An Important Message to All Retired Players from Shawn Stuckey

Feb 8, 2012

To all retired players:
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On Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. your case will be argued against the NFLPA in front of Judge Susan Nelson in St. Paul, Minnesota. The NFLPA filed a Motion to Dismiss and this hearing will be to determine if your case is dismissed.
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If you will recall, in September and October of 2011, 47 former NFL players, including 27 Hall of Famers (26 of whom who are listed in the NFL’s official encyclopedia as 300 of the greatest players in NFL history), representing every decade in pro football since the 1940′s, filed a class action lawsuit against the NFLPA. The class representatives represent virtually every position in football, and every category of NFL player – including vested, non-vested, Hall of Famers, forgotten players, and legends of the game. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of all former NFL players and seeks to increase the retirement benefits of all players – vested and non-vested
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The NFLPA is asking that your case be dismissed against them. We will argue that your case deserves to be heard by a jury.
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It would be great if the Judge could see a courtroom of retired players who are all in support of having your case get heard by a jury. So if you are available to make it to Minnesota to attend the hearing, I ask that you mark it on your schedule and come show your support for your case. It is particularly important that you attend if you live locally.
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The address is below. Please let me know if you plan to attend. Thanks.
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Best regards,
Shawn D. Stuckey, Esq.
(former NFL player – New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 1:30 p.m.
Courtroom 7B
United States District Court
774 Federal Building
316 North Robert Street
St. Paul, MN 55106
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(Eller/Bednarik et. al, v. NFLPA and Gault/McElhenney et. al, v. NFLPA) Case No. 11-CV-2623 SRN/JJG (D. Minn.)
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19 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. John Griffin
    February 8th, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    John Griffin

    If I were financially able to attend, I would certainly be there; but unfortunately, we do not have the funds for me to fly and stay in a hotel room and fly back home. That is the point of this lawsuit in the first place.

    Feel free to take this note with you and pass it on to whomever you think it could help. I am 72 years old and I am still working so that my family can afford to keep our home and help pay for all my medicines. I’m from the era when we were paid only $50 per pre-season game and I did good to make $25,000.00 per season while I had to work in the off-season just to keep our heads above water.

    Please keep us updated on the hearing and may God bless all of you who can attend.

    John Griffin
    LA Rams & Denver Broncos
    1963 – 1967

  2. Dalva Allen
    February 8th, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    Dalva Allen

    In the long run, I guess I’m lucky! I’m still working at 77 years of age with 2 artificial knees, 2 re-built shoulders and a re-built neck from playing with a broken neck. I’ve got my fourth pacemaker with a defibrillator.

    I was in the hospital from Monday ’til Saturday at Noon in traction, started and played the game the next day and was never told that I had broken my neck until I lost the use of my right arm, then had it operated on at my expense! I had three concussions and was never taken to the hospital or to see a Doctor except the one on the sidelines. No record was ever kept of me having a concussion.

    I’ve got to keep working to make ends meet as well. Would sure like some help.

    Dalva Allen
    Six credited seasons
    Houston Oilers, Oakland Raiders
    1960 – 1965

  3. Jeannette DeVader
    February 9th, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    Jeannette DeVader

    Rayfield Wright would certainly like to attend. However, he is recovering from a second knee operation (since November), a blood transfusion and a recent seizure. At this time, he is unable to drive and/or travel… let alone pay for parking at DFW airport.

    I’m his Power of Attorney for his Healthcare, the co-author of his autobiography and the writer of his 2006 HOF acceptance speech. It is apparent to me that his thought process is rapidly diminishing. Every day I could give examples of his confused state of mind… and he’s only 66 years old!

    One question I would like to ask the NFL or any judge or jury: “Just why was the ‘head-slap’ outlawed?” Seems to me if getting your bell rung by Deacon wasn’t so detrimental, what was so wrong with it that it was banned?

    This week, I have been working on grant applications with the NFLPA, the GU PAT, NFL Alumni Dire Need Fund, etc., to assist with Rayfield’s insurmountable medical bills. As one can imagine, it’s very humbling and humiliating for the “Big Cat”… and I’m certainly thankful that he hasn’t hit anyone since 1980. :)

    Best wishes to all,
    Jeannette DeVader
    Co-Author of “Wright Up Front”
    http://www.RayfieldWright.com
    (817) 560-0321
    Wright Up Front

  4. Steve Foley
    February 9th, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    Steve Foley

    I won’t be able to attend the Feb. 15th meeting in Minnesota, but is there any way we can all sign a petition to add our names to the lawsuit so the judge can hear how many players are backing this lawsuit? Hopefully the list could be read in court with each person’s name and teams they played for? Any possibility?

    Stan Foley
    Denver Broncos
    1976 – 1986

  5. Bob Babich
    February 9th, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Bob Babich

    Steve,

    Great idea. I’ll bet we can get close to 1,000 signatures if we tried!

    Bob Babich
    San Diego Chargers & Cleveland Browns
    1969 – 1978

  6. Ralph Thomas
    February 9th, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Ralph Thomas 1951 USF game

    Add my name:

    College, University of San Francisco (USF ’51 Dons)

    NFL: ’52 Chicago Cardinals, ’55 & ’56 Washington Redskins

    Seasons: ’53 & ’54, US Army, ROTC LT

    Ralph Thomas

  7. Chris Pane
    February 9th, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Chris Pane

    Hey Steve -

    Good idea! I am with you both! Let’s unite together through to a “just” socio-economic solution, not only for former players but their families who have been loyal over the years.

    I can’t be in Minnesota this month but with more lead time, I’ll do whatever it takes so we are heard with the respect and dignity we deserve!

    Chris Pane
    Denver Broncos
    1976 – 1979

  8. Gordon Wright
    February 10th, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    Gordon Wright - NY Jets

    John Griffin said everything for me and my family – we are in solidarity. My wife and I recently attended
    a program that honored men and women who have contributed honorably to our United States of America and Civil Rights. I heard many young boys speak about their hopes and prayers to play in the NFL. The Deacons gave them the opportunity to meet and speak with me about my NFL experience.

    I never said one word to discourage their dreams. Just seeing a Veteran NFL Player wearing his NFL Alumni shirt and original Eagles Team Jacket was enough to leave them speechless. After the Church Deacons made a point of it to the young boys.

    This experience proves that NFL Veterans no matter the age are valuable in their communities.

    Gordon Wright
    Philadelphia Eagles & New York Jets
    1967 – 1970

  9. Ken Kortas
    February 10th, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    Ken Kortas

    Dave,

    I have a question regarding the Legacy Benefits and Pension Plan.

    In the fall, we all received a letter stating that all players would receive certain amounts based on our years of service and base amount increase.

    In this letter it was stated that your wife/beneficiary would receive the same amount that you will receive for the rest of their lives. When I received my letter there were formulas that called for reduced amounts to my wife. I talked to another player who was vested at a later time than I was, and his wife is to receive the same amount that he is entitled to now.

    When I called the NFL, they told me that I did not have the option to have my wife/beneficiary receive any benefits at the time I retired in 1969. The only option we had was to have a $10,000 insurance policy in place until I started to collect pension benefits, then the $10,000 policy was voided. No further benefits were available after I died.

    I understand that’s what the deal was at that time but then the letter in the fall from the NFL contradicts what they told me this week.

    Are you finding that players from the 60’s are getting the same answer?

    I thought that the new agreement was equal for ALL pre-’93 players.

    Thanks for your time.

    Ken Kortas
    St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Steelers,
    Chicago Bears
    1964 – 1969
    1964 through 1969

  10. Carl Hairston
    February 10th, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    Carl Hairston

    Hello Dave,

    I played in the NFL from 1976 to 1990. I have been receiving my retirement for a number of years. I recently called the office in Baltimore about the increase in my benefits. I’m divorced so me and my ex split my retirement benefits. I can’t get them to tell me how much more my ex will be getting because of the divorce. It’s been over 3 weeks and still can’t get an answer!

    Just wondering if everybody else is having this problem getting answers?

    Carl Hairston
    Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns,
    Phoenix Cardinals
    1976 – 1990

  11. Burt Grossman
    February 10th, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Burt Grossman

    Big Daddy,

    I grew up watching you in Philly.

    And sadly no one can get answers from any of the circus clowns at the benefits office!

    Burt Grossman
    San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles
    1989 -1994

  12. Burt Grossman
    February 10th, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    Burt Grossman

    I’m thinking we should put together a petition from retired players to demand they replace the useless people that actually claim to “work” in that Benefits office. This is clearly one place where – unlike the Almighty Gene Upshaw – they certainly can’t say “I don’t work for the retired players”!

    What an utter waste of our time AND our money.

    Burt Grossman

  13. Gordon Wright
    February 10th, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    Gordon Wright - NY Jets

    How do we know anybody works in Benefits? They continue to send form letters 1960′s style. There is no accountability in that office. Who writes their paychecks? Who signs their paychecks? We the players do not sign their paychecks. That I do know. Follow the money trail. Then you will know why they treat the Veteran NFL Football Players like throwaway people. They need to join the green economy and use computers like all other Government Conglomerates.

    Gordon Wright

  14. RobertinSeattle
    February 10th, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    RobertinSeattle

    Gordon & Burt (and everyone else anxiously awaiting your checks) -

    I’ve recently been going back and looking at how the Players Inc. settlement was handled by Seattle-based Garden City Group, an independent class action settlement company. The way they managed to adapt to all the various twists-and-turns in the disbursement of those funds to retired players was the model that the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Benefits office could take some serious lessons from.

    The checks had to be split into two separate payments (because of the priority given to paying another $16 million+ to the impoverished Upshaw estate), then new orders came down from the judge to do one more attempt to reach all the players listed as plaintiffs, and they were also charged with organizing all the documentation and sending out letters to everyone involved. And let’s also not forget this settlement was not the only contract these people were processing all at the same time nor was it nearly as large as some of the other cases they were handling. And on top of all that, every one of these people managed to answer inquiries and take phone calls POLITELY and EFFICIENTLY with few players ever even having to wait more than 48 hours for a return call.

    Somehow I would be willing to wager that Garden City Group handled the disbursement of $21 million more efficiently, faster AND cheaper than what all those well-paid people at the Benefits office have done so far (and in the past!). And keep in mind that these people have direct connections to the powers-that-be within the NFL and the NFLPA so they certainly had a very good idea of what needed to be done not long after the CBA was finalized.

    Common sense tells anyone with even half a brain (a concussed brain!) that this whole mess could – and should – have been handled better by an outside contractor. I’d say fire the entire Benefits office staff and hire the Garden City Group. It would a lot cheaper and probably be provide a much better outcome than what all of you have had to endure already. It certainly couldn’t make things any worse – that’s for sure!

    Perhaps if their paychecks were held in escrow until every last one of you finally got your benefit checks, things might go faster…

    Heck, since the CBA was done, they managed to renewed Roger Goodell’s contract, they gave DeMaurice Smith a $1 million bonus and even Super Bowl has already come and gone.

    In all my years of running businesses, I have never seen an organization so out of touch with their constituents/customers: The retired players and their families.

    Robert

    P.S. – I would think that just this example alone of how egregiously retired players have always been treated should be enough for the Judge to realize that the NFLPA needs to be hauled in front of a jury and held accountable! If for no other reason, you would have thought that some genius at the PA’s offices would have sent down orders to take care of its retirees properly to make their case that they don’t need adult supervision! Oh well…

  15. Hubert Ginn
    February 14th, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    Hubert Ginn

    Sorry I can’t attend. You have my support.

    Hubert Ginn
    Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Colts,
    Oakland Raiders
    1970 – 1978

  16. Burt Grossman
    February 17th, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    Burt Grossman Cover

    Let’s see: FOUR calls last week and none returned.

    2 1/2 months since I sent my first letter back and still have not received my second letter!

    Burt Grossman
    San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles
    1989 -1994

  17. Wayne Clark
    February 17th, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    Wayne Clark

    Hoping an update about the hearing can be provided soon. If this case will go forward, are others being sought to join and if so, how can we get information about doing so?

    And though this is the wrong thread, also wishing Dave a speedy recovery from the hip surgery.

    Wayne Clark
    San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals,
    Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs
    1970 – 1975

  18. RobertinSeattle
    February 18th, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    RobertinSeattle

    To Wayne and everyone else anxiously following this last hearing: From what we understand so far, the Judge has now heard the different arguments and is taking some time to review all the details before making her ruling. We’re expecting news from the attorneys as soon as it’s available. Stay tuned!

  19. Larry Kaminski
    February 18th, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Larry Kaminski

    Dave,

    With the Bowlen Management (Denver Broncos ownership) challenging their liability to former players before their ownership, I ask what will happen with the concussion lawsuits? If the Federal Courts grant them immunity from liability, what happens to those of us in that time frame?

    Maybe Robert can do some leg work. As of today, no response from the Bronco Alumni Association to my requests to discuss this issue. It seems as though our Alumni team does not care for the alum family pre-Bowlen.

    Billy Thompson was a teammate and was the overseer of the Denver Alumni group. Where are you, BT?

    Pre-Bowlen throwaway player,
    Larry Kaminski
    Denver Broncos
    1966-1973