How Stupid Do They Think Retired Players Are?

Jun 11, 2013

bridge-for-saleWell, it’s been over a week since we were last threatened by Dan Gustafson’s office. And the paperwork citing your options has now gone out to all those retired players that can be located. At least that’s what one would hope. At this stage – considering everything we’ve seen from those who continue to promote the NFL Films Settlement Offer as the best thing retired players can possibly expect from the NFL – we now stand more committed than ever to openly declaring our opposition to this Settlement. And we stand against it for even more reasons than before. The actions and words of those who would want to silence any who would even express any opposition or opinions speaks volumes. And while they would question the statements of those who oppose their position, these same basic questions remain unanswered by Gustafson, Hausfeld or Zimmerman:
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  • Can you name one retired player who will actually be receiving a direct payment as a result of this “historic” agreement? And how much he can expect to receive?
  • Will each retired player be giving up his identity rights forever to the NFL under this Settlement? And what – if anything – is the NFL actually giving up or paying for your rights?
  • How is this new licensing agency going to be any different – and better – from what the NFL Alumni was supposed to do under George Martin when they actually had access to the NFL shield and logo AND $5 million to run a licensing agency?

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Then last week, another long-winded 4-page press release was issued by Hausfeld and Zimmerman (and NOT Gustafson who’s supposed to be the lead attorney now) about the proposed Settlement. What was more interesting than the spin in the press release itself was the contact information at the end:
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Hausfeld Zimmerman Press release
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OK – Looking up PR agency BZA’s client list:
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BZA
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Is that like finding out your divorce attorney is also representing your ex- during your divorce trial?
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We wonder if these same attorneys having the NFL’s PR agency draft and distribute this press release was their idea of holding down their expenses. But then again, Elvin Bethea (one of the Original Six Plaintiffs) is still waiting on reimbursement for his trip on behalf of the Dryer Case last year when Hausfeld called everyone in for another big meeting (!!!). Buried in the Settlement Offer is a $700,000+ claim for expenses that no one seems to have reviewed openly but then you also have Plaintiffs who are still waiting for promised reimbursements a year later. Must be like Zimmerman claiming in a recent interview that the NFL had “privately” disclosed accounting numbers to him in a secret meeting.
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We’ve posted a short poll to get an open view of how everyone feels about this Settlement. We hope each of you will also take a moment to express your opinion. Click HERE to go to our NFL Films Poll.
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9 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Ron Pritchard
    June 11th, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    Ron Pritchard

    Anyone voting to stay in this NFL Imaging settlement is either uninformed, stupid or just plain lazy!

    Bad people doing bad things again!

    Ron Pritchard
    Houston Oilers, Cincinnati Bengals
    1969 – 1977

  2. troy johnson
    June 12th, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    Troy Johnson

    Again, what do the retired players really get? Nothing.

    God Bless!
    Troy Johnson
    Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Detroit Lions
    1989 – 1992

  3. Mike Davis
    June 13th, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    Mike Davis Block

    This entire exercise is worth discussing. It’s been long overdue. The Original Six Plaintiffs and the fellow players who are eligible in the class action deserve Compensation for all these years that the NFL & NFL Films thrived on us. Hell, for me to get any highlight DVD that I’m in – as well as any each of you are in – WE MUST PAY FOR IT. With not a nickel rolling our way…

    The Greater Good Fund? Not a good idea in particular as well as the whole plan of the suggested settlement in general. Case in point: $50 mil, paid out over 3 years to 3 different charities to decide who gets what benefits…? Need I say more? But I will. Whack up the $50 mil: Lawyers get their cut of course, 1/3 to administer the distribution of each charity will require costs. So what will be left over to benefit you???

    Case in point: I suspect that funding will likely run out of money by year 4. That pie-in-the-sky, carrot-chasing routine all over again. Then there’s the license package that the NFL has agreed “to teach us and to monitor” the program. Wow!! I’m realistic. I did manage to play 11 seasons but I’ve been told NOTHING about this proposed licensing agreement: Will I even realize any proceeds?

    So like Wendy’s Hamburgers used to say, “Where’s The Beef?!!”

    And I say Where’s my Money? As well everyone should say.

    Now here’s a kicker: The Statue of Limitations… (?)

    The NFL in its finest hour, ” Hurry up and wait!” Or how about, “Take it or we’ll shove it down your throat!”

    Mike Davis
    Oakland Raiders
    1977 – 1987

  4. Lincoln Kennedy
    June 14th, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    Lincoln Kennedy

    I’ve read and heard from a large number of players, some are for the settlement and some are against. I have not made a decision where I stand, but I would like to point out some things that have really started to bother me:

    1.) For those who don’t want to give up the rights and image: Whereas I do respect your point and understand how you want to control your rights and image, I only ask what are you doing with those rights or image now on your own? Are you going out and shopping it to companies? Are you sitting down with EA Sports on how to use your likeness? So how would this judgment affect you one way or another if you’re not doing anything now with it?
    2.) If we decide not to pursue this settlement and try to hold out for different terms, doesn’t business go back to normal for the NFL? They won’t stop showing films or marketing with video games. They will continue to do what they have always done, with nothing going to former players, right? Isn’t that what we are trying to prevent? What then? Baseball tried a similar case and it was thrown out. You don’t honestly think that this will be heard again after the first case ended with no resolution? Who is going to pay for the startup to fight that case?

    No matter which side of the argument you stand on, there has been and probably won’t ever be anything that will take care of every former player (at least nothing with a great value to it). So I would like to point out some facts that many former players may not realize:

    A.) Not all of those who played pro football were stars and will be remembered for their achievements. So if NFL films showed a game that you played in (unless the commentator announced your name), you probably went unnoticed. And whereas I do agree you should receive something for helping make that game great, I don’t think you deserve as much as the guy the commentator is talking mostly about. In that instance, you are a co-star if your name is mentioned or an extra if it was not. There are only so many leading roles. And only leading roles should be compensated the most of the pie for that showing.
    B.) Now if you are a guy who is out there and able to get money from your name, tell me what have you done to give back to your teammates that helped make you famous? I’m not calling anyone out but I didn’t see Joe Montana donating to any former player fund when he shot the commercial for the shoes he helped to market.
    C.) I know most of the history of this great game is based on an individual’s athleticism. Be it a certain play or game or even a season, those things have helped make it great (and trust me – as an offensive linemen, we have not been a focal point of a lot of those documentaries and stories; but that’s another argument for another day). But that is the way it is. Hall of Famers, Super Bowl Winners, perennial All-Pro’s and Pro-Bowlers are the guys people remember. So all the other guys are likely to fall between the cracks; it’s unfortunate but true. Those guys are not the guys national sponsors are looking for to do a Super Bowl commercial. EA Sports is not going to approach an offensive guard who blocked for Walter Payton unless he’s a part of the HOF. So without a settlement like this where do we go? Who starts up something for the guys who fell through the cracks?

    Guys, I know this is not a good or the best deal for us. But we should take some solace to know that this benefit would be managed by people who played the game. And we should also feel good that whenever something is done with guys in the future, a portion will be donated to the Greater Good Fund so that it grows. Can the NFL do more? YES! Will they do more if we opt out of this? Probably not! Why should they? They’ve been doing it their way for how long now? Why would they need to or want to change it? We have to start somewhere and if we keep holding out for something better to come along, we lose more time and effort for the ones who could benefit from something like this fund. I’m not trying to guilt anyone. Or trying to tell you which way to go. I just think we have to start somewhere and it’s obvious that with the way things are going currently, we need change. The power is given to those who are currently in the game. All we have as former players are the names that made the game great. We have to use what we have to get what we want. If we continue to be splintered and separated no one will hear our cry for assistance. Why should they care? Stop worrying about what Jim Brown might get or what Mike Haynes might get. We need those type of guys to get our voice heard. And if you keep sitting around waiting for the Union to speak up for us, we fail. Or trying to achieve the impossible like taking on the NFL by yourself… you fail.

    If we choose not to act now, then when will we act? Where should we start? Is that place really likely to be made a reality? Just answer those question before you decide.

    Lincoln Kennedy
    Atlanta Falcons, Oakland Raiders
    1993 – 2003

  5. RobertinSeattle
    June 14th, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    RobertinSeattle

    Lincoln -

    Thanks for getting your point of view across so clearly. It’s very obvious that you’ve given this issue a lot of thought and you’ve done a lot of homework on many of the issues. And yes – you’re absolutely right in pointing out many of the finer details along with the bigger picture overview. There’s definitely a lot to understand not only in what’s in front of everyone but also what’s behind the curtain as well.

    Certainly, as you pointed out, neither the NFLPA nor the NFL can be trusted to protect the best interests of retired players. I don’t think there’s too much more to add on that issue based on past history. And I can also understand taking a pragmatic approach to getting something done right now, as some have taken and certainly may well be the thinking with some of the men on this proposed Board for overseeing the licensing and “Greater Good Fund.”

    However, I honestly believe that much of what has been proposed is putting the cart before the horse. For example, as one of the guys pointed out, ‘Why would you accept an offer on your house when an appraisal hasn’t even been disclosed yet?’ Normally, a process of discovery is conducted early on in litigation such as this. It’s common sense to know how much money everyone’s talking about BEFORE you negotiate who’s getting what. Which then leads me to point out that this so-called Board was selected and ‘appointed’ by none other the very attorneys (likely with a nod and a wink from the NFL) who want this Settlement offer to go through without any further fight or discussion. Cart before the horse!

    We plan on writing a longer post with more details on a proposal based on many ideas that have come in from the retired player community at large that makes more sense than what is currently on the table now with this Offer. But in short answer to your thoughts on the value of an individual player’s value as opposed to a star: It’s why they call them football TEAMS. We’ve brought one point to this discussion that has changed most people’s opinions about the value of one player vs. many. How? I tell them to talk to a bookie! (I know, I know. ;-) No football players know any bookies, right!)

    But let’s face it – a lot of what drives football (and most major sports) is the gambling side of things. Why else is the Sports section of the daily newspaper bigger than the Business section? The scores of the last day’s events are probably read by more people than the stock market values. And professional gamblers follow a lot of things before they place their bets. Most important of course is the team roster for the next game and part of that includes the injury reports, right? If one or two guys are injured and end up sitting out on the sidelines, doesn’t that affect the entire team? And the outcome of the game? It’s truly all about why they call those guys ‘odds makers,’ isn’t it? Do you think that any of the games would have turned out differently when a big tackle like yourself got forced to sit on the injured list? (How frustrating was that?) The entire odds can – and often – change when just one player gets taken out of the game. So the point I’m making here is that even with stars and quarterbacks on each team, none of them are valuable without the support of the rest of the team around him. Period. And the most humble of these men always manage to go out of their way to acknowledge their teammates.

    Now that’s not to say that the bigger stars don’t deserve to make more for being good at what they do on or off the field. And if a Joe Montana can make more money for himself by endorsing NIKE, more power to him. Nothing should get in any player’s way of doing so after his playing days are over (and there shouldn’t be ANY restrictions on his rights, face and name by the NFL, should there?). Why shouldn’t they? And if any of you other retired players can make a few extra dollars with endorsements or autographs, why should you have to go begging for permission to do so? Did Marlon Brando have to ask for permission from a studio to use his face or sign autographs anywhere he pleased? Of course not!

    One of the proposals discussed that seems to have met with very little argument is the simplest: Divide up the bulk of any settlement money proposed EQUALLY among all the players based on years played. You could even agree to set aside 20 – 25% of the money to divide up among the men who won Super Bowl each year (and maybe even a bonus fund for Hall of Famers). And maybe a portion of that 20 – 25% could be placed into a special fund for dire need players and it could be managed by an openly elected group of retired players along with other professionals with real expertise to help oversee this fund. But this would be done AFTER all the other details are worked out and not BEFORE a real and serious proposal is on the table.

    As an outsider looking in, it seems to me that retired players keep getting sucked in to a divide-and-conquer approach that those with other interests have consistently used against all of you successfully in the past. When retired players can also finally begin to play as a team and divide things up among themselves fairly and equitably, then – and only then – will retired football players finally realize fair recognition and compensation for what each and every single one of you sacrificed for this game called football.

    Robert
    Publisher, Editor
    Dave Pear’s Blog

  6. Rick Eber
    June 17th, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    Rick Eber

    Lincoln,

    I enjoyed reading your comments and thinking about your thoughtful questions.

    In the spirit of friendly debate, here are a few comments I would like to make:

    1. You argue against yourself. On one hand, you argue that players have not and will not use their publicity rights and then you reverse-argue that money from the publicity program will fund the Greater Good aspect of the settlement? I am not sure you can have it both ways? More thought was put into “how to sell” this deal than connecting the dots – my opinion.

    2. You agree players should receive something for their contribution; we both agree our legal cause of action is legitimate. We disagree on the settlement terms. I think it should be more than charity for those who can access it.

    We already have an over-funded PAT program and Rookie Wage Scale money the NFLPA has in reserve with a portion dedicated to charity. The immediate answer for our players in need is real access to available funds, not more charity dollars and new access issues.

    3. You say you are not trying to “guilt” someone. I believe you. The fundamental cause of action in this case is paying players for their publicity rights past and future; helping players in need is only one of the five original causes of action; read the lawsuit. Framing the settlement solely on helping needy players is cherry-picking misdirection at best. This settlement has a narrow charity frame with the intent to extort. Period!

    4. I keep hearing how difficult it is to “define the class” and without doing so we can’t have a class action lawsuit. I am not an attorney but I think the courts need to define the class for the settlement to be legal. So which is it? And do players have a stronger argument for a defined class than we are presently getting?

    The real question – is there more legal meat on the bone that could win us a better settlement? At the very least, reshape the one offered. It sounded like we did at the Las Vegas Conference where attorneys and participants from both sides presented their arguments pro and con.

    5. I have strategic scope concerns about the settlement process.

    We have concussion litigation lawsuits I believe to be much more important than publicity rights. We should not view these lawsuits as independent of each other; I would bet the NFL doesn’t. Strategically connecting these lawsuits has the potential to be more valuable in the concussion case than the marginal benefits of this settlement.

    You asked a lot of questions – I will too:
    – How will the NFL use this settlement to measure our concussion lawyers?
    – Who are our concussion player reps? How are they selected?
    – Will the attorneys once again play musical chairs with player leadership to jam a marginal settlement through the courts?
    – What do we signal to NFL if we accept this deal?
    – What do we signal to NFL if we opt out en masse?
    – What do most of us have to lose? (Whoops – that extortion thing is back!)

    You can then imagine a settlement that only provides access for our players in need to more charity-based medical care for concussion-caused neurological problems.

    We need historical evidence that players are capable of organizing resistance to a marginal concussion settlement!

    What we really need is concentrated leadership for all retired players.

    Personally, I have not consulted with an attorney; these are simply my ideas and concerns!

    Lincoln, thanks for letting me debate with you a little. I truly honor your participation in this discussion. I am not so sure either of us is wrong, we just see it differently.

    Take care
    Rick Eber
    Falcons, Chargers
    1968 – 1972

  7. Ron Pritchard
    June 19th, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    Ron Pritchard Bengals

    So not everyone is as popular or as accomplished or as marketable as others! If that’s the case – and I think it is – then I have a solution for the players and NFL Films: Let the NFL go ahead and pay for the players who are profitable images for them and let those who are not have all their images removed from all NFL film footage. It would be difficult to do but I’m sure it’s do-able.

    But if the NFL refuses to do such a thing, then why would I give up my publicity rights to them for nothing in return? I will not! “You might say, Your publicity rights are not worth anything, Ron. So why fight for the right for worthless images?”

    Here’s why: I live in a free country. The greatest country in the world. Someone (our fathers and mothers, sons and daughters) gave up arms, legs and even died for those rights that I have! They may not be worth anything in the free marketplace of America but they’re MY worthless images and it should be my civil and constitutional right to do as I please with them and no one should be able to simply take them from me just because they’re billionaires.

    That last comment is for Ed and Jerry, “So what do you think of THAT!”

    Ron Pritchard
    Houston Oilers, Cincinnati Bengals
    1969 – 1977

  8. Ed White
    June 19th, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    Ed White

    Ron,

    You are right on my brother…

    Hopefully this publicity rights issue will bring everyone out to express their opinions and show the NFL that we care enough to express ourselves. I truly believe they think otherwise.

    So get your ex-teammates to vote!

    Let’s roll. Roll on or roll up!!!

    Respectfully,
    Ed White
    Minnesota Vikings 1969 – 1978
    San Diego Chargers 1978 – 1986

  9. Tony Davis
    June 28th, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    Tony Davis

    To Lincoln Kennedy first:

    You start your response out by saying:

    ” I have not made a decision where I stand, but I would like to point out some things that have really started to bother me:”

    Got to tell you, Brother. For a guy who “has not made a decision,” your next three to four paragraphs sure don’t align with your claim.

    Most on this site know my NFL Retired Players Advocacy position. I am in agreement with my former teammate and mentor, Ron Pritchard. When this first came out, I thought ‘Well good. If this is funded at $50 million every 5 years then maybe some good could be done. It appears to be a one-time fund with additional funding coming from marketing and licensing rights. While I’m sure good can even be done with $42 million, the facts which make it an issue to me are simple. What is the value of the NFL Network and I do not give you permission to use my image without my consent and damn sure not for free!

    This argument for the Stars being more deserving is ignorant. The greatest QB on a terrible team in the history of the NFL, Archie Manning, may have been in the HOF if he played for the Giants. The value is in the TEAM which allowed the great individuals to be great. Yesterday, I copied, signed and mailed my “Opt Out” letter.

    There comes a time when we all need to stand together and say “No More!”

    This is that time…

    Tony Davis
    Cincinnati Bengals & Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    1976 – 1982

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