Bob Kuechenberg: What’s the Point of Asking?

Oct 8, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: Another exchange that Bob Kuechenberg recently had with your NFLPA representatives who are still asking what’s important to retired players. (?!!) The only three things that matter to retired football players have always been – and will always continue to be – real access to THEIR EARNED:
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• Disability Benefits
• Pension Benefits
• Medical after football
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Some of you may also recall several chapter presidents resigned in recent years in protest after being told what they could and could not talk about at chapter meetings
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From: Dee Becker
Sent: Wed, Sep 28, 2011 1:31 pm
Subject: Upcoming Chapter Presidents Meeting
To: Chapter Presidents
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In preparation for the upcoming Chapter Presidents Meeting, we would like each Chapter President to survey your Chapter members and send back the THREE most important questions they have on any NFLPA-related matter.
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Please have your questions to me no later than Wednesday, October 12.
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Thank you.
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Dee Becker
Assistant Director
Former Players
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From: Bob Kuechenberg
To: Dee Becker
Cc: Dwayne White, Nolan Harrison
Sent: Fri, Sep 30, 2011 11:36 am
Subject: LEGACY FUND KEPT SEPARATE
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Dear Ms. Becker,
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I thought I would just go direct and save Dwayne some time and effort. My most important concern is whether or not the “Legacy Fund” is going to be independent of the Bert Bell/Rozelle Pension Fund? Initially we were told that it was going to be independent, and therefore, not subject to the egregious QDRO decrees that so many of us NFL Former Players are saddled with. Recently, I spoke with Nolan Harrison. Nolan told me that he believes that the Legacy Fund IS going to be SUBJECT to the QDRO criteria. It has been 20 years now since my ex-wife was awarded 75% of my pension and has been receiving 75% of all the numerous increases awarded since then. Our two children are long-since grown and college grads. Needless to say, given all the long-term injuries that I live with, it is getting increasingly infuriating to be forced to helplessly sit on the sideline as a voiceless victim of this never-ending anathema. I look forward to your response, and I thank you in advance.
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Sincerely,
Bob Kuechenberg
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From: Dwayne White
Sent: Friday, September 30, 2011 4:13 PM
To: Bob Kuechenberg
Cc: Dee Becker
Subject: Re: LEGACY FUND KEPT SEPARATE
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Bob,
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I can appreciate your wanting to save me the time and effort but that is what I am here for. I would truly have preferred you letting me know your concerns and to have me pass it on for you in this particular situation. I want an opportunity to serve you and well. Please forgive me for any confusion I may have caused by having her mailing included in the correspondence.
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Dwayne
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From: Bob Kuechenberg
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 2011 16:39:08 -0400
To: Dwayne White
Cc: Dee Becker, Nolan Harrison
Subject: FW: LEGACY FUND KEPT SEPARATE
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Dwayne,
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This is not a time or subject matter that I am overly concerned with following the “proper etiquette.” I certainly mean no disrespect to you or anyone else. Rather, given the DIRE CONSEQUENCES of not getting the desired outcome on this “Now and for the rest of my life” issue, I would rather “Tread Not the Well Worn Path.” If this outcome is in jeopardy, and supposedly the “Smoke will be coming out of the Chimney any day now,” I want to SHOUT FROM THE ROOFTOPS! Alas, I fear following normal protocol here is too little too late!
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‘ur pal,
Kooch
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From: Dwayne White
Sent: Monday, October 03, 2011 5:04 PM
To: Bob Kuechenberg
Subject: Re: LEGACY FUND KEPT SEPARATE
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Respectfully understood
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Dwayne
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Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
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From: Bob Kuechenberg
Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2011 4:53 PM
To: Dave Pear
Cc: Dwayne White; Nolan Harrison ; Dee Becker
Subject: LEGACY FUND KEPT SEPARATE
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Dave,
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Whatever happened to keeping the “Legacy Fund” separate and distinct from the Bell/Rozelle Pension Plan? Just one more shot in a series of “knockout blows”…
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Bob Kuechenberg
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From: Bob Kuechenberg
Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2011 2:08 PM
To: Roger Goodell
Cc: Dee Becker; Nolan Harrison ; Dwayne White
Subject: Please Keep “The Legacy Fund” Separate From “Bert Bell/Rozelle” Pension Fund
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Dear Commissioner Goodell,
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I played 16 seasons of professional football, the last 15 with the Miami Dolphins. I am proud to say that I am the only Dolphin player that was on all five of our Super Bowl teams. In spite of the pain and disability that I endure every day, I would do it all over again… in a skinny minute. Alas, that was then, and this is now.
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Please refer to the letter below that I wrote to Dee Becker on September 30th. 75% of my retirement from my life’s work was shamefully taken away by the rulings created by a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order). If it sounds like bad “lawyering,” that’s because it was! That was inevitable back in 1991 when an ex-offensive lineman was forced to pay for his wife’s prestigious divorce attorney, forcing me to go to a friend who tried to represent me pro bono.
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Commissioner Goodell, the macro reality is that I am asking for your help on behalf of at least many hundreds, if not a thousand or more, of still-living Former Players who have been victimized in this egregious manner. While 75% is extreme, I am certainly Not Unique! Please help us if you can. I look forward to your response and I thank you in advance.
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Sincerely,
Bob Kuechenberg
Miami Dolphins
1970 – 1983

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3 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Roman Gabriel
    October 8th, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    Roman Gabriel 1967 Rams

    Bob –

    You hit it out of the ballpark! Keep up the fight. I have two exes who receive part of my pension. No. 1 came after me 30 years after our divorce! This after she had received a 10-year settlement already!

    We have to support each other and keep the faith! God bless all you real warriors!

    Roman Gabriel #18
    16-Year Vet
    LA Rams, Philadelphia Eagles
    1962 – 1978

  2. Dave Pear
    October 8th, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    Dave Pear

    Hi Bob,

    I just received my latest NFL Players Association Union card. It cost me $100. It came in an envelope with a blank piece of paper. Things must be rough over at Upshaw Place.

    On the card it now reads: “Affiliate of Federation of Professional Athletes, AFL-CIO. Oh – so now that the CBA is over we’re a union again?

    But the other card that I received during the lockout when the union was supposedly decertified read: “The NFLPA is operating as a 501(c)(6)”. This includes business leagues, chambers of commerce, boards of trade and similar organizations. Certainly not a union. So, how could the NFLPA negotiate anything for retired players during the CBA?

    According to our attorney Michael Hausfeld, they had NO legal right.

    Regards,
    Dave & Heidi Pear

  3. Gordon Wright
    October 9th, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    Gordon Wright - NY Jets

    Dave,

    I was in a real AFL/CIO union and we ALWAYS had a Shop Steward to represent us legally. If the NFLPA or Affiliates are not legally representing the former players, they’re only playing a shell game with the former players. I hope Carl Eller Lawsuit holds up in Court!

    Gordon Wright
    Philadelphia Eagles & New York Jets
    1967 – 1970