Alziemer’s Assoc. I don’t know what this is all about since none of us are supposed to have issues from past playing days.

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Anyway, what if we can’t remember what to ask… Oh yeah – “You’re denied and there is nothing wrong. Just pay your dues. Any more questions?”

Larry Kaminski
Larry Kaminski
Denver Broncos
1966 – 1973

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Alzheimer’s Association/NFL Players Association 24/7 Helpline

We are pleased to announce the creation of the Alzheimer’s Association /NFL Players Association 24/7 Helpline. When you or family members have questions about Alzheimer’s disease, caregiving or brain health, the Alzheimer’s Association/NFL Players Association 24/7 Helpline has the answers. Staffed around-the-clock by professionals who understand the disease and its impact, our 24/7 Helpline connects members with information and support whenever they need it.

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The Alzheimer’s Association/NFL Players Association 24/7 Helpline Staff offers:

• Confidential care consultation from professional clinicians who can help with decision-making support, crisis assistance and education on issues families with Alzheimer’s face every day.

• Referrals to local community programs, services and ongoing support.

• The knowledge to address a variety of topics relating to memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease along with strategies to reduce care giving stress and brain health information.

• Safety issues and services, including information about enrollment in MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®

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The Alzheimer’s Association/NFL Players Association 24/7 Helpline is available to players and their families at this toll free number: 877.385.4535.

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# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #

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Let’s face it. By the time the average older retired player has gone through the stages of dementia and advanced into Alzheimer’s, he’s probably already been denied his disability and pension benefits and he and his family have gone through any money he may have been paid (and more) during his playing years on the field. It’s not about looking after someone AFTER they’ve been so devastated mentally and physically – it’s more about providing them with access to their earned benefits while they and their families will benefit from them the most. That’s why they’re called… BENEFITS.

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Want another example out of the NFL Too-Little-Too-Late Playbook? How about the 88 Plan? Originally named for John Mackey (Baltimore Colts Number 88 who played as one of the primary receivers for Johnny Unitas – who also never got his benefits!), the plan is supposed to provide assistance to those players who have become incapable of supporting themselves functionally or financially, generally after they’ve slipped into advanced dementia or Alzheimer’s. But don’t call us until you’re so out of it that you probably can’t even pick up that phone to call. A lot of retired players have admitted to us that they’ve never even heard of the 88 Plan (let alone seen a copy of it).

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So for those of you who can still read, we’ve just uploaded the most recent copy of the NFL 88 Plan Summary on Scribd. 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.

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NFL/NFLPA 88 Plan Summary
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POSTSCRIPT: Dave recently did a short interview with The Portland Tribune’s Kerry Eggers about the NFL’s window-dressing strategy. Click HERE to read the article.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: And here’s Page 12 of the 88 Plan that Dave refers to in the Comments below:
.NFL/NFLPA 88 Plan Decisions
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7 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Cody C. Jones
    October 29th, 2010 at 6:24 am #

    Cody Jones - Rams
    The NFL and the NFLPA are at it again smoke-screening the public. They figure they’ll mention all these wonderful services they provide for retired players and all that talk about increasing pension benefits can be ignored. A 24/7 hot line for Alzheimer’s? It’s becoming a retired players epidemic – get real! The NFL and the NFLPA have no shame – they’re a couple of sorry organizations. That 24/7, manned Alzheimer’s hot line is nothing more than a big ‘Screw You’ slap-in-the-face! I don’t think I’m wrong about this.

    Cody Jones
    Los Angeles Rams
    1974 – 1982

  2. Conrad Dobler
    October 29th, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Conrad Dobler

    Any word yet on those settlement checks? I haven’t received my second check. It was supposed to be here three weeks ago after we waited 6 months from the first time they were scheduled to arrive.

    Is this just another form of punishment for beating their butts in court? What a sorry bunch of jerks.

    Conrad Dobler
    St. Louis Cardinals, New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills
    1972 – 1981

  3. Dave Pear
    October 29th, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    Dave at Home
    Hey Conrad and everyone else waiting for those checks -

    From what we’ve just been told directly by Garden City Group this morning, they’re in the final crunch now getting the numbers right for these checks. Apparently, once they cleared the last hurdle of setting that cut-off date to claims, they’ve been calculating and adding all the remaining unclaimed money to the checks being sent to all of us who filed our claims paperwork. And they need to be absolutely accurate in doing this as there’s one chance to make sure it’s done right. So the bad news is it may be just a few more days of waiting while they confirm their numbers with the powers-that-be but the good news is that each of our checks should be for more money!

    Please keep in mind that Garden City Group is basically like a trustee with some very strict guidelines on how to get their job done based on the judge’s orders; they have no vested interest and this is the only type of work they do. They also don’t get paid their final check until our checks are all sent out so they do have an interest in seeing this stage completed asap.

    I’ll be sure to post a copy of my final check as soon as I receive it; I live here in the Seattle area (where Garden City Group is also located) so I’ll likely be among the first to have it show up at my post office (I check it every day just as I’m sure most of you are doing!).

    Dave & Heidi Pear

  4. Dave Pear
    October 29th, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    Dave Pear
    By the way, I was recently looking over some of the details in the actual 88 Plan: Please correct me if I’m wrong but according the plan document itself, there are only two Committee members: One is appointed by the NFLPA and the other by the NFL Management Council!

    Retired players already know by the past actions of both the NFLPA and NFL Leadership that nobody represents us. And the Management Council is employed by the owners. So what chance does the average retired player actually have in receiving this benefit?

    Slim to None!

    And, of course, you also have to be completely “vested” to qualify which means that retired players like George Visger are still left out of any benefit from a program like this even though he has clearly suffered his brain damage directly from his time playing football.

    Please see page (12) of the plan document and reference 5.4 (a) and 5.7 added on Scribd to the bottom of this post above. (Pay close attention to the part where it says if the two members are deadlocked, then the player is deemed DENIED!)

    Dave & Heidi Pear

  5. RobertinSeattle
    October 29th, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    RobertinSeattle
    Inquiring minds want to know:

    Does anyone have any idea on who the two current 88 Plan Committee Members and the actual Board members are at this time? How were they selected and what qualifications and experience do they bring to the table? Is it run the same way as the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan (no transparency and no term limits or qualifications)?

    Robert

  6. Gordon A. Wright
    October 29th, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    Gordon Wright - NY Jets
    The NFL, NFLPA, NFL ALUMNI and all other entities owned by the NFL Owners Conglomerate should lose their ANTITRUST protection! Period! The US Government who ENABLES the NFL conglomerate to treat their retired players like chattel will receive the same JUDGMENT from JEHU for maligning themselves with the unrighteous ugly treatment of the former NFL players!

    Gordon & Dora Wright
    Philadelphia Eagles & New York Jets
    1967 – 1970

  7. Lou Piccone
    October 30th, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    Lou Piccone
    The Checks are not in the mail! That’s the word; however, the “chase down” finding the left out/over class of qualified participants is over and like Dave said the calculations are being finalized. I tried to pin the person on the phone down but she’s only the person on the phone so checks should be coming in November best guess by her response.

    Lou Piccone
    NY Jets – 74-76
    Buffalo Bills – 77-83

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