The George Martin Saga Continues…

Jan 26, 2012

FOX Sports‘ A.J. Perez and Alex Marvez kick off Super Bowl week with a scathing exposé on the inner workings of the NFL Alumni and its Executive Director, George Martin.
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One question we keep wondering about: Just exactly how many retired football player members does the NFL Alumni actually have? The one thing even the NFLPA manages to be transparent about is its membership roster and they even provide an online list for all to see. But George Martin and his management team continue to cite numbers in the thousands, claiming that their membership is the largest collective group of retired players. But this article cites around $80,000 collected from May through September 2011. At $100 per member, simple arithmetic tells you that’s 800 members. But when you factor in the $5,000 fees from the remaining chapters who may have sent in their dues during that same period, one has to wonder how much of that $80,000 actually comes from individual memberships? We’ve heard from all too many sources that the membership has dropped to below 500 actual dues-paying retired players, with the remaining members classified as “Associate Members” that include fans and other non-retirees. Heck, if the NFL has given the Alumni $4 million in interest-free loans since George Martin took over, maybe it might have been cheaper to just pay each of the estimated 15,000+ retired players (just one estimate) $100 apiece to be members of the Alumni?
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And the old axiom, “The family that plays together, stays together” gets taken to a whole new level when you read how much George’s family helps with the family enterprise. After all, George mentored under the best tutor of all: Gene Upshaw.
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Love that Escalade!

We’re posting excerpts from the two stories that just hit the wire on FOX Sports today:
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NFL players question alumni group

Updated Jan 26, 2012 12:53 PM ET
A.J. Perez and Alex Marvez
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To exclusively blame Martin for the sparring that continues between ailing former players and the NFL about how best to handle post-football health care might not be fair. But a FOXSports.com investigation into Martin’s tenure as NFLAA president and executive director revealed the organization is foundering because of apparent mismanagement.
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Among the problems:
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• Already facing financial problems before Martin’s hiring in October 2009, the NFLAA continues to struggle despite having received more than $4 million in NFL loans. The most recent was a $1 million loan that kept the NFLAA solvent. Martin oversees the NFLAA’s finances despite having filed for personal bankruptcy three times.
• Some alumni chapters have fallen dormant, creating a trickle-down effect on outreach programs for former players that the NFLAA was supposed to help lead. At least one chapter is thinking about splitting from the NFLAA, which has required more financial support from the chapters and, according to one of them, been slow to distribute reimbursement checks from an NFLAA-controlled fund. The Seattle chapter recently canceled its annual golf tournament, which usually is its top fund-raiser.
• Martin has funneled NFLAA contracts to those close to him, which is a potential violation of the group’s ethics code. Martin’s actions include the donation of NFLAA-allocated Super Bowl tickets to his own nonprofit group run by his son, using the NFLAA brand to promote fund-raising for another Martin-affiliated charity (Journey for 9/11) and tapping an event-planning company run by his wife and daughter-in-law. Another NFLAA executive hired by Martin has entered into a business arrangement with a company controlled by her father.
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Read the rest of the story on FOX Sports – click HERE.
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Was Martin’s candidacy properly vetted?

Updated Jan 26, 2012 1:14 PM ET
A.J. Perez and Alex Marvez
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“George Martin represents a highly credible former NFL player who understands the issues that retired players are facing,” according to a candidacy report obtained by FOXSports.com. “He would unquestionably represent the NFL players in a positive manner.
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“The key question regarding George’s candidacy relates to whether or not he can build a business of scale from the ground up.”
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As Martin’s tenure stretches into a third year, the NFLAA’s financial outlook continues to worsen. The former New York Giants standout also has apparently enriched those around him with some of his executive decisions and potential violations of NFLAA conflict-of-interest policies, a FOXSports.com investigation has found.
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Last August, the NFLAA helped sponsor a golf tournament for Journey for 9/11, a charity Martin helped launch that has raised millions of dollars on behalf of ailing workers at Ground Zero. The tournament was among several events produced by Events to Remember by M LLC — a company owned by Martin’s wife, Diane, and daughter-in-law Michelle. Events to Remember by M LLC counts the NFLAA as a client on its website.
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Minority Athletes Networking (MAN), a charity Martin cofounded but currently run by his son, Aaron, also might have benefited from Martin’s NFLAA position.
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Read the rest of the story on FOX Sports – click HERE.
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12 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Gordon Wright
    January 26th, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    Gordon Wright - NY Jets

    The NFLA’s Honorable Executive President George Martin was vetted the same way the Honorable Gene Upshaw, the Honorable DeMaurice Smith, the Honorable George W. Bush, the Honorable AL Davis – Just Win, Baby!

    I love all these elected officials. This is the American Way. I Live in America and I have been conditioned to love everything the powerful American elite does.

    Gordon Wright
    Philadelphia Eagles & New York Jets
    1967 – 1970

  2. Larry Kaminski
    January 26th, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Larry Kaminski

    Independent Players,

    I just received a memo from Ron Mix regarding the Bowlen family versus the California Comp case with former Denver Bronco players. The NFLPA has retained an attorney to oversee the issue in the Federal courts. I do have to give credit to Mr. Smith and Mr. Berthelsen for their response to this situation.

    Best to all,
    Larry K

  3. Burt Grossman
    January 26th, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Burt Grossman

    Wow! We have a guy who has filed personal bankruptcy three times managing his own money, funneling all the work and cash to family and friends …what a shocker!

    I’m sure Jeff Nixon will be getting a bonus offer tonight to write a defense piece on his Master.

    Burt Grossman
    San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles
    1989 -1994

  4. Gerry Feehery
    January 26th, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Gerry Feehery

    It’s a shame. I thought it would be a good change from the old schemer who ran the NFLPA.

    Now it looks like we have Gene Upshaw the 2nd running the show.

    Gerry Feehery
    Philadelphia Eagles & Kansas City Chiefs
    1983 – 1988

  5. The George Martin Saga Continues… – Dave Pear's Blog
    January 26th, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    [...] Read more here: The George Martin Saga Continues… – Dave Pear's Blog [...]

  6. Dave Pear
    January 26th, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Dave Pear

    Commissioner Goodell told Fox Sports:

    “I think it’s a great development that George is now in place and running the organization,” Goodell said at a news conference. “I think he will do a terrific job.”

    Mr. Commissioner, are you sure about this? Maybe you might want to change your mind?

    A few years ago when Commissioner Goodell set out on his road trip to meet retired players and find out what their real issues were (but no wives allowed in the room and lawyers like John Hogan were allowed in but could not speak) retired player Conrad Dobler asked Mr. Goodell if he was the Chairman of the Disability Board. Roger then said, “Well, I may be…” which sounded as though he really wasn’t sure. For the record, Commissioner Goodell: Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan Document page (27) Article 8.1 (c) reads, “The Commissioner will be honorary Chairman of the Retirement Board…”

    With no disrespect, Mr. Goodell, there is such a disconnect between you and retired players that I would like to personally introduce myself to you, “Hi, my name is Dave Pear and I’m a retired NFL player.”

    One last question: It’s obvious that George Martin (just like Gene Upshaw) suffers from brain damage from his football days. My question is who hired that search firm to look for an executive director for the NFL Alumni? And they selected a person who filed bankruptcy 3 times in 15 years? Is that even proper?

    We ALL deserve an answer because something really stinks here. If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, then it IS a duck.

    Please respond.

    Sincerely,
    Dave & Heidi Pear

  7. Tony Furjanic
    January 26th, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Tony Furjanic

    I’m no longer an NFL Alumni or NFLPA member. I have better use for my $300 in dues. It sounds like the NFL Alumni is being run like a well-oiled Chicago political machine: “Keep everyone in the dark, any money we collect goes to our friends and give the people who need help the most as little as possible.”

    Is there any transparency at the NFL Alumni?

    Respectfully,
    Tony Furjanic

  8. formerfan3
    January 26th, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    The $5,000 from each chapter does not go into membership dues. In the past, before George Martin took over, it was an affiliation fee for the use of the logo plus numerous benefits provided by the national office. It is my understanding that the national office barely assists the chapters with anything.

    Ron George just sent out an email to all the chapters saying that the Fox articles are not true and that NFLAA has supplied information disputing these claims. All requests for information from the national office have been declined except for some sporadic emails from GM. No direct phone calls or interviews have been given so Ron George’s email doesn’t ring true.

    In 2010, membership rosters were up over 4,000 with approximately 3,025 to 3,500 being former players. By the end of the first quarter of 2011, membership of former players was down well over 1,000 former players or more than $100,000 in revenue.

    It is truly a shame what George Martin, Ron George and Kari Martin have done to the NFLA. If the IRS were to do an audit of the NFL Alumni charity, it could very well lose its 501(c)(3) designation. NFLAA is still claiming that all dues are tax deductable but those dues are going to the Association side and not the charity.

    There is still an enormous amount of information that could come out of more investigation.

    Deborah Ganz

  9. John Griffin
    January 26th, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    John Griffin

    Is there no integrity, honesty, or respect for oneself or their neighbors left in this world? It has come down to let-me-get-mine-first and do for me before I do it to them! I am with Tony. I think I will keep my membership money and buy my heart and diabetes meds. No one is going to look after us retired players except ourselves.

    We need some how to get some type of media coverage during the Super Bowl week and when they show clips of us in our hey day we need to rebutt with pictures of us now with canes, walkers, wheelchairs, etc. Let the public know that even though they love watching the game and are willing to pay megabucks for their seats and memorabilia that all that hard-earned money they’re spending goes straight to the owners and active players; but they don’t know who we are now and that none of the money is passed down to help the one-time greats and not-so-greats; we all paid our dues for the love of the game but did not expect to be left out in the cold.

    People need to know that it TAKES ELEVEN MEN ON THE FIELD AT A TIME TO MAKE A TEAM AND NOT ONE PERSON BY THEMSELVES. SO WHEN PEOPLE TALK OF SUPERSTAR THIS-AND-THAT, THAT SUPERSTAR CANNOT THROW WITHOUT THE CENTER CENTERING THE BALL TO THE QB OR THE OFFENSIVE LINEMEN DOING THEIR JOBS BLOCKING SO THE QB CAN THROW AND THE RB RUNNING THE BALL. OR THE DEFENSIVE PLAYERS DOING THEIR JOB. EVERYONE HAS A PURPOSE!

    With the money the players are making today, they’ll never be in our shoes unless they make bad business decisions or bad investments according to Mr. Brees. With the new CBA and all their new programs, they will never ever be in our shoes. I can’t even afford to buy a new pair of shoes!

    God bless you all – I am proud to be associated with this fine group of retired men. Good luck to all of us.

    John Griffin
    LA Rams & Denver Broncos
    1963 – 1967

  10. formerfan3
    January 27th, 2012 at 3:13 am #

    Since George Martin took over the management of the two organizations, NFLA & NFLAA, he has completely ignored a major part of his responsibility: To keep the National Football League Alumni, Inc. (501(c)(3) charity) separate from the new National Football League Alumni Association.

    The two organizations have different legal purposes which conflict with one another. The NFLA, Inc. (charity) can NOT inure excessive benefits to player members, while the NFLA Association’s main purpose is to secure and improve player benefits.

    In my humble opinion, under an IRS audit, the charity would lose its non-profit tax status that it currently enjoys because of numerous ways that GM and his staff have used the major assets of the charity (membership dues, Super Bowl Event Revenue, annual NFL royalties, contributions and Super Bowl tickets) for the benefit of the NFLA Association, whose sole purpose is to benefit players and sustain his leadership of that organization.

    The most valuable asset of the charity, the NFLA Logo, for which the League has historically paid $678,000 per year to the charity, is now under George’s control – and the NFL’s indirectly – because of their funding of the Association. The League has been trying for years to get this logo and at one time thought they did own it, but found out differently.

    Good business practice requires fair value to be paid for assets acquired and this requirement has totally been ignored, as the Association has systematically acquired or used all of the above mentioned charity assets for its own benefit.

    The final phase of the transfer of assets was the closing of the charity’s office in Florida on December 31st when all remaining assets were shipped to the Association offices in New Jersey.

    The lives of a small group of long-term charity employees were seriously affected when the Florida office was closed to provide co-mingled responsibilities for the Association’s staff in New Jersey.

    The charity has sustained itself and provided millions of dollars for youth charities for over 30 years by obtaining corporate sponsorships for chapter golf tournaments and Super Bowl events under the motto of “Caring for Kids.” George Martin is aware of this history and knows how difficult it is to raise funds for player benefits and decided to use the charity side to raise such funds.

    While much should and could be done for former players, it should not be done while damaging the charity side. There is so much good for former players that could have been done with the over $4,000,000 loaned from the NFL. Salaries alone for the top 3 at the New Jersey office, George Martin, Ron George and Kari Martin have eaten up a good portion of that money. Squandering the funds on opening a new extravagant headquarters in NJ was certainly not necessary. They could have continued with the low-key, budget conscious headquarters that were in place without wasting so much money.

    There is so much more that should be looked into as far as how this organization has been run and the money wasted since Martin took over.

    Deborah Ganz

  11. Tony Cline Sr.
    January 27th, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    Tony Cline

    I for one would like to congratulate the fine work that the headhunting group did in recruiting Martin. Obviously, whatever we paid them was money well spent.

    However, I do think that the paltry $270,000.00 (plus potential for huge upside bonuses) per year is simply not enough. Hopefully we can give him a bump in the near future. We don’t want to lose a man of his quality to a Google or IBM.

    Every time I call the NFL and receive prompt, courteous and timely answers to my questions. I thank God that George Martin has come in and cleaned up this quagmire.

    Surely it is not too soon to name a building after George as we did for my former teammate, Upshaw. It doesn’t get any better than this.

    Tony Cline Sr.
    Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers
    1970 – 1978

  12. Mike Davis
    January 30th, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    Mike Davis Block

    Well!!! I must say, personally I was rooting for George and happy for him in his new Executive Director job, although I had concerns on his direction as well as his staff. My thoughts were: Where are they going and what were they prepared to do?

    Well, as we can see (or read) – It is what it is…

    Mike Davis
    Oakland Raiders
    1977 – 1987