DeMaurice Smith: Do As I Say and Not as I Do

Sep 7, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: Disability Attorney John Hogan is in flight on his way once again to the Second Annual Sports Law Symposium being held at Santa Clara Law campus. This year’s theme will cover Intensifying Sports Law Issues: Concussions, Steroids, Labor Strife and the Use of Player Images. You can visit their Symposium page by clicking HERE. Some of you may recall that DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFLPA, was invited to speak at last year’s Symposium but turned out to be a no-show (for “personal reasons” – you can read that post from last year by clicking HERE). Well, John Hogan and a few other attorneys are also attending this conference with questions in hand on behalf of the retired football players that Mr. Smith is supposed to be representing. Wonder if he’ll have another excuse not to show up again this year? Great example for the current players, DeMaurice: If you don’t like the team you’re playing against, just don’t show up… Guess that’s why they pay you the big bucks.
Meanwhile, John has taken more time to look over the new CBA and has additional observations to report while in mid-flight. It’s interesting that with so many experts and big mouths over at the NFLPA, the silence is absolutely deafening as we continue to miss one deadline after another on providing more clarification and details on key issues that matter to retired players issues. Here are John’s latest findings:
I’m on the plane just entering California airspace now. It will be interesting to see if De Smith shows up at the Symposium this year.
I’ve finally had a chance to read the new CBA disability provisions in greater detail and the best way I can sum them up is that if you haven’t been screwed yet, you might be OK. If you’ve already been screwed, there are no remedial provisions.
I do not understand the new neuro-cognitive disability benefit or who they expect it will help. You have to be vested; you CAN’T be on LoD or Total-and-Permanent AND you have to be under 55! I guess it might be available for some guys who are still working but who can work with a cognitive impairment? (Other than as a fiduciary of the Plan and/or sitting on the Retirement Board? And even that was part-time work.)
Also, as I have previously indicated, this $30,000 earnings provision will be more of a problem than a help. Do you realize that $30,000 per year equates to a full-time job at $15 per hour? How many guys who have been (or will be) denied disability because they supposedly could do some simple sedentary work would have been able to find an unskilled sedentary job that paid (or pays) that much? Will they continue to reject disability applications out of hand without finding out some information about the work? If a guy is working, but earning less than $30,000 – will they even process his application?
John Jogan
Disability Attorney
Retired Football Players Advocate

One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Dave Pear
    September 8th, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Dave Pear


    I can’t say this enough: Thank you for ALL your hard work on behalf ALL retired players.

    As you so clearly managed to point out, this NEW CBA is stooping to a new low by allowing disabled players to earn up to $30,000 annually and still qualify for some type of disability from the NFL. But as you indicated, if you’re able to earn $30,000 from a little side employment, then you would automatically lose your Social Security Disability award along with your medicare! Then, of course the Bell/Rozelle Board would – in ALL likelihood – also use that as an excuse to deny your access to any further disability (or retirement) benefits because Social Security disqualified you. And you’d end up with nothing! Sounds a lot like the dirty trick they played on Johnny Unitas!

    This smacks of a Groom Law Group disability trick at its finest. These creepy bushwackers are just plain evil.

    However, an audit from the US Department of Labor of the NFLPA would go a long way to end this ongoing perversion of justice.

    Rep. Maxine Waters also once said, “It is time to remove the anti-trust exemption from the NFL.” Great idea!

    Keep up the great work, Mr. Hogan!

    Dave & Heidi Pear