Heads We Win, Tails You Lose…

Mar 19, 2013

Coin TossHere we go again. Another great take-it-or-leave-it settlement offer from the NFL. Let’s see now. The League has been selling all kinds of film footage of the players for years at incredible profit margins while never paying the retired players anything for the rights. Now that they’ve been busted, they want to settle the deal by offering a token amount that’s only going into funds that will cover things like long-term insurance which should have been provided to the older players as part of their retirement package in the first place. No money for retirees but lots for the owners. And then they want to make the cost of appeal and opting out of the class fall on the shoulders of all retired players. And the hearing is set  for arguments later this week after they just filed the Settlement proposal. Is that how you readers also see this 164-page deal? No one gets to read the deal until it gets put in front of the court for arguments and acceptance? Still looks like lipstick on a pig. And, of course, the lawyers get paid up front…
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We uploaded copies court documents (and the NFL’s press release) from Monday’s Dryer vs NFL/NFL Films filings to Scribd for easy viewing on our Blog and to make it available for downloading and printing. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the lower right corner of the menu at the bottom of the viewing screen to go Full Screen for easier reading (just hit the ESC key to close):
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We’ll start with the press release:
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View this document on Scribd

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And here’s why they think it’s a good idea:
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Short notice of a hearing this coming Friday:
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View this document on Scribd

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And they want this deal done like, um… yesterday. And here’s why:
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View this document on Scribd

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The Proposed Final Settlement offer:
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View this document on Scribd

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23 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Billy Truax
    March 19th, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Billy Truax

    This is another nothing deal for retired players. How is one supposed to get access to a “common fund”? I suppose with more of the same begging and pleading to get an individual case heard. Ask John Madden what the gross sales were for only his part of this film theft, also the Sabols, TV networks et al.

    This is just another “peanut” settlement offer with too many conditions and I’m sure it’s not anything like the players expected when they filed and should be flatly refused especially by the judge! Retired players need and want individual compensation in all of these lawsuits that have been filed – their future is now with no intentions of serving and doing more good for the freakin’ NFL and NFLPA.

    Billy Truax
    LA Rams, Dallas Cowboys
    1964 – 1973

  2. Joe Steed
    March 19th, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    Joe Steed

    Push hard, push harder… we are in the red zone!

    Joe Steed
    Pittsburgh Steelers
    1992 – 1999

  3. Kevin Bakko
    March 19th, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Kevin Bakko

    As have many, I have followed this case with great interest. I have also followed your (Dave’s) input on the subject. At the end of the day, I sincerely believe there is no settlement offer (or had it gone to trial, verdict/judgment) that would have met with your approval.

    The biggest problem with class-action lawsuits is that all 4,287 plaintiffs (generally speaking) always feel they should have equal input on how strategies are determined, witnesses that should be deposed and whether to accept settlement offers that offered. While all the plaintiffs share in the reward, to one degree or another, either via settlement or judgment, an extreme FEW are required to reach into their pockets each day and fund the process. Yes, the attorneys are working on contingency, but not their staff, not the court which collects the fees and not the guy at Kinko’s who has to copy and bind 40 copies of the each and every set of interrogatories. Correct me if I’m wrong, and tell me if you have been right there all along with Dryer, Brown and the others writing the checks necessary to cover the costs of this lawsuit.

    I almost get the impression that because you, personally, are not going to get a check in the neighborhood of several thousand dollars out of this settlement, you think everybody got hosed. When it comes to considering a settlement offer, the rule of diminishing return plays a role. The people who are funding this E-Ticket have to ask themselves, how many more tens of thousands of dollars are they going to have to throw at a problem, that won’t result in an award or settlement offer that much better if they drag it out another year, two years, three years.

    In all honesty, Dave – and I mean no disrespect in this – I can’t recall a single product coming from NFL Films in which your name was even mentioned; not one. If you were in a film sequence that’s been released, I can only imagine that it was in a scene describing the efforts or achievements someone else in the shot. I say this, not to belittle you or disparage your days on the gridiron, but to illustrate the point that – while they may have made a boatload off the likeness of many, many others – NFL Films didn’t make a nickel exploiting YOUR career. Yet you seem to be the one tilting at the biggest windmills.

    Let it go, Dave. Revel in your time playing the greatest sport on Earth; bask in it. Don’t spend the rest of your life being bitter about what didn’t happen, or what might have been.

    Kevin Bakko
    Secretary Treasurer
    NFL Alumni Houston Chapter

  4. RobertinSeattle
    March 19th, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    RobertinSeattle

    Wow! Here we go again! I can’t understand people who decide to make these comments into a personal attack with absolutely no basis of logic or law. As I corrected you once before, Kevin, I will correct you again.

    You say that Dave is a player with no following or name recognition in football. Yet, even without a Hall of Fame award, Dave managed to play in the Pro Bowl and on a winning Super Bowl XV game with the ring to show for it. And you? Since we’re on the personal side of things, this is directly from your biography page with the Houston NFL Alumni: “He refers to his 1976 tryout with the Denver Broncos as his ‘fifteen seconds of fame.’”

    What?!! You actually never really played in the NFL? And you compare yourself to Dave and so many of the other players who paid the ultimate price for their contribution to the game? You have no argument there.

    As for the settlement offer from the NFL, if you had actually paid attention to what this lawsuit was really all about, you would understand that this lawsuit is all about the individual rights of each and every player who played the game and is still featured in DVDs and products which the NFL and NFL Films continues to make money from year in and year out without having paid a dime to most of these guys. We’ve already made a simple-to-understand arguments as to why each of these players need to be paid. If you care to read up on copyright and licensing matters, you would certainly know that EVERY time a song is sold or played on the radio, the publisher and the artists have a royalty collected on their behalf. Heaven forbid that someone uses a Beatles song in a movie without paying them a royalty for using their property. I also know many actors – Fred Dryer comes to mind – who still, to this day, collect quarterly checks for their roles in TV series or movies. Every time a DVD is sold or the show is broadcast anywhere in the world, they collect a royalty. And not just the stars. Even the bit actors get a piece of the action.

    So here’s where you’re really wrong on Dave and the other players: Indeed, you can now buy DVD’s of older games from many years past. I can guarantee that most of the Super Bowls are available for purchase. And you’re saying that none of the players who were in those videos deserve to get a fair share of their participation while the NFL gets to keep everything? Just as in Madden Football, none of those re-played games would be the same without the teams put together the way they were; each player’s participation affects the odds and permutations of each and every play and each and every game. And if you don’t believe me, go ask you local bookie. Which is why the NFLPA – when they were really busted during that Electronic Arts/Players Inc. lawsuit – actually suggested in secret communications that the game maker could simply transpose a player’s jersey number or some minor tweaks as an effort to avoid having to pay anything to each player in the video game! Based on your approach, it was probably all right for Gene Upshaw and John Madden to walk away with hundreds of millions while doing everything they could to stiff the players out of their fair shares. I find that insulting to those who actually played the game.

    And how about this old argument? Over the years, both the NFL and the NFLPA have consistently tried to use the dumb argument that tracking and managing the royalties for thousands of retired football players would be a nightmare. To this dumb argument, I would simply tell them to talk to SAG (Screen Actors Guild), which manages to keep track of millions of its members and their royalties (and ASCAP The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). As one particular example, I was not surprised to learn recently that the Blocker family (the widow and the two sons of Bonanza’s Hoss Cartwright Dan Blocker) continue to collect decent royalties to this day decades after Dan had passed away. So do NOT tell us it can’t be done. (In fact, Doug Allen, one of the PA’s licensing experts actually came from that industry and managed to line his wallet to the detriment of the players he was supposed to be working for.) Sure sounds like Collegiate Football to me: Everyone makes money except the players themselves. Everyone. Heaven forbid that the employees actually got paid…

    Let me ask you this: I see that you published a book about football a few years ago. What would you do if your publisher suddenly one day were to say, “Gee, even though you wrote the book, it’s too hard to keep track of the royalties for all these thousands of authors. So we’re just going to keep everything for ourselves. Besides, no one knows who Kevin Bakko is any more anyway.” Any difference here with this analogy and logic?

    As an outsider looking in with a different perspective, I’ve continuously found both the NFL and the NFLPA egregious in everything they’ve done with regard to their retired players. I suspect that this attitude is untenable for them mostly because they’ve been doing this for so long with a business-as-usual mentality that it’s now become a Catch-22 for them. If they finally stop and do the right thing, it would be clearly seen as an admission of guilt – as I’m sure their lawyers are advising them. Yet they must also realize that if they continue doing the wrong thing, it’s only going to make matters even worse moving forward. Which brings us to the issue of lawsuits: Bringing the light of day to these issues in a public courtroom in front of a judge and a jury is the only way to force these people to concede and do the right thing. Even now, with this half-ass proposed Settlement offer, the NFL continues to deal and negotiate with the player’s chips at the table and none of their own ante is anywhere to be seen. Here they are, offering benefits that should already been given to the retired players as part of their retirement packages and reluctantly “granting” them permission to form and manage their own licensing agency? It’s not theirs to give.

    Each of these men made personal sacrifices to make this game what it is today and their participation in the past continues to generate revenue today. Little in this settlement is anything that the retired players shouldn’t have already been receiving all these years. And now the League has the nerve to rush this agreement in front of the judge with some greedy lawyers leading the pack to ram it through the courts with little oversight or discussion among all those it affects? And even worse – they want penalties in there that will make the players pay the cost of any objections and appeals? If it was such a great deal, why the rush and all the secrecy? Something tells me that any deal the NFL puts out would be good enough for you. But oh wait – you never really played in the NFL.

    Let go of the past? Maybe you should ask the NFL and the Alumni to do that and stop doing business the way they used to do it. The only reason they want to force this settlement through quickly is because it’s a bad deal all around.

    P.S. – We’ll be having a panel discussion at our upcoming IFV Conference in Las Vegas May 3 – 5 on Your Rights 101. A REAL copyright and visual rights attorney will be explaining all the basics about how these things actually work in the real world and not in the NFL. Yakub Hazzard from Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi will be on hand to tell you everything you should know (and probably everything the NFL/NFLPA has never wanted you to know).

  5. Kevin Bakko
    March 19th, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    Kevin Bakko

    As do most when entering this argument, you don’t even realize how you’ve answered your own questions. You use Screen Actors Guild, and even my own publisher, as examples of what could be or should be. The difference been myself and actors who are members of SAG is simple. The contracts we signed, and which all parties were agreed to, called for the payments – up front and in the form of residuals – we’re entitled to.

    Through no fault of the Players focused on this suit, the contracts they signed – negotiated by the NFLPA through collective bargaining – provided for no such rights. As a lawyer (if I recall correctly) you know full well this action was an uphill climb at best. The Players were suing for something no one – including themselves – asked for or agreed to the compensation being sought from the past. The “implied consent” that has allowed NFL Films to use these images to this point has now, as a result of this settlement, been eviserated. The agreement establishes a licensing arm for product going forward.

    Be grateful; be thankful. Being bitter and vindictive serves no one; least of which yourself.

    Kevin Bakko
    Secretary Treasurer
    NFL Alumni Houston Chapter

  6. RobertinSeattle
    March 19th, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    RobertinSeattle

    Kevin -

    Bitterness has NOTHING to do with anything. It comes down to one simple word: Rights. And you bring up that interesting word ‘entitled’ in your argument. What makes you entitled to your book royalties any more or any less than these retired players? It was proven in a court of law that the PA had a long-term plan to steal from its own members. Maybe they should have gotten over their bitterness and never collected those settlement checks based on your line of thinking. Try telling that to the 2,200 men who waited years to finally receive their due. Guess they were all bitter and wrong and should have let it go a long time ago…

    You can cite all you want about the older contracts but there are too many lawsuits that continue to successfully re-visit illegal contracts from decades ago in numerous industries. They’re a lawyer’s worst nightmare. Being on the NFL and the Alumni’s roster certainly does not give you the credibility to talk about these men’s RIGHTS.

  7. John Hogan
    March 20th, 2013 at 5:39 am #

    John Hogan

    $42 Million! Wow! That’s a LOT of Money! I mean it would take Roger Goodell about a year-and-a-half to make that much! It might take Brady or Flacco three or four years!

    And still no significant improvements to the disability Plan and process; or long-term health care for retired players…

    John Hogan
    Disability Attorney
    Retired Player Advocate

  8. Kevin Bakko
    March 20th, 2013 at 6:23 am #

    Kevin Bakko

    Robert (inSeattle??? Seriously??? – at least I put myself out there for anyone, such as yourself, to review MY credentials). As an attorney you likely have access to Westlaw and other sources. You state, “there are too many lawsuits that continue to successfully re-visit illegal contracts from decades ago in numerous industries”. Please do some research and correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t believe (and I admit, I could be mistaken) there has ever been a single matter of case law where a collective bargaining agreement was deemed to be illegal. Not one.

    And as you point out, “(i)t was proven in a court of law that the PA had a long-term plan to steal from its own members.” So why go after the League; why not focus on the party failed to represent the best interest of the Plaintiffs? It is ALWAYS the responsibility of each side in a contract negotiation to cover its own “assets”. Blaming the League for doing its job, again, just smacks of bitterness. If this action, and others like it, focused on the NFLPA, I’d be marching right alongside Dave.

    And just out of curiosity, what WOULD have been an acceptable settlement? Is there a specific dollar figure (this side of reality) everyone could have agreed on? I suggest not, because – for some – this was never about winning. It was about perpetuating the fight. After all, once the fight is over, what do some involved in this discussion have left?

    Kevin Bakko
    Secretary Treasurer
    NFL Alumni Houston Chapter

  9. RobertinSeattle
    March 20th, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    RobertinSeattle

    Kevin -

    There are many retired players and a few others who know who I am. And that’s good enough for me. As for me being an attorney? I can already hear the laughing from all those who know me. No, I’m not a lawyer. Far from it. The point being that this battle between the retired players and the NFL AND the NFLPA isn’t about me. Or you. It’s about right vs wrong. I can’t make it any simpler than that. As someone who is completely removed from sports all my life, I can honestly say that I’ve never even watched a Super Bowl from beginning to end my entire life. But as a common citizen, the more I learn about the greed of the NFL and its owners, the angrier I get. Why? Because it affects everyone and not just the football fans. You want facts? Look at the facts: The NFL generally pays little or nothing for services and benefits at every opportunity it finds. From pension and disability benefits all the way to Super Bowl half-time performances in publicly-financed stadiums. It’s estimated that a mere 5% of those who even manage to apply for their EARNED benefits are allowed to qualify for them. (And yes – Dave and others SHOULD be bitter and angry about it when the NFL’s OWN appointed doctors declared them eligible for their disability benefits and then they still disqualify them with false, arbitrary rules.) And why would that make an outsider like me angry? Because when a $10 billion industry doesn’t pay its rightful benefits to its employees who earned them, where do you think it goes? Into our public coffers. These men end up turning to Social Security Disability and Medicare to cover their medical costs that the NFL Plans should have been paying all along. It comes out of your pocket and mine, regardless of whether you’re a football fan or not. It affects ALL of us and it’s stuff like this that contributes to our system breaking down. And more and more of our Senators and Congressmen are finally starting to realize this.

    But enough about me and why I’m angry. We see you’ve been with the Alumni for a while as Secretary Treasurer. Is that a paid position or are you paid as an announcer? It’s common knowledge that no one who works for the NFL is allowed to speak ill of them. Ask Terry Bradshaw. He spoke out ONCE about concussions and was taken out to the woodshed and has never brought the topic up publicly ever again. And your fearless leader, George Martin, who was annointed Executive Director a couple of years ago and then proceeded to go through $5 million of funding the NFL gave the NFL Alumni like a drunken sailor. Not once did George step up to the plate to speak up for those retirees who truly needed help. In fact, he publicly stated there were better ways to handle the concussion issue than litigation and lawsuits. That is, until he got fired. It took only a few weeks for George to join in on the concussion lawsuits after he was shown the door.

    As for your ridiculous questions about “…what WOULD have been an acceptable settlement? Is there a specific dollar figure (this side of reality) everyone could have agreed on?” the answer is easy. The first part of the answer would be: NOT what this ridiculous Settlement Offer represents which basically amounts to nothing for the men who are in those films. Both the NFL AND the PA claim bragging rights to the great revenue sharing deal they cut during the last CBA. Apparently, the players are supposed to be getting a 45% cut of revenues now (of course, Gene Upshaw used to brag that HE was responsible for getting players 55% of gross but that’s another story). Well, taking into account the fact that re-issuing copies of old games on DVD’s or re-broadcasting them has virtually little or no serious costs involved, a 50/50 split would certainly not be unreasonable. No stadium costs, no salaries to pay, no camera crews, nothing. So why would anyone be so defensive about the NFL unless they were so immersed in their culture of greed that noting and no one else seemed to matter? When greed turns to avarice to the detriment of those who actually created the business, it’s time to hold those responsible at least to the same level of accountability as the rest of us. No one should be above the law of the land. And I haven’t even gotten into estimates of just how much money we’re talking about here. Even without any direct access to numbers, I don’t think it’s unrealistic to assume that $50 – $100 million a year in sales is out of the question. At $50 million a year, that’s half a BILLION dollars in 10 years (and likely a whole lot more). And you want to offer the guys who are in those re-runs what amounts to a pittance of 10% that they won’t even likely see in their lifetime? I sure wouldn’t want you negotiating on my behalf in a business deal.

    (And here’s one more for you think about: Something else that seldom gets discussed is all the money that’s already been taken in over the years… Where did all that money go?)

    Maybe if we did turnaround on this offer, those of you who think the retired players are nothing but a bunch of bitter old men might begin to think twice: Let’s take all the revenue from NFL Films and products and give the majority of it to the retired players. But let’s “commit” a tiny portion off it to a feel-good assistance program for Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith and all the owners and their employees. Yeah right – like that would go over really well and be accepted immediately.

    Sadly you can’t teach common sense and make it any easier to understand.

    Robert Lee (that’s spelled L-E-E)

  10. Dwight Stone
    March 20th, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    Dwight Stone

    James 1: 19-27

    19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

    20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

    21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

    22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

    23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror

    24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

    25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it — they will be blessed in what they do.

    26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

    27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    Dwight Stone
    Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, New York Jets
    1988 – 2000

  11. Gregg Bingham
    March 20th, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    Gregg Bingham

    Oh, Kevin, where do I begin as you have violated so many ROE’s (Rules of Engagement), you’re dead 6 times over already! My dilemma is do I quote Sun Tsu and the “Art of War” or Isoroku Yamamoto as he was quoted when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor? “I think we have awakened a sleeping giant.” But I will tell you that when finding yourself in a deep hole, the best thing to do is stop digging!

    Robert Lee is proof positive of the old tenet that ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ and I sincerely suggest you retreat NOW and save yourself. You won’t win this battle as your “troops” will be left slaughtered on the battlefield in this war of words as he has skills all of us mortals only dream of.

    Personally I’ve found so many holes in your argument it looks like Swiss cheese to me and I can assure you Robert sees every one of them too. Such as this: “Yes, the attorneys are working on contingency but not their staff, not the court which collects the fees and not even the guy at Kinko’s who has to copy and bind 40 copies of each and every set of interrogatories.”

    I’m laughing here (and I’m sure Robert is too). This is why you go to a big firm and not a little one as big firms have partners who decide where, when and how they invest the firm’s money and all the parameters are all hashed out in advance. I would hope you didn’t think all the plaintiffs in the tobacco lawsuits paid in money themselves for decades before a settlement was reached, did you? Ditto for asbestos and insurance companies’ mold exposure as well as countless other suits. So again, I suggest you tell your bugler to sound the retreat NOW before your troops are left decimated on the battlefield.

    One thing I’d like to point out to you and get off my chest and that’s injustice. So here it is: Please tell me how John Mecom can sell his New Orleans Saints in 1986 for $65 million and 15 years later Bob McNair (who is pretty astute himself) paid $965 million for the Texans?!! All the while paying salaries to players such as Reggie White who went from $400,000 a year in Philly to $3.5 million a year in Green Bay in 1987.

    I’ll tell you the answer: IT’S CASH FLOW. That’s why Bob McNair paid what he paid as his investment cash flowed. How did he do it? Well, that’s simple – somebody had to get screwed for a team to justify a $965 million dollar valuation (a “mere” 15-fold increase in 15 years!): It was the pre-93 players as none of them moved as free agents back then. Oh, we certainly had free agency back then BUT the compensation was so-ooo excessive that nobody could move. Al Davis once told me he would love to have me but he would have to sell the Bay Bridge in exchange.

    So you see the money HAS been there for decades and NEVER went to the players (pre-93) like it should have. AND ANYONE WHO DOESN’T BELIEVE THAT GOES INTO THE CORNER WITH A DUNCE CAP ON. Finally throwing anything and everything up against the wall in order to correct this injustice is being done in order to correct this wrong. And I mean everything from soup-to-nuts.

    You should learn the history of all subjects before you pontificate. Oh – and while you’re doing that, remember ‘He who wins the war gets to write the history books.’ Maybe you should look at the American Indian and ponder who got the short end of the stick on that one or try researching who owned California or Texas before we did.

    Whew! I’m done now with my rant now.

    Gregg Bingham
    Houston Oilers
    1973 – 1984

  12. Kevin Bakko
    March 20th, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Kevin Bakko

    Amen, Dwight.

    Kevin Bakko
    Secretary Treasurer
    NFL Alumni Houston Chapter

  13. Kevin Bakko
    March 20th, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Kevin Bakko

    Mr. L-E-E… my four consecutive terms as the Secretary-Treasurer, then simply Treasurer of the Houston chapter of NFL Alumni – elected by the members of that chapter who knew me and trusted my judgment – was strictly voluntary. As for my being a paid announcer of NFL games; I should be so lucky. My years as a radio sports-talk host, interviewing literally hundreds of former players on these and many other subjects does not count in your analogy. My loyalty is logic; the greatest nemesis ever known to emotion.

    I notice you deftly side-stepped my query regarding collectively-bargained agreements ever being deemed illegal or invalid. THIS is where my contention with the issue under discussion comes from. On the subject of the NFL Films suit (and no other action previously taken or currently underway), neither the union, nor the individual agents, managers or other legal representatives of the Plaintiffs in this case thought to include language in their contracts requiring compensation for the use of their images. Is this disappointing? To be sure! In a perfect world, would I like to see us go back in time and rectify this issue? Certainly! But that’s the problem… it’s not a perfect world, and we don’t have a time machine.

    I’ll leave the discussion with something both profound and disturbing, and then I’ll let you have the last word. “What’s fair isn’t always legal, and what’s legal isn’t always fair.”

    Kevin Bakko
    Secretary Treasurer
    NFL Alumni Houston Chapter

  14. Gregg Bingham
    March 20th, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    Greg Bingham

    Kevin -

    Are those quotes from Chief Red Cloud or Sitting Bull? Geez – or maybe it was Geronimo or Cochise?

    Gregg Bingham
    Houston Oilers
    1973 – 1984

  15. RobertinSeattle
    March 20th, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    RobertinSeattle

    Kevin -

    In this debate, emotions have no part in the face of cold, hard facts and indisputable logic.

    Just because the issue of film rights and other issues did NOT get covered in past CBA’s does not grant the other party to use, abuse and violate them. As a matter of fact, maybe it’s a good thing that they were never actually addressed.

    Based on your “logic,” all of the asbestos miners who sued the mining industry for mesothelioma should have gotten over their anger and died from the pain and suffering they endured even as the mining companies continued to hide the fact that it was killing their employees. And based on that same approach, all smokers should never have bothered to sue the tobacco companies – they were just a bunch of bitter and angry consumers who bought into the tobacco propaganda that smoking was good for you and not addictive. In fact, would you like to have a debate with attorney Tom Girardi about bitter and angry? He’s the attorney who successfully litigated the $333 million Erin Brockavich case against Pacific Gas & Electric. He’s one of the lead attorneys currently suing the NFL for hiding what they knew about the long-term effects of brain injuries and concussions. Ya think his firm and the many others like Goldberg Persky & White would be spending their own money litigating on behalf of the retired players if – in their deep wisdom of the courts – they didn’t feel they had a solid case? Bitter and angry? I can put you on the phone with any of these law firms right now if you would like to argue your terrific and solid logic to take back to their clients. GPW has in fact successfully litigated asbestos cases for years and I rather doubt if you could find a single one of their clients who wasn’t grateful for their persistence to putting the right thing first ahead of making a quick settlement. And far from sidestepping the issue of addressing the legal precedences, I’ve been providing you with long, historical instances where the Plaintiffs have won each and every time in spite of odds and decades of denial. You just don’t seem to want to want to listen. Apparently you seem to like old sayings, so here’s one back at you: “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”

    This all depends on whom you believe you are actually serving as Secretary Treasurer of the Houston Chapter. Are you serving the retired players of Houston? The NFL? The fans by also being a broadcaster? When we first started this blog, Dave and I were hammered by uneducated fans who would slam ALL the retired players for being “bitter and angry” after being paid the big bucks for playing the game they loved and built on their backs. Over time, we slowly educated more and more fans and the general public that this was most certainly not the case, especially with the pre-93 players that both the League and the Union have chosen to not only ignore and abuse but continue to profit from at the same time. As someone who is in a position to get the word out and truly provide facts to the fans and retired players, perhaps you may want to re-think your position. Why not ask all those retired players you’ve interviewed over the years if they would turn down their rightfully-earned royalty checks instead of another phony program that goes nowhere for the majority of them? Somehow, I suspect you’ll be getting an earful if you’re willing to ask and listen.

    So how about I make a bet with you? I personally believe this NFL Films lawsuit is far from over even though some would like to spin it that way. How about you go to your NFL Alumni buddies in Houston and tell them not to be bitter and angry and waive any and all of their rights to receive a royalty check if this thing does finish the way it should? I can guarantee you that when there’s ever any announcement of checks being handed out from a lawsuit, you’d better get the hell out of the way so you don’t get run over by the stampede. You can stand there in the middle of the crowd yelling, “Now let’s not be bitter and angry about this, fellas!” Want to bet that for every single retired player you could manage to find who would NOT take a check, I’ll match you with at least ten or more who would? Loser pays for Dinner for Four on the Champs Elysee in Paris.

    Perhaps instead of telling retirees what to do, you might consider going back to the NFL and telling them, “What’s fair isn’t always legal, and what’s legal isn’t always fair.”

    RobertinSeattle

  16. Kevin Bakko
    March 20th, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Kevin Bakko

    Seriously??? You want to equate film rights to asbestos deaths and cancer???? That goes beyond grasping at straws. Best of luck in fantasy land, Robert!

    Kevin Bakko
    Secretary Treasurer
    NFL Alumni Houston Chapter

  17. RobertinSeattle
    March 20th, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    RobertinSeattle

    Kevin -

    Quite frankly, you’re now starting to sound like an ex-wife (one of ‘em!). Nothing is ever good enough in spite of overwhelming evidence and logic, you’ll dance all around the real issue and point and distract when anything that makes sense is put in front of you. Guess you didn’t want to take me up on that bet either.

    The point I was making shows that older and longer cases can indeed be heard – and won resoundingly. Regardless of the circumstances and the severity. In their defiant approach to trying to cram a shoddy deal down the retirees’ throats, you’re a perfect example of the uninformed who drink the Kool-Aid and march to the tune of the NFL in the face of overwhelming facts and evidence.

    You want basic legal information on Rights? Maybe you should have simply gone to Wikipedia and looked up ‘Personality Rights.’ You can read the entire post by clicking HERE. The opening section is very clear for anyone who can read English:

    The right of publicity, often called personality rights, is the right of an individual to control the commercial use of his or her name, image, likeness, or other unequivocal aspects of one’s identity. It is generally considered a property right as opposed to a personal right, and as such, the validity of the Right of Publicity can survive the death of the individual (to varying degrees depending on the jurisdiction). In the United States, the Right of Publicity is a state law-based right, as opposed to federal, and recognition of the right can vary from state to state.[1]

    Personality rights are generally considered to consist of two types of rights: the right of publicity, or to keep one’s image and likeness from being commercially exploited without permission or contractual compensation, which is similar to the use of a trademark; and the right to privacy, or the right to be left alone and not have one’s personality represented publicly without permission. In common law jurisdictions, publicity rights fall into the realm of the tort of passing off. United States jurisprudence has substantially extended this right.

    A commonly cited justification for this doctrine, from a policy standpoint, is the notion of natural rights and the idea that every individual should have a right to control how, if at all, his or her “persona” is commercialized by third parties. Usually, the motivation to engage in such commercialization is to help propel sales or visibility for a product or service, which usually amounts to some form of commercial speech (which in turn receives the lowest level of judicial scrutiny).

    So now you want to dance around and distract the real point here by attmepting to minimize the damage a half-billion dollar ripoff has done to the retired football players? Maybe to you something like this has no comparison to asbestos or tobacco lawsuits but try telling that face-to-face to a retired player who’s finally been qualified to receive Social Security Disability and Food Stamps because the NFL overrode his earned disability benefits? Is it any less important to him? If you want to tell it to his face, I’m sure we could get Dwight Harrison living close by in a FEMA trailer in Beaumont to show up at your doorstep down there in Houston. Or I can easily ask at least 10 other (REAL) retired football players to show up for you to interview and you can tell them directly not to expect anything because they’re only “bitter and angry” from being screwed over for years by the League and their Union. I can assure you that each and every one of these men will NOT be a member of your Houston Chapter of the NFL Alumni (or the NFLPA for that matter). Because none of them can even afford to pay the annual membership fees. And certainly not a single one of them want to participate in golf outings with jock sniffers or raise money for other people’s charities when they’re each living below the poverty level themselves.

    Angry? You’re damn right I’m angry now. I have a low level of tolerance for ignorance. But don’t mix up my anger with my passion. I’m absolutely passionate about the retired players and what has happened to them consistently over the decades with few consequences for the perpetrators of these injustices until now. What gives you the right to tell retired players that they need to get over the ongoing thievery and deception because they’re “bitter and angry”? While I would never wish ill will on anyone, I can only hope that you receive compassion from others should you ever find yourself facing bad times like so many are enduring in this country right now.

    Two more good sayings for you: “There but for the Grace of God go I.” and “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

    In closing this round, go back and read Dwight Stone’s passage again more carefully. He was addressing it to you.

    Robert

  18. Angelo F. Coniglio
    March 20th, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    Ange Coniglio

    Gentlemen:

    I’m not an attorney. I never played football at any level. I never belonged to a “Union.” I am a retired engineer and can do basic math.

    The NFL makes $9 billion annually. A settlement of $42 million is less than half of one percent of the League’s annual revenues. If my lawyer or my “Union” had agreed to that, I’d be looking for another lawyer and another “Union.”

    Angelo F. Coniglio
    Lifelong Fan
    Remember the AFL

  19. Gregg Bingham
    March 20th, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    Gregg Bingham

    Oh Kevin -

    Now you’ve gone and done it… I warned ya NOT to mess with the gifted one as he truly is a “ninja warrior” with his pen who can cut you from bow to stern with words which are always chalked with facts and common sense. I told you to tell your bugler to sound the retreat and save yourself and your troops. But nooo – you didn’t listen. Well… neither did George Custer. RIP Kevin… and ditto for Custer.

    That said, let me float this one out and see if you care to opine.

    From my seat, the real culprit who really screwed the pre-93′ers is the Congress of the United States as it was them who gave ALL the NFL owners an exemption to the Sherman antitrust laws which made ALL players owners’ property the second they were drafted. I thought we had a civil war here in this country around 1860 over something resembling human ownership. Now don’t anyone get excited about me comparing 1860 issues to the NFL because I’m not in any way, shape or form as they are worlds apart. But owners do own us (our rights to play football, that is) and that suppressed salaries BIG TIME.

    And the Congress of the United States is complicit in making that happen by granting said waiver. Let me think here: Football being the world’s biggest sport and NONE of the fledgling new leagues OVER THE LAST 45 YEARS have succeeded! I wonder why that is? Would you care to opine on that too?

    Oh and for the record, you can also go to Wikipedia to double check the Sherman antitrust laws and ponder just how those laws were magically waived for NFL owners. One last thing – I don’t like to be peed on and told it’s raining. So you might go back to my earlier comment and explain to me just how an NFL franchise’s valuation can go up 15 fold in 15 years without somebody getting grossly hosed …explain that one to me. PLEASE.

    ‘Nuff said.

    Gregg Bingham
    Houston Oilers
    1973 – 1984

  20. Gregg Bingham
    March 21st, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    Greg Bingham

    OK – just one more add-on…

    The American public (a majority of them) is totally ignorant as to how the system REALLY works in this country. As so many are truly clueless to the fact that when the beaten-down and broken ex-players can’t provide for themselves for housing, food,clothing, transportation and – most importantly – medical needs, as well as a host of other necessities they have no choice but to access the public coffers. We’re talking hundreds of millions here, folks. Whose responsibility is this? Well, that would be the owners but the cash went out the back or the side door and into their pockets and the taxpayers are now left paying the tab. This is done through various programs starting with Workers Comp and goes all the way past disability payments. Again this isn’t chump change but rather hundreds of millions (if not billions) of tax dollars being redirected from the citizenry to ex-players who are damaged both psychically and mentally. I know you’ve all seen the “lawyer” commercials on TV asking, “Do you have such and such… Well, call attorney Steve Jones” or “Do you have…..this or that …… call attorney Travis Hooper.” Well all these lawyers have won settlements for issues from soup to nuts and they are trying to get the settlements dispersed (as per court order). But not the NFL so far as they know the taxpayer will pick up the tab – AND THAT WOULD BE YOU SPORTS FANS. Yep, that would be you, the taxpayers

    BTW – I have no skin in this game as I’m one of the fortunate ones who can take care of my family and myself as I built my own dynasty when I was young and now live off the residuals of what I have built (income-producing buildings, businesses and factories) but I can assure you I’m NOT the norm but a tiny exception to the rule and reality. I only post about this subject in order to raise awareness to this issue hoping the tide of public opinion changes to enlightenment and understanding. And no… the guys I played with didn’t make ANYWHERE NEAR the money they make today. 30 years ago there was not one offensive lineman in the NFL making 6 figures as that was the mantra back then: To finally make somebody – anybody – break that barrier.

    ‘Nuff said and I’m outta here for now…

    Gregg Bingham
    Houston Oilers
    1973 – 1984

  21. John Hogan
    March 22nd, 2013 at 5:56 am #

    John Hogan

    Gregg,

    Great point. Some of us have been trying to point this out for several years – the taxpayers are now paying retired players’ medical bills through Medicare and Medicaid. Surely it is in the Billions! Want to reform Medicare and Medicaid? Start having the responsible party (NFL) pick up their share of the tab.

    John Hogan
    Disability Attorney
    Retired Player Advocate

  22. Eric Volk
    March 27th, 2013 at 7:57 am #

    Let me be clear…I have no horse in this race. However, in my opinion, I literally grew up with the NFL, as I was born in 1963 and was born and raised in Overland Park, Kansas. Yes, I still worship my memories of Willie Lanier, Len (‘Lenny the Cool’) Dawson, Otis Taylor, Jim Tyrer, E.J. Holub, Morris Stroud, Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan (who’s sons I attended high school with at Shawnee Mission South, with Eric a class ahead of me and Dwayne a class behind me), Jim Lynch, Johnny Robinson, Jan Stenerud, Aaron Brown, Warren McVea, Nolan Smith. The list goes on and on. I always had a particular affinity for Dawson as my 10-years-older brother walked on and played football at Dawson’s alma mater, Purdue. I followed my brother to Purdue in part due to Dawson’s image in my mind. And not just for his HBO work or his local KMBC Channel 9 work as the sports anchor. His image to me was of a class guy who got his degree. Once I was of high school age, my brother also made me aware of Gregg Bingham, Lamar Lundy, Dave Butz, Darryl Stingley, Greg Pruitt, Otis Armstrong,and other Purdue alums in the NFL of more recent times such as Calvin Williams, Mike Alstott, Jim Everett, Kevin Strickland, Drew Brees, Matt Light, Akin Ayodele, etc.

    I am now 49 years old. I have spent a very significant sum of money over the decades following not just the Chiefs but also the other Purdue players and other players who may not have been the headliners and did not go to Purdue. I actually know Jim Everett as he and I had some classes together in Purdue’s Krannert School of Management. The Krannert building is on the opposite end of campus and on a regular basis Jim would give me a ride to the Athletics complex, as I was on a partial baseball scholarship and also had practice in the afternoons. In fact, Jim tutored me in Calculus and Statistics… sent by the Athletics Department when I told my coach I was having trouble with those courses. We laughed a good one when he showed up!

    However, it’s NOT just those players that are the NFL to me. And that is the point of this comment. It IS the players like Dave Pear – who did NOT get mentioned in highlights, etc. – that created and maintained the image, the look and feel of the NFL that is still a part of its image to me and other fans as well today.

    Just because they didn’t score the TD or make the pick to seal the game, it does NOT diminish their role and therefore IMO their ownership and RIGHTS, whether it was in a highlight film or not.

    Respectfully,

    Eric Volk
    lifetime NFL fan

  23. Gregg Bingham
    April 1st, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    Greg Bingham

    Eric -

    I’m going back to Purdue for the spring game. And I sure wish you can make it. It will be great to see guys like Griese, Phipps, Hrivnak and my old buddy who was in school with me there and now the AD… Morgan Burk!

    Gregg Bingham
    Houston Oilers
    1973 – 1984