Spencer Kopf: Facts and Not Fiction in the History of the NFLPA

Mar 19, 2013

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our friend, Spencer Kopf, called in and was miffed to read an e-mail from Jeff Nixon that described the NFLPA’s great historical contributions to advancing the livelihood of its players. The story was just that: A story. The real history and events during the negotiations of the 1982 strike were well-documented and supported by many of the players who were actually there when it all went down. Here’s Spencer’s letter:
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Fantasy FootballDear Jeff,
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I have been asked by the undersigned former players to address your most recent communication to the NFL Alumni. In your March 2, 2013 post, you wrote:
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In 1982, our NFL Players Association demanded, among other things, that its members receive 55% of the league’s gross revenues. The owners told us to take a hike. So we did, and we didn’t return until seven regular-season games had been lost. The owners were forced to return $50 million to the networks. Although we were not successful in getting 55% of League revenues, we did accomplish some things that are still having a lasting impact on current players.
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If by “we” you mean the NFLPA itself, you could not be wider off the mark. The players of the past certainly deserve credit for accomplishments that have benefited players of the present. However, by juxtaposing “our NFL Players Association” with “we” you have created (perhaps unintentionally) a false sense of equivalence. If the history of the NFLPA has anything to teach us, it’s that the NFLPA has never acted as if it and its past constituents were one and the same.
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Winston Churchill said, “History is written by the victors.” This glib observation fails to recognize that plenty of history is written by the defeated. And perhaps worse, it fails to recognize that occasionally history is written by uncredited parties, who actually secured victories claimed by others. In The Unbroken Line, Billy Joe DuPree and I (along with a host of contributors) demonstrate that the NFLPA had very little to do with resolving the 1982 NFL labor dispute, despite what the NFLPA claims on its website (click HERE).
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Jeff, you know this because you read the book and graciously supported its content and conclusions. Still, when Joe DeLamielleure responded to your March 2, 2013 post, you responded, I know the NFLPA was asleep at the wheel in ’82 strike, but that was not the point I was trying to get across in the article. What I was trying do was make the active players understand why they have certain rights and why they are getting some of the great benefits they enjoy.
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Yet in your March 2, 2013 post you wrote:
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Although some people feel that the strike of 1982 was a failure because we didn’t get a guaranteed share of the revenues, or significantly improve player movement through free agency, I believe our NFL Players Association established one of the most important rights in the history of our collective bargaining agreements; The sharing of contract information with all players and their agents.
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These and other statements in your post do not suggest that the NFLPA was “asleep at the wheel”; instead they suggest that the NFLPA was responsible for creating what was accomplished in the 1982 strike, which is false: there were accomplishments in 1982, but they were not created by the NFLPA. In fact, had the NFLPA done it their way, nothing would have been accomplished. Nothing.
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The historical record speaks for itself. In 1982, the NFLPA promised a fund that players could go to during the strike to help pay their bills. This representation was never realized in the manner specified by the NFLPA. Furthermore, the NFLPA authorized to strike after the second game instead of waiting until after the fourth game, which would have allowed each player to vest for an “entire year.” By striking after the second game, players had only two paychecks to support themselves in a projected long strike. Then, throughout the strike weeks, the NFLPA notoriously did not answer the questions of their constituents and their player reps, creating enormous discord and distrust.
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Yes, the NFLPA demanded 55% of the gross, but it did not press to ask for many of the things that you listed as achievements. First, the 55% demand was a pipe dream (which I noted in my article in The Dallas Morning News in July 1982, long before the strike even commenced).
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Second, that lengthy list of demands (which rather coincidentally can also be found in my article) was actually achieved by our maverick group of players: we sought those terms out ourselves and presented them to the NFL owners. The NFLPA didn’t initially come up with those demands; we did. The NFLPA didn’t achieve them; we did. Of course, our actions did put the NFLPA leadership in the position to draft and execute the final papers (because at that time they were the only authorized signatories). But to say that they achieved these victories is to be flat-out ahistorical.
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Any claim that the NFLPA created the ability to resolve the situation and achieve these results is absurd; the historical record confirms this. During the seventh week of the strike, the NFLPA called the player reps to New York, and it informed them that the season would either end without resolution, or the players would go back to work without new contracts, without any new benefits, and without any monetary restitution for the games they had missed: they would be paid only for the remaining games played, best case. The union had zero leverage. And the owners knew it.
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The NFLPA, in all of its wisdom, even recommended that the players should let the season go, if need be, to create a modicum of leverage for the next year. This advice, had it been followed, would have meant that all of the achievements you list as NFLPA achievements in 1982 would not have been realized for ten years or more. The owners knew immediately of this so-called tactic, and, because the owners knew that the players were ready to cross the line, the NFLPA had no actual leverage at all. For your statements to be correct about the NFLPA being responsible for the long list of achievements there had to be enough leverage to accomplish those goals. But there was no leverage. The items on your list (plus others) were presented by that maverick group of players to the owners. And it was only when the maverick group of players created an impenetrable legal situation that the owners’ leverage was virtually nullified, forcing them to meet those demands. The mavericks’ action, and not the NFLPA’s, forced both sides to capitulate.
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The NFLPA had no idea what was going on, let alone were they capable of achieving these goals. By the time the mavericks had set their plan into motion, the arbitrator was 3,000 miles away, and no substitute arbitrator had been thought of, let alone selected. Robert Newhouse (the 1982 Dallas Cowboy player rep for the NFLPA and a current Federal Bankruptcy Court Trustee) and Joe DeLamielleure (co-player rep for the Cleveland Browns and member of the NFL Hall of Fame), among others, can confirm this. On the 57th day, the NFLPA’s efforts were in complete collapse. The NFLPA leaders told the player reps that the season would end, or the players would go back to work without an agreement, without benefits, without payment for missed games, and would play the remaining games under the same old salaries. So Joe DeLamielleure went home to get another job at Hawk Industries in Cleveland, Ohio. Robert Newhouse had not quite left to go home, but he was present and saw the union position in complete disintegration: it was obvious that there was mass dissension between the NFLPA leaders and the members, and that there either would not be a complete season or the players would return to work under the old terms without payment for the missed games.
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The owners were in such a strong position that they were daring the players to continue the strike. The owners knew the most likely result would be that the players would take the season as-is and come back with their tails between their legs. But, as you know, at the final hour Robert Newhouse received a call from Billy Joe DuPree that some maverick players were taking immediate legal action against the union. This legal action process would simultaneously snooker the owners: because the owners would be unable to participate in those potential legal proceedings, they would be helpless to avoid economic disaster; therefore, they were compelled to reach a settlement. The mavericks had established the leverage that the union never did and never could achieve. I presented the terms to the owners, and then the owners informed the union that they had accepted those terms. The union leadership was then compelled to present the agreement to all of the player reps, as there was no arbitrator present.
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Despite this knock-out tactic, the NFLPA actually recommended that this deal be rejected by the player reps! But the reps voted to accept the agreement that had been created. In their book Labor Relations in Professional Sports , Robert Berry, William Gould, and Paul Staudohar remind us of the way the deal went down:
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Ratification of the agreement by the owners was made without incident. Although the union’s executive board voted 6 to 1 against the agreement, the player representatives voted 19 to 6, with three abstentions, to send it to the players. Ed Garvey initially predicted that the players would reject the settlement . . . When the players finally voted . . . [t]hey accepted [the agreement] by a 3 to 1 margin . . . (pp. 145-46).
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How anyone can even hint at giving credit to the NFLPA for securing terms that they initially advised the players not to accept is absurd to the highest degree. Why would they secure terms and then tell their constituents not to accept them?
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Worst of all, the NFLPA’s egregious record didn’t stop after 1982. Despite the mavericks’ efforts, the union learned nothing over the next five years (well, they did learn to claim credit for things they didn’t achieve). They entered the 1987 negotiations as weak and inept as they were before. The owners, however, had learned from their mistakes, and they closed any possible avenue of leverage by establishing a right to have scab players play in the event that the NFL players would choose to strike. The union failed miserably in 1987, the players gave up, and the season restarted. The NFLPA was decertified as a union a short time thereafter.
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And the NFLPA’s deplorable behavior continued. In 2009, as you know, the NFLPA was found to have breached its fiduciary duty to retired players. They were hit with a judgment in the amount of $28 million for doing so. (Don’t forget, $21 million of the judgment was for punitive damages.) The NFLPA has been led by essentially the same group of cronies for around thirty years. And all that they have proven in that time is that they cannot be trusted. They do not deserve any praise whatsoever.
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As I quoted above, Jeff, you wrote in your March 2, 2013 post:
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Although some people feel that the strike of 1982 was a failure because we didn’t get a guaranteed share of the revenues, or significantly improve player movement through free agency, I believe our NFL Players Association established one of the most important rights in the history of our collective bargaining agreements; The sharing of contract information with all players and their agents.
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But lest we forget, Garvey himself desired to create an “era of protection” by getting rid of all individual player representation. That was the biggest issue Garvey presented in 1982, and he had the gall to do it under the guise of protecting the players. He wanted the union to represent all players, but under that scheme, there wouldn’t be contract sharing between players and agents because there wouldn’t be any agents. Worse, there would be a never-ending series of “conflicts of interest” between the union and the individual players for whom they intended to provide individual representation. As history shows, the players immediately and vehemently demanded that this issue be removed from that year ’s NFLPA agenda. The union leadership backed off, but had they been operating in the best interests of the players, Garvey and company would never have come up with such a formula in the first place. The NFLPA leadership has consistently over decades ignored conflicts of interests. (Remember, for example, Tom Condon’s sitting on the disability board for approximately two decades while simultaneously being Gene Upshaw’s attorney and representing many NFL players.) With such a nepotistic group running the NFLPA, it’s not difficult to see why so many conflicts of interests continue to arise.
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There are many more examples of the NFLPA leadership’s total disregard for the best interests of their retired constituents, especially those who played before 1993. Garvey behaved this way in 1982, and continuing in that same vein, Gene Upshaw infamously stated that he did not represent retired players because they don’t pay him. DeMaurice Smith, a former assistant U.S. Attorney, claimed he would do a thorough due diligence before taking office; instead, he rehired virtually all of the executive management (including chief counsel Dick Berthelsen) who were besmirched in and after the 2009 federal court proceedings by both the judge and the jury.
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The ten-year term of the new collective bargaining agreement is a travesty and is just another example of the incompetence and self-serving conduct of the NFLPA leadership. Quite frankly, it is another example of the total disregard for the health and financial well-being of pre-1993 former players. This most recent CBA has provided minimal assistance to pre-1993 players, many of whom will have passed away in eight years when the CBA expires. Meanwhile, the NFLPA leaders continue to receive obscenely large compensation. In The Unbroken Line, Billy Joe DuPree and I (citing investigative journalist Lauren Horwitch’s article “Company Set Up by SAG’s Allen Under Fire”) wrote, Doug Allen, the former assistant director of the NFLPA and 1994 founder of Players, Inc., earned $466,281. The next year, he was paid $1.9 million. His wife, Pat, the former COO of Players, Inc., doubled her salary to over $600 thousand. And Gene Upshaw, the NFLPA executive director, raked in nearly $7 million (p. 223).
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If compensation to the leadership were properly scrutinized and justly curtailed, the money saved could go to the retired players without affecting the union’s budget or the current players’ income benefits by even one penny. Best of all, this would help thousands of hurting, retired players, rather than enrich a handful of undeserving individuals. But nothing like this is imaginable given the current scheme. Is this the record of a helpful, honorable NFLPA?
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In your March 2, 2013 post, you wrote:
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Each generation of NFL players has worked to increase their benefits……and benefits for the players that came before them. Why have these benefits increased with each and every new CBA? The simple answer: The NFLPA negotiated the benefit on behalf of former players. They have no obligation to do this, but they have, and for that…I am thankful.
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While perhaps it wasn’t your intention to begin with, by juxtaposing the initialism “NFLPA” (an organization which deserves no praise) with “each generation of NFL players” (who deserve all the praise) you give a false sense of accomplishment to the NFLPA leadership, who (unlike you and other former players) has no record of acting for the “we” whom you rightfully defend. And whatever accomplishments the NFLPA has achieved in the past thirty years, they pale in comparison to their failures: by being thankful, you show a willingness to give in, however slightly, to this clutch of vile characters. The reaction should be “too little, too late” not “thanks.”
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The NFLPA leadership’s conduct of conscious indifference for pre-1993 NFL Player’s is deplorable, especially in the face of achievements in Major League Baseball. Marvin Miller, the great executive director of the MLBPA from 1966 to 1982, demanded that each era of baseball players be required to provide substantial economic assistance to retired baseball players. He recognized that former players, by building the sport, had created the huge financial opportunities for the players who would come after them. But just the opposite is true of Upshaw, Smith, and their fiendish familiars.
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How many times have we heard the rhetoric from NFLPA leaders such as DeMaurice Smith that, contrary to what you have asserted, the NFLPA does indeed owe a huge fiduciary duty to pre-1993 NFL players? But unlike the great Mr. Miller, the NFLPA leaders have shown that they are more concerned for their own wealth and unbridled influence than they are for those who sacrificed so much to create the financial opportunities and the health and other benefits realized by today’s NFL players. It’s not that the NFLPA doesn’t have to assist former NFL retired players; it’s that they have it set it up in such a way that they are not required to do so.
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Then, when they throw a few bread crumbs to the floor, the NFLPA can fall back on the statement that technically they are not obligated to do even that. Jeff, I am certain that you meant well, but your article gave the impression that you credit the NFLPA for the accomplishments in 1982. Furthermore, I believe that you have too much integrity to be giving the NFLPA any credit or any benefit of any doubt, because there is no doubt about their dubious record. I began this message by slighting what a great English statesman once said. But Churchill did say one thing we can agree with: “Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never in nothing, great or small, large or petty never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” It makes absolutely no good sense to give credit to those who have no honor.
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Ever your friend and comrade-in-arms,
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Spence, on behalf of your devoted fellow Alumni Brothers listed below:
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Joe DeLamielleure – HOF- Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns
Billy Joe DuPree – Dallas Cowboys – Super Bowl Champion
Fred Dean – Washington Redskins – Super Bowl Champion
Robert Newhouse – Dallas Cowboys- Super Bowl Champion
Elvin Bethea – HOF- Houston Oilers
Dave Pear – Oakland Raiders – Super Bowl Champion
Anthony Dickerson – Dallas Cowboys
Ed White – San Diego Chargers
Norm Wells – Dallas Cowboys

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Spencer Kopf has been a licensed attorney in the state of Texas for 33 years, and offers expertise in the areas of corporate law, criminal law, sports and entertainment law, civil litigation, and contract negotiations.
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At the age of 16, Spencer attended the University of Pennsylvania as a superior high school student. He attended Oklahoma City University on an academic and debate scholarship where he earned a B.A. and his Juris Doctorate. In 1982, he was appointed to the bench as a Municipal Court Judge in Collin County, and three years later, elected by his judicial peers to serve as the president of the Texas Municipal Courts Association – the first Municipal Court Judge from North Texas to be so honored. At 35 years old, Spencer was the youngest judge to ever serve in that capacity. He was also nominated by the Supreme Court of Texas to serve on the Judicial Qualifications Review Commission. At one point, Spencer represented one third of the Dallas Cowboys roster as their attorney.
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Recently, Spencer co-authored the book entitled “The Unbroken Line” with former Dallas Cowboy Billy Joe DuPree. The book recounts the true story of the 1982 National Football League labor strike which he was instrumental in resolving.
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6 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Billy Truax
    March 20th, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Billy Truax

    AMEN… The truth is what it is!

    Billy Truax
    LA Rams, Dallas Cowboys
    1964 – 1973

  2. Gregg Bingham
    March 22nd, 2013 at 1:31 am #

    Gregg Bingham

    Well there you have it sports fans. And by reading Spencer`s terrific contribution detailing the REAL facts you can now see just how an NFL franchise can increase from $65 million in 1986 to $965 million in 2001 (a 15-fold increase in 15 years!) and exactly how the players got the short end of the stick – AGAIN. I know I keep harping on this but valuations are indeed derived from free cash flow so if the players didn’t get any of it, the only one left of the two is the owner.

    And lets not forget Reggie White went from $400K a year in Philly to $3.5 million in Green Bay in the late 80′s. Which from my seat, those two facts added together is NOTHING SHORT OF ASTOUNDING: The amount of free cash flow that never went to the players back then but does today. All on the backs of the pre-93ers.

    Gregg Bingham
    Houston Oilers
    1973 – 1984

  3. Jeff Nixon
    March 28th, 2013 at 2:15 am #

    Jeff Nixon

    Spencer:

    As you know, I am well aware of how the CBA negotiations went down in 1982.

    You and Billy Joe Dupree invited me to M.C. the event in Texas where his book was unveiled.

    My references to the NFLPA in the article were only intended to convey the fact that active players are benefiting from what my generation of players did. I would have loved to put all of the things that happened during the strike of ’82 in the article but I was just trying to get my main point across – that we want current players to remember the benefits that we fought for and they now enjoy, and that we want them to continue to increase our pensions.

    When I used the term NFLPA in my article, I was speaking in general terms about every active player that was part of the Union. I wasn’t talking about the administration ie. Garvey, Upshaw or Smith!

    I’ve trashed those three more than any other player I know – except maybe Dave Pear.

    I have been one of the most outspoken critics of the NFLPA administration and leadership and you damn well know it! It is the active players who comprise the NFLPA, and they are the people that ratify the CBA. Maybe I should have been clearer in the article.

    In the article I said the “NFLPA has no obligation to negotiate on behalf of former players, but they have, and for that…I am thankful.”

    I said “I” am thankful. I wasn’t speaking on behalf of retired players. I was speaking for myself. I know that there are guys out there that will never give the active players one iota of credit for anything they do. That’s ok, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I am sure there are critics of what we didn’t do for retired players when the 1982 CBA was finally ratified.

    Active players (the NFLPA) could have said “screw the retired players” and put nothing at all in the CBA for us. They have no fiduciary obligation to help us – period. Moral obligation – yes.

    I want to see more done for retired players, but I’m not going to trash the active players – unless they deserve it – like Drew Brees did. I wrote the article for Joe DeLamielleure that tore that asshole – a new one. It was posted on Dave Pear’s website.

    I will continue to point out point out the facts – like the obscenely huge amounts of money that continue to be pumped into current player benefits at the expense of ours. I was the first former player to document the actual cost of those benefits and get the information out to thousands of former players and the media.

    We know the active players are being misled by DeMaurice Smith, just like Gene Upshaw and Garvey did before him. DeMaurice Smith knows that the more bacon he brings in for the active players, the better chance he has of staying in power.

    By the way, I am still part of the active lawsuit (now on appeal) against the NFLPA that could ultimately get us a better benefit package than the one that was negotiated. I was part of a select group of players that was invited to meet with the lawyers that initiated that lawsuit because of my history of getting the facts out to former players.

    Before the NFL Films lawsuit was filed, I was writing about the fact that the NFL and NFL Films were getting away with larceny by using our images without compensating us. The writers of the Master Complaint took specific language from my articles and used them in the Complaint.

    Because of my efforts (and Joe DeLamielleure’s efforts) we got 80 Hall of Famers to sign a letter – that I wrote – asking the active players for a Rookie Salary Scale. As you know, they did establish a Rookie Wage Scale and with the money they saved from doing that, they funded the Legacy Benefit.

    I have already written about the fact that the Legacy benefit didn’t go far enough to help the pre-’93 players, so I don’t need to go there again.

    Let me also remind you that I have helped approximately 1,500 former players file concussion lawsuits against the NFL and I have pushed back against the NFL and former players that have criticized the players that have filed.

    I have informed thousands of players about the California Workers Comp cases and how to get signed up. I have informed them about how the NFL is trying get legislation passed to deny those benefits – and what they can do to take action.

    After everything I’ve done to try and advocate for retired players, I really don’t appreciate your attack on me for an oversight in mentioning the real heroes of the 1982 strike.

    I’m not sure why you felt like you had to go off on me, Spence. I’m just a phone call away and I thought we were friends – at least that’s what I thought until I read your posting. No one’s going to see my little comment posted on this website so the damage to my reputation has been done. Congratulations.

    Half the statements you wrote about the Garvey, Upshaw and Smith sound like the same words, statements and opinions I have used in numerous articles about these so called leaders of the NFLPA.

    I don’t need to be lectured by you about the abuses of power from the NFLPA Leaders. Hell, I was the one that helped you write the article that was posted on Dave Pear’s website about the NFLPA’s abuses through Players Inc. and you know that’s the truth, because I have all the emails to back it up. I gave you more than half the facts and information that you used in your posting.

    Jeff Nixon
    Buffalo Bills
    1979 – 1982

  4. Spencer Kopf
    March 28th, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    Spencer Kopf

    Dear Jeff,

    Many people read your now notorious open post to Joe Flaaco with confusion and disappointment. I was asked to respond to what you had written and straighten out some facts, which you strangely appeared to contradict. Now you write, “Maybe I should have been clearer in the article.” Exactly! You will remember that in my response I guessed this might have been a question of word-choice. Indeed, I wrote, “[B]y juxtaposing ‘our NFL players association’ with ‘we,’ you have created (perhaps unintentionally) a false sense of equivalence” [emphasis added]. I am glad to find you have confirmed that the literal meaning of the words you wrote was not what you intended to express.

    Had you then followed this admission with a post expressing something such as, “It is clear that I should have included some pertinent facts and clarifications in my letter to Joe Flaaco because I seem to have created an unintentionally misleading indication of how I interpret around thirty years of questionable leadership and accomplishments of the NFLPA,” then that would have been the end of the story.

    Instead, you spend the rest of your response defending yourself against straw men with a list of all of your previous good deeds and positions. The straw man is an informally fallacious style of argumentation. But no one has attacked your personal record or accomplishments. All we have done is respond to your words to Joe Flaaco, nothing more, nothing less. You had written a post that was intended to influence both current and former players regarding certain facts, benefits and history regarding the NFLPA, but the literal meaning of your diction was incorrect, and this demanded clarification, not for your sake, but for the sake of those who read your post only to be utterly bewildered by it. The history lesson regarding the dubious conduct of the NFLPA leadership was not written to re-educate you, it was to attempt to clarify the situation for a wide readership and rectify the damage you may have caused by your inaccurate depictions of accomplishments by the NFLPA.

    Now that you have responded, all that remains clear is that you feel insulted for my having commented on your post. For some reason you seem to feel that I have attacked you personally even though there is nothing remotely ad hominem in what I wrote. In the original version of your response (which you sent to several others), you included a post script, which read: “ps. Yeah, that’s right…..I’m [expletive deleted] outraged because you wrote this on behalf of the guys that I have been doing my best to help. You have turned these men against me – and for that……………you can kiss my [expletive deleted].” When someone resorts to the straw man fallacy along with four-letter words and personal attacks, it is usually because he can find no way to defend his side in an argument. So, it is nice to see that your response to my open letter has been redacted to remove these emotive words and phrases, which I trust were written in the heat of resentment anyway.

    Your statement that I have tried to turn people against you is not only absurd, it must be (in light of the facts prior to your most recent post) completely fabricated. Before I had ever heard of your letter to Joe Flaaco, you had already received an irate e-mail from one of the co-signers on my eventual response. At the time this gentleman sent that harsh e-mail to you, I had no knowledge your letter to Joe Flaaco even existed. Other players, who were already livid from having read your post, later forwarded me the Flacco letter asking for my comments and recommendations. It was at their request that I draft an open response to you so that the large audience who had read the inaccuracies in your letter would get the facts in an in-depth manner. Quite frankly, some of your constituents did not believe you deserved a respectful response, but I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt; I, therefore, kept my response respectful and to the point.

    The mere fact that you have taken the stance that you now have shows that your fellow alumni were correct in making my drafted response available to a large audience. When you were initially confronted by e-mail, you made no attempt to clarify your position in a public forum; only after having read some publicly available constructive criticism have you responded, and you have done so in a way that suggests you take constructive criticism as a personal insult.

    I wish this had gone differently. Despite the tone of your response and contrary to what you may feel now, I still count you as a friend of the cause and of mine.

    As ever,
    Spencer

  5. Billy Joe Dupree
    March 28th, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    Billy Joe Dupree

    Jeff,

    I wanted to express my thoughts on the article and subsequent article on the NFLPA.

    I wanted to interject the fact that the NFLPA has not been user friendly to Retired Players. The content of your blog/email evaluation on the progress of NFL Players’ contracts did not give the details of history for reference. We appreciate your work in this area, which has been constant. I think the correspondence you have with Spencer Kopf has missed the point of his comments. We all know the NFLPA did not settle the strike to create what is happening in today’s NFL Players’ contracts.

    That was structured independent of the NFLPA. The NFLPA was out to lunch with the intent to scrap the season. We, the Players pave the way for what is happening today. You did admit you may have left out some of the history of events that influence the current status of NFL active players’ contract negotiation.

    With all of that said, the correspondence you have received from Spencer was to clarify to your readers what really happened, because we were there. This entire situation has nothing to do with trying to make you out as a bad guy. You have done a good job in championing causes for retired NFL Players.

    I am hoping all of this is behind us so we as a team, NFL Retired Players, can continue our quest to improve the quality of life for All Players once they retire from the NFL.

    Billy Joe Dupree
    Dallas Cowboys
    1973-1983

  6. Tony Davis
    March 30th, 2013 at 11:02 pm #

    Tony Davis

    I watch and read with disappointment, at what has been the greatest weakness in the NFL Retired Players movement. Almost everyone in communication on this subject, on this blog, know each other. We have exchanged ideas, met at summits and conferences, had drinks and dinners and yet, despite all of this, we choose to point out differences instead of commonality.

    In the past, I was very active in seeking to improve the lives of NFL Retired Players. I actively lobbied Congressmen to apply pressure on the NFL by threatening to amend their AntiTrust exemptions. Among those advocates, very few were more effective than Jeff Nixon who attacked on many fronts, the NFLPA and the NFL. I have known Spencer Kopf for four years and know of no other man I want on my side with regards to the issues that NFL Retired Players face. Both of these men are my friends. Spencer and Jeff have worked together, they respect each other and I know that they like each others friendship. I wonder why, when Jeff’s article was posted, why my friend Spencer, would not have picked up the phone and talked to Jeff one on one. Why are we using a third party blog, to communicate with each other? As former members of the NFL we understood that without communication, great communication, the likelihood of success was decreased drastically. We communicated with guys that sometimes we did not like if it meant team success. Why don’t we do that now? I don’t know of may NFL Retired Players who really don’t want the same thing. A short time ago I decided that I could be much more effective getting help, to NFL Retired Players who needed help, by communicating directly with those who needed the help and those who could help them. I like helping and feel if I can help a guy get medical help or pay a phone bill that it takes some stress off these guys. My friend and former NFL Player David Humm, is suffering from MS. Now here is a guy who needs help as he watches his body deteriorate and his bank account dwindle at the extreme cost to provide him care. An event has been organized in Las Vegas on June 17. We will have a golf tourney to help raise money to help David’s family offset those expenses. While that is going on advocates are working to getting David’s problems solved.

    The NFLPA really has no need for us. The NFL has actually done more for NFL Retired Players than our own Union has but the elimination of time limits on the Disability requirements would certainly help a lot of men. Medical care for every NFL Retired Player may be closer than we think. Increasing the Pensions should always be on the table. So as I look at what has transpired over the last two years and I read and listen to Advocates, who advocate only for the elimination of every organization that is involved in all the issues we would like to see improved. What are the solutions, what are the answers. I will tell you what they are not. They are not name calling people who have the job of getting former Players to see Doctors for free. These are good people who work for a living and the only decisions they make are to make sure the patients, former NFL Players, are on time to get looked at medically. Yet some choose to name these people and attack them publicly on blogs such as this one. Here is what I know for a fact. If we need to negotiate with the NFL/NFLPA for increase in benefits, and all they see is us disrespecting each other, we will never be taken seriously. I know this first hand, from communicating with those we negotiate with. The quote was “How powerful would you be as a negotiating group with everyone talking the same talk.”

    There are a lot of men that I really respect in the community of NFL Retired Players. Joe D, Mike Haynes, David Humm, Jack Thompson, Billy Joe Dupree, and others. Among my favorites are Jeff Nixon and Judge Spencer Kopf. I have had every one of these guys call me and disagree with me over different issues. Never has the line of communication been severed. Lets’ quit attacking each other publicly and communicate with each other one on one, face to face if needed. Do we make the effort to solve issues or do we say nothing and answer from a distance.

    Tony Davis
    Cincinnati Bengals & Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    1976 – 1982

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