. So the end of September has come and gone. No sign of any details on that incredible once-in-a-lifetime $765 million proposed settlement offer to retired players for concussion damages that was supposed to have been available by the end of September. More retired players have died in the meantime. But no worries: Maybe they’re waiting to watch the documentary and read the book. Next week on October 8th, PBS will air their entire two-hour documentary League of Denial on Frontline and the accompanying book from Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru will also be available online at Amazon: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth
. As with most lawsuits where there’s lots of money involved, a lot of coattail riding has gone on with the NFL concussion lawsuits and some have questioned why we’ve been so adamant in recommending Jason Luckasevic and his firm Goldberg Persky White (and his partners Girardi Keese and Russomanno & Borrello) to represent you. Jason was the original attorney who spent years of personal time in researching and pulling together all the details and partners necessary to finally file a solid lawsuit on behalf of his first clients. And if anyone tells you otherwise, you’ll be able to read four chapters in the Fainaru Brothers’ book dedicated to the behind-the-scenes stories leading up to the filing of those first lawsuits. . . . You can also read the full accompanying article on ESPN – clickHERE. .
. The courts in the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit could not have done a better job of making a bad situation worse by enabling the NFL and its crew of lawyers to muddy up the waters even more by allowing them more bites at a rotten apple while completely trampling the rights of the class. Here are two letters that were officially filed with the Minneapolis Court from retired players Ken Clarke (1978 – 1991 Vikings, Seahawks, Eagles) and Bill Bain (1975 – 1986 Packers, Broncos, Rams) rescinding their Opt Out Opt Out forms that caused intentional confusion for many others as well. What part of I Opted Out does anyone NOT understand? Wonder how many guys the NFL and its lawyers actually managed to con? . We’ve uploaded copies of Bill and Ken’s NFL Films Opt Out Opt Out Retraction Letters to Scribd to make them available for your reading pleasure and for easy downloading and printing in case you decide to change your mind. 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). .
. Some mid-week reading as we go into the beginning of the season. Seems like the mainstream media can’t seem to stop picking on the poor NFL these days. More articles are coming out on the NFL’s nonprofit designation as well as the fact that they pay for as little as they possibly can when it comes to… well, just about everything. From refusal to accept responsibility in paying their retired players their earned disability and pension benefits to taxes to publicly-financed stadiums that the teams rent for peanuts while reaping all the rewards from ticket, food, parking and merchandise sales, the Nonprofit Football League manages to generate a $10 billion-a-year revenue stream that would make the Fortune 500 if it weren’t for their nonprofit status. .continue reading »
. By now, many of you who submitted your Opt Out paperwork in the Dryer vs NFL Films proposed Settlement Offer have received your 2-page form just in case you might be confused or changed your minds. Mine arrived last week on the 16th. Apparently, someone has convinced the courts that retired players may have been confused about what a bad deal the NFL Films Settlement Offer is for all retired players: Your chances of really getting something directly for playing in the NFL while being included in all their videos and footage both for their profit and promotion and then eventually losing all of your visual rights and images from your football career forever was enough for many of you to choose to Opt Out of this deal. But the pro-Settlement forces are convinced that we’re all too stupid to have made the right decision so the court has now allowed them to send out one more confusing document to see if you really, REALLY, REALLY meant to Opt Out. We’re officially calling this the NFL Films Opt Out Opt Out Form. . So if you sent in an Opt Out form and meant it, you do not have to do anything. Do NOT sign and return their form. If you sent in an Opt Out form and would like to change your mind, fill in their form and mail it in. If you are the NFL, the court will also extend your option to Opt Out of this bad deal until Sept. 30, 2013 because it’s already looking like it’ll cost more than the $13.5 million you were taking back from the $50 million in the “Offer” to fight the “tiny minority of vocal players” who object to this pathetic offer. If you don’t like the proposed NFL Films Settlement Offer and didn’t send in an Opt Out before the deadline Aug. 30, 2013, you have no options left. The court did NOT extend your Opt Out period. . And in the “essence of fairness,” we’ve uploaded a copy of this 2-page NFL Films Opt Out Opt Out Form to Scribd to make it available for your reading pleasure and for easy downloading and printing in case you decide to change your mind. 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). . EDITOR’S NOTE Sept. 26 2013: After too many inquiries from even more confused retired players who actually Opted Out, we’ve uploaded a revised version of this form so each of you will know: DO NOT FILL OUT AND SEND IN THIS RIDICULOUS FORM! If you’ve already sent in your Opt Out form before their deadline of Aug. 30, 2013, YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO ANYTHING ELSE! If you send their new form in, you will be canceling your earlier Opt Out. Understood? Do we need to make it any clearer? .
In any game, you know you have everyone’s attention when your opponents always have to resort to cheating and stacking the deck. If there ever was a great example of “Desperate people do desperate things,” you’ve been watching it unfold these past months as the Opt Outs to the Dryer vs NFL Films Settlement offer came streaming in to the court. It’s looks likely that combined with the Opt Outs received by Goldberg Persky White and Bob Stein’s firms, as well as those sent in to the appointed management company and those sent in directly to the courts, we may well be looking at 1,000 Opt Outs or more. . As we continue to be educated about class actions lawsuits, 100 responses or Opt Outs would have been a typical expectation in most cases. Apathy. Lack of information. Distraction. All these factors contribute to the standard low response that most class action settlements tend to generate. But this lawsuit isn’t really about a one-time deal, as many of you have been realizing and voicing your opinions about loudly. And now we need to be even more vocal. Why? Because it’s all now allowed to do. Even though the Opt Out deadline has come and gone (August 30, 2013), the Court postponed the hearing from September to October 17, 2013 while not granting an extension to the Opt Out/Objection period. Even more interesting, the Court also allowed the lawyers who have been selling this Settlement offer to take another bite of the apple in attempting to dissuade those who have Opted Out to reconsider. And the firms who filed the two new suits against the NFL/NFL Films are being asked to dismiss them (without prejudice) until this phase is decided. But it gets more interesting: Two of the so-called new plaintiffs who were used to replace the Original Six actually filed official Opt Out notices with the Court – and BEFORE the two new lawsuits were filed. Since retired players are no longer allowed to Opt Out, we’ve decided to keep our online poll up and running until the hearing in October. Please vote if you haven’t already done so – it’s the only place left to openly voice your opinion of this proposed Settlement. .continue reading »
While we’ve been vehemently opposed to Ron Mix on his stance to promote the proposed NFL Films Settlement offer as one of the named Plaintiffs, we’ve also worked with Ron to inform retired players of the impending changes to California Workers Compensation rules. It looks like Bill AB-1309 will go into effect after Sept. 15, 2013, blocking any future claims from being filed. You can watch Ron’s overview from our Football Veterans Conference in Las Vegas this past Mayby clicking HERE. . And here’s the video with Ron’s discussion on Workers Comp: .
. With Bill 1309 scheduled for a final vote in California, Workers Compensation rules will be changing drastically to block most retired professional athletes from applying in California. Of course, the NFL is one of the groups lobbying strongly to have your rights limited once again. Retired NFL football player and Workers Comp attorney, Ron Mix, recently sent out a letter and form to me outlining the main points of the new Bill as well as giving retired players an opportunity to file their applications for potential Workers Compensation benefits before your right to file disappears. . NOTE: This is not a solicitation by or on behalf of Ron Mix. This is a general notification to all retired players who may still qualify to file for their earned Workers Compensation benefits. You can also consult another attorney should you choose not to engage Ron. But retired players need to act fast before the window closes before Sept. 15th! . Ron Mix told me that his office is already backed up with filings so he was gracious enough to provide the phone numbers of several other attorneys who may be able to help you get your initial claim filed on time:
Mel Owens (949) 452-0700
Matt Hill (949) 572-3203
Dennis Thomas (714) 843-1110
Ron Mix (619) 688-9630 (we’re including Ron’s number anyway)
We’re coming up fast on one of the most important dates in our careers as former football players. On August 30th, our right to Opt Out of the NFL Films Settlement Offer expires. We posted a countdown clock in the upper right sidebar of my blog just to remind all our readers that it’s looming. If you do not Opt Out, the NFL may well end up completely owning the rights to your name, your image and playing footage forever. Even though actors and musicians get paid for their work on the radio or on TV and sold as CDs or DVDs, the NFL is trying to re-write the rules by saying retired football players are the only people who can’t be paid for their vital role in a product that continues to make a lot of money every day..Even worse, the court has just announced that the hearing which was supposed to take place in September has now been pushed forward until October 14th. But the deadline for Opting Out and Objecting won’t be extended past the August 30 deadline..
Jim McFarland officially filed his opt out from the Dryer vs NFL Films Settlement offer with the Minnesota court today. Jim has had a very unique, inside view of things, having been one of two retired players who were invited to participate with the NFLPA (Jim was voted to the NFLPA Executive Committee in 2010) during some of the early phases of the last CBA negotiations with the NFL a couple of years ago. Jim later expressed frustration at his lack of a vote in any of the matters discussed and how many of his suggestions were ignored or dismissed with little consideration..Jim was also with us at the early meetings at Hausfeld’s offices when he was taking part in CBA discussions with the PA. With six years playing for the Bills, Cardinals and Dolphins in the 70′s and his post-football career as a practicing attorney in Nebraska, Jim continues to bring a unique perspective on the NFL Films deal with his filing against this Settlement offer.We’ve uploaded a copy of Jim MacFarland’s opt-out to Scribd for easy viewing 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):. .
. I received my latest Retirement Plan notification today that the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan was underfunded once again. All pension plans are required by federal law to inform its beneficiaries about such events or else most of us would never even know about these things going on in a $10 billion a year business. I guess that’s why they pay Roger Goodell $35 million+ a year while DeMaurice Smith managed to collect a $3 million bonus a couple of years ago for the fine job he did in negotiating the 10-year CBA. . And here we are being told by the NFL and their lawyer buddies that their $50 million Settlement Offer in the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit is absolutely the best deal they can possibly make even though most – or none – of that money will ever reach retired players hands. They can’t even fund retirement players’ current pension and disability plans and now they want you to get nothing for your images and footage from your role in past games. . Here’s the interesting thing: I had forgotten that we also got a similar notice last year in July! In other words, our pension plan has basically been underfunded since the CBA was signed over two years ago! We’ve uploaded both notices on Scribd for easy viewing on our Blog and to make it available for downloading and printing, especially to those of you who may not even be on their mailing list. 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): .
To Hausfeld LLP et al: . Well, if you’ve forgotten about our past posts and the subsequent veiled and not-so-veiled threats from you and your associates we’ve received this year over the Dryer vs NFL Films Settlement offer, it might be a good idea to go back and read them first. This is a blog. We voice OPINIONS. It’s an editorial right protected under the First Amendment. The ACLU will have a field day with you and the NFL if you’d like to take that topic up with them. . In the meantime,”as responsible journalists,” we’ll certainly post your item on OUR blog as soon as you and your partner firms do the following:
Operate as ethical attorneys;
Represent your clients;
Provide full disclosure on backroom side deals with the NFL;
Provide full Opt-Out and Objection forms immediately to all members of the class;
Publicly disclose all Opt-Outs and Objections immediately instead of blocking them from view until just before the next hearing;
Stop client-shopping and represent and consult with the Original Plaintiffs in this lawsuit.
Objections against the NFL Films Settlement offer have been arriving at the court in Minnesota. Here are a couple of recent examples. . Former tight end and Super Bowl champion (New England Patriots 2004) Jed Weaver’s letter to the court objecting to NFL Films settlement: . “The NFL has created billions of dollars in personal benefit by using players identity elements such as names, images, signatures and personal information. Players deserve to receive compensation every time these personal elements are used to promote the league, team, owners or coaches in any way just like musicians and actors are paid royalties every time their personal elements are used to benefit financially the party using their personal elements!” . His letter also noted that he intends to appear at the final approval hearing September 19, even though he lives in Florida and the hearing will be held in Minnesota. . And we found an earlier objection filed by Pete Banaszak (Oakland Raiders 1966 – 1978) which we’ve posted up to Scribd: .
. One more reason to vote in our poll to let everyone know how you really feel about this deal – and be sure to send in your Opt Out form immediately BEFORE THE AUGUST 30, 2013 DEADLINE so you don’t forget later!Click HERE for the Opt Out form and instructions. .
So we just pointed out how the NFL is now cranking up full court press on their own network and website with Jim Brown promoting the NFL Films Settlement Offer along with its Common Good Fund. We’ve also already pointed out how the NFL has already provided their PR agency to Hausfeld LLP to handle their press announcements (click HERE). But have many of you also been checking out the “Official” Pro Football Retired Players Association website that was also promoted on the bottom of the screen on Jim Brown’s plug for the Settlement? . . And the PFRPA and website are being promoted in every newsletter and e-mail going out to everyone they can find: .
Is it just us or do these people at the NFL (and the NFLPA) always live by a completely different set of rules that only apply to them? We’ve had every dirty trick in the book thrown at us with all kinds of veiled threats and inferences of wrongdoing for expressing the opinions of the many. And in each instance, we’ve been backed up by those who know better. And we’re still here thanks to the broad support of the retired player community out there. .continue reading »
Thanks to all of you for a great response to our NFL Films Poll so far! But we need everyone’s help to pass this along to all our old teammates wherever they are. We’re sure many of you may “not be located” by the mailing for your Options Instructions and that’s all the more reason we need to get this informal poll (and the information) out to as many retired players as possible. There’s a clear reason why retired players have always been kept in the dark and never allowed any kind of a vote on any issues or benefits that affect us. We need to send a clear message that the majority of retired players see this as the bad deal that it really is for all of us. . VOTE HERE:.
. We’re asking each person voting in this poll to provide their name for several reasons: While our poll already includes security measures that will disqualify duplicate votes from the same source, we’re sure that even with overwhelming votes, keeping every vote anonymous will be just one more excuse for some to question the integrity of our poll. So please add your name to your vote so the NFL and their lawyers can hear you loud and clear (NOTE: We’ll keep your name offline but it will be matched to your vote). And BTW – all visitors are blocked from voting twice. . PLEASE NOTE: This is strictly a poll to get a general idea of retired players’ opinions and not an Opt Out or Objection form. To OPT OUT or FILE OBJECTIONS to the NFL Films Settlement Offer, please refer to the 12-page overview that was recently sent to members of the Class (clickHEREto read the document and your options). .
By now, many of you should have already received a copy of the Dryer vs NFL (Films) Settlement Order overview and options.For those of you who haven’t received it yet or who may not be on their mailing lists, we’ve uploaded a copy to Scribd for easy viewing on our Blog and to make it available for downloading and printing, especially to those of you who may not even be on their mailing list. 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): .
. Basically you have three options:
Do nothing and agree with this Settlement offer; you (and/or your family) will likely receive nothing and your rights will be assigned to the NFL at the end of this agreement;
Object to this Settlement offer and file your objections with the Court;
Disagree and completely Opt Out of this Settlement offer so you can pursue other legal options and not waive your rights with this agreement.