As Howard Cosell Would Say: Let’s Tell It Like It Is!

Jul 28, 2011

Renowned sports writer, Peter King, recently wrote on SportsIllustrated.com that “an additional $1 billion over 10 years will be spent on retirees, many of whom have horrible pensions (Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly gets $176 a month) and lingering health issues. Some retiree’s don’t think Smith has done enough and they think the league was more aggressive in finishing this program than the NFLPA.” Mr. King then concluded in the next paragraph that he believed, “Smith did what he said he would do.” (Click HERE to read King’s article from Sports Illustrated.)
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In 1982, when a group of courageous players challenged the incompetence and disingenuous rhetoric of the NFLPA and won a forced settlement of that labor dispute, it proved, when faced with the TRUTH, (from the players and a hard working accurate press and media), that the union and the NFL cannot fade the heat when they are exposed!
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But when that truth of what REALLY HAPPENED is smothered and a Clintonesque spin is spun (by PR firms, the press and the media) so the game can begin again, everything is NOT right with the game.
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But that’s okay, let’s play football...
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A previously written editorial posted on Dave Pear’s Blog, (because the press wouldn’t) stated “The Roman poet Phaedrus warned: Things are not always what they seem. The first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.” Retired players, in the face of an oblivious majority and an unknowing and uninspired press, have perceived (and with good reason), insincerity in Smith’s positions and statements. Those continuous disingenuous and deliberate misrepresentations by DeMaurice Smith also cannot bear close scrutiny.
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But that’s okay, let’s play football...
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It is one thing that the press and the media have virtually ignored the past and current untrustworthy behavior of the NFLPA union leadership toward retired players prior to 1993. It is another when they condone it by performing a cursory review of the present package without a detailed understanding of its terms.
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Mr. King, had the press and media checked their sources for a more accurate depiction they would have determined that each retired player prior to 1993 might realize an increase of $1,000 per month across the board (regardless of the amount of years he played in the NFL). Mr. King, if that, as you said in your article referenced above, “…is the first time in years life-changing money has been invested to help the lives of retired players,” then you must apparently believe that $1,000.00 per month in this current economy (without taking inflation into account) is life-changing money! Would you like to reconsider that statement?!!
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Furthermore, had the press and media bothered to check they would have seen that the NFL made an offer for $1,000.00 per month for pre-1993 retired players (which was summarily scoffed at by DeMaurice Smith). Yet, in the editorial referenced above in Dave Pear’s Blog, it stated and predicted the following: “The past and current leadership has been sinfully overpaid for years. If those monies were reduced or disallowed, there would be plenty of money available to match the owner’s dollar-for- dollar offer for the “Legacy Fund.” The $2,000.00 per month (not $1,000.00 per month) proposed increase for pre-1993 retired players is clearly insufficient, but Smith will undoubtedly act as if he had passed landmark legislation when such a low sum is settled for when a new CBA is reached.”
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Well, the writer was off in his estimation on DeMaurice Smith’s dedication to pre-1993 retired players. Smith didn’t settle for the $2,000.00 per month proposal. He worked SO-OOO hard that he took the $1,000.00 original offer. But Mr. Smith did what he said he would do, right? WRONG!
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But that’s okay, let’s play football
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Mr. King, do you really think all is okay in the game because a new CBA is reached? It’s worse! If they (pre-1993 retired players) do not challenge this atrocity, they will have ten more years of pure hell. That is, if they live that long!
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The Disability Board process has NOT been adequately revised. It is still a joke or fiasco, take your pick.
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The operation of the marketing company is still the golden goose of the union leadership. They operate it as if they own it. Oh, that’s right – some do. I hope you know that is morally and/or ethically wrong. Don’t you remember the $28 million dollar judgment against the NFLPA and its affiliated marketing company (of which $21 million was punitive) for breaching their fiduciary duty to retired players? DeMaurice Smith approved that judgment and made sure the operation of those entities remained as is.
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Mr. King, since you are considered by many to be a highly respected journalist who the undersigned like and at times applaud, you should be appalled by the following previously provided facts: “The NFLPA and the marketing company were not created to make their leadership wealthy.  But in the probate case of the Gene Upshaw Estate, the Washington Post’s Tom Jackman discovered that Upshaw had siphoned out of the marketing company/NFLPA close to $15 million in deferred compensation (with the apparent approval of Dick Berthelsen). How much did Upshaw really get and where is it now? In an article by reporter Lauren Horwitch it was revealed that three months after the $28 million judgment lawsuit was filed, Doug Allen’s gross pay increased from $446,281 in 2005-06 to $1.9 million in 2006-07. Allen’s wife saw her pay double to $633,534. Allen’s boss Upshaw had his income increased to $6.7 million. Ms. Horwitch’s investigation further revealed that the marketing company founded and headed by Allen and Upshaw (and now Mr. Smith) is owned in part by… the NFLPA.  In part?!  It is supposed to be owned entirely by the union with zero individual ownership.” A third party independent audit of that marketing company is needed NOW! The ownership structure and virtually unchecked operation and unsupervised spending of that entity must END!
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Mr. King, how much compensation (money) did DeMaurice Smith, the other attorneys (Kessler, Berthelsen, etc) and all the other individuals he hired during the lockout make during this fiasco called The Lockout? How much will they continue to make at the expense of CURRENT and RETIRED players in the future? The union leadership has been and always will be consciously indifferent to the well-being of pre-1993 retired NFL players. If any member of the press or media believe for a New York Minute that DeMaurice Smith means what he says when he states, “We (the players and union leaders) love football and we love our fans,” they need to begin a new profession.
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Unlike the greatness of baseball’s Marvin Miller, who convinced then current players to adequately protect ALL of baseball’s past, present and future players, DeMaurice Smith has taken the token approach instead. Most importantly, Smith made certain that nothing changed the current operating status of the union affiliated entities. Nothing! Keep that gravy train flowing, boys.
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Mr. King, after completing a true due diligence (of Smith and his cronies previous and present disingenuous conduct, statements and decisions) and realizing how your intelligence has been continuously insulted, you will find yourself standing together with the pre-1993 retired players you claimed to be unjustified in their analysis of Smith.
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Mr. King, the support of the TRUTH and the players who made the game what it is today, deserve and demand your respect and – more importantly – your loyalty.
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Not just your loyalty to them as individuals but your loyalty to them for what they stand for and what they sacrificed so the players of today wouldn’t have to.
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Answer us this: Why turn a deaf ear and blind eye to the facts and all the acts of conscious indifference, manipulative exaggerations, atrocious conduct, financial enrichment and the disingenuous rhetoric of the union leaders?  Tell us, why?
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But that’s okay, let’s play football!
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Joe DeLamielleure-HOF      Reggie Mackenzie     Billy Joe DuPree        Fred Dean

Elvin Bethea-HOF                 Art Still                       Isaac Curtis                Jim Breech

Leroy Kelly-HOF                  Jeff Yeates                  Chuck Ramsey          Spencer Kopf

Lem Barney-HOF                 Dermontti Dawson    John V. Hogan          Dave Pear
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10 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Jeff Walker
    July 28th, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    Jeff Walker

    Thanks for all you are doing! Well said! Please list ALL of us former players when you e-mail out your posts! I, for one, want De Smith and whoever else at the NFLPA to see my name listed as a supporter against them …as I’m sure many other former players do as well!

    Thanks and God Bless! It’s a real tragedy as to what’s being done to the former players from the pre-1993 era and De Smith is 100% at fault! I, for one, sat across a table from him in the NFLPA D.C. office and listened to him tell one lie after another. While looking us dead in the eyes, he continued to tell us how former players who paved the way for the active players would be well taken care of. He said he would personally see that through!

    He’s a liar and it sickens me to remember all that he told us just last July of 2010!

    Jeff Walker
    San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints
    1986-1991

  2. Jim Olsen
    July 28th, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    Jim Olsen

    I have been reading Dave Pear’s blog religiously and I am sickened by the lack of support/lack of respect accorded the very men who shaped the NFL. Although I am a football coach with 38 years of experience in the public school system and 56 years of football background (including high school, military, college, semi-pro and minor-league professional) and I love the game with a passion, I can no longer bring myself to watch a professional football game knowing the pain the Originators must endure every day.

    The League front office and the NFLPA leadership along with current players like Drew Brees have managed to do the the impossible. They have made the current game a sickening spectacle for me.

    Jim Olsen

  3. Joe Steed
    July 29th, 2011 at 12:51 am #

    Joe Steed

    Dave -

    You have to “clang the pot” and be the voice for pre-93 guys. From what I understand, you have done a tremendous amount of good for people and families! There must be compromise from the NFLPA towards the guys who built the damn thing! There must be adequate and better representation that’s not in bed with the NFL! Dave, you need to appear on 60 minutes, AGAIN, and tell people the truth – “Clang the pot”!

    I played with Nolan Harrison and he is a smart and charismatic person – great person, but I think he is bitter and angry and out to make people pay. De Smith is an incredibly dynamic and intelligent lawyer but I believe he is selling out active and retired players for the interests of others.

    We need to engulf this into broader national issues: issues about one-payer system healthcare, high risk pools and negotiate towards adequate coverage…

    Joe Steed
    Pittsburgh Steelers
    1992 – 1999

  4. Rick Sanford
    July 29th, 2011 at 5:19 am #

    Rick Sanford NE Patriots

    When will we ever get our just dues? I am appalled that the “trade association” continues to operate without any accountability. Thanks, Dave, for all you’ve done for being a voice for many of us. You define leadership. What a joke our so-called union is to us.

    Great article. Pretty much said it all.

    Rick Sanford
    New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks
    1979 – 1985

  5. Gary Burley
    July 29th, 2011 at 6:44 am #

    Gary Burley

    Dave:

    I am confused and request that you clarify something for me.

    I want to have a clear and concise explanation of just exactly what Carl Eller has been accused of.

    Gary Burley
    Cincinnati Bengals, Atlanta Falcons
    1975 – 1984

  6. Terry Hermeling
    July 29th, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    Terry Hermeling

    Dave,

    Thank you for your updates and information. The pre-’93 players have taken the backseat long enough! Please send any info on donations to our cause and groups I can help with and be a part of.

    Thanks again, Dave. And looking forward to your new posts.

    Terry Hermeling
    Washington Redskins
    1970 – 1981

  7. Clyde Werner
    July 29th, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    Clyde Werner 54

    Dave -

    Keep after them… you’re all doing a great job!

    I read the article by Peter King from SI.com. Also read the article from Nate Davis from USA Today’s blog, “The Huddle.”

    The new CBA is to run for 10 years with “no opt out” for either side.

    This “no opt out” means NFL stability. It also means the NFL will start negotiations with its TV broadcast partners – Fox, ESPN, CBS, and NBC for new contracts starting 2014 …or possibly sooner if they’re able to renegotiate better long-term deals. Nate Davis says, “the new TV $ deals” will be up 50% resulting in tens of billions of dollars.

    Let’s see now. If nothing changed from today, the next 10 years times current $9 Billion in revenue per year equates to $90 Billion. But the owners ten-year business plan is to grow the business from the current $9 Billion to $18 Billion. This is the combined thoughts and ambitions of 32 individual owners. My guess is they know something about marketing and making money and… also may know something coming down the line that we don’t.

    The NFL owners and players both agreed to this 10-year long-term contract/partnership, the longest in NFL history for the purpose of growing the business together. Surely to fatten their own pocketbooks as well.

    How much do and of you think an NFL franchise would be worth in ten years?

    Bottom Line: Putting things in perspective – and correct me if I’m wrong: This new CBA that will fund NFL retirees’ pension and benefits is to be paid out of one billion dollars spread over the next 10 years… that’s sadly less than 1% of total expected (10 years) future revenues based on NO growth for the NFL at all! WHOA!

    Less than 1%… REALLY?!!

    How much time or thought went into deriving that number? And who came up with that for the retirees?

    Thanks, NFL. Thanks, De Smith. Huge Amounts of GREED and not the right ending!

    Clyde Werner
    Kansas City Chiefs
    1970 – 1976

  8. Gerry Feehery
    July 29th, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    Gerry Feehery

    Do we know what this new CBA has done for alums?

    Gerry Feehery
    Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs
    1983 – 1988

  9. Ron Porter
    July 29th, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    Ron Porter

    I have been receiving numerous e-mails regarding who is responsible for negotiating the $620 million Legacy Fund Agreement for us pre-93’ers. Quite frankly, I have never understood why there is even a designation of pre-93’ers. We are ALL retired NFL players. Why the caste system?

    The most recent e-mail is form the NFL Alumni complaining about all the different groups claiming credit for the $620 million Legacy Fund Agreement – meaning that the NFL Alumni negotiated this agreement. (?!!)

    Well, this is to inform you that I negotiated the $620 million Legacy Fund Agreement. …Why not?

    There is really only one problem: What on earth does that mean? $620 million over the life of the CBA – that’s 10 years. I have not seen one calculation regarding what that means to us NOW.

    All this talk about a united front, one team, etc, etc. Then as soon as we are thrown a bone, everyone on the planet wants to take credit without taking the time to analyze the bone.

    If we actually ever receive an increase – Yippee! In the meantime, I count on nothing…

    Ron Porter
    Baltimore Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings
    1967 – 1973

  10. Dave Pear
    July 30th, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Dave Pear

    Figures don’t lie, but liars figure. – Samuel Clemens (alias Mark Twain)

    The NFLPA has never been honest with retired players and they DO NOT represent us!

    However, they will be exposed once again as a fraud in the near future.

    Regards,
    Dave & Heidi Hear

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