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EDITOR’S NOTE: We received this first-hand report from retired player, Bob Lurtsema, who was one of the “uninvited players” who showed up last week along with Bob Stein and many of the Plaintiffs in the NFL Films lawsuit Status Conference. Each and every retired player needs to read Bob’s words of caution closely and send in their comments.
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Fellow retired players -
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I attended the court-ordered Status Conference in the Dryer v. NFL case on November 27 in Minneapolis to see what was up. What I saw was an attempted sell-out and ambush by the NFL and Michael Hausfeld to force Bob Stein and the original Plaintiffs to accept the NFL’s offer. The NFL and Hausfeld tried to pit players against players.
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Hausfeld brought along 10 or so non-Plaintiff retired players to support him. They were part of a secret group he organized to try to control the Dryer lawsuit payments. We discovered that one guy they brought in had never even been an NFL player! He paid for their travel but refused to pay for the original Plaintiffs’ travel as required by his retainer agreements with them.
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The original Plaintiffs who started the case were not even allowed in Hausfeld’s player meeting. When all the plaintiff attorneys met with all the players there, I was surprised the Magistrate openly pushed for the NFL deal (a very low offer of $50 million total), cut off Bob Stein who pointed out major shortcomings to the deal and then let Hausfeld ramble on to try and sell it. Right after that meeting, Hausfeld rushed out to confer with the NFL lawyers.
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The NFL-Hausfeld proposal, opposed by all original Plaintiffs (Fred Dryer, Jim Marshall, Joe Senser, Dan Pastorini, Elvin Bethea, Ed White) and Bob Stein, stunk to me. Under the NFL-Hausfeld proposal, NO player would be paid for using his rights …ever! Each retired player would give up all his NFL-related publicity rights forever and any money would only go to the neediest of player charity programs. The only ones getting paid are the lawyers!
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The proposal didn’t even have a guaranteed payment amount since all costs of opt-out player lawsuits against the NFL will be paid out of the settlement money! A very small group of players (Hausfeld’s?) would also be put in control of where the money goes. All of us would have to release our publicity rights (pictures, film of play, autographs) forever – and except for possible charity payments – will get paid nothing in the future. The Licensing Agency it set up looks just like the NFL Alumni Program – which LOST $5 million. So I don’t see what we’re getting for giving up claims to what Stein described as “the multi-billion dollar NFL Films vault” and over $150 million/year the NFL makes from using us in NFL Films.
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The NFL-Hausfeld proposal will pay $42 million (after $8 million in legal fees are paid) over 12 years, with all of it going only to charity programs. That amounts to under $15/month for each of the 20,000+ players whose rights would also be signed away. Of course, the lawyers would get paid $8 million up front immediately. Looks to me like each of us will gain absolutely nothing from the NFL-Hausfeld settlement and only the NFL and the lawyers win. No wonder Bob Stein and all the original Plaintiffs think it’s an inadequate deal. After all, over those 12 years when the NFL would be paying out about $3.5 million a year, they would make over $1.8 billion using us in NFL Films! After that, they would then pay nothing more and use our rights forever!
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Bob Stein and the original Plaintiffs all want a deal where every player who gives up his rights forever knows in advance what he would personally get for it, either in dollars or health care benefits …and that it should be enough to mean something.
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I didn’t know why other players besides the Plaintiffs were there but it seemed they were trying to set up the illusion of a “support vote” from guys who were not even Plaintiffs, all without opening the meeting to ALL retired players, just to pressure the original Plaintiffs to go along. Other retired players did not even know about this Status Conference and I only heard about it at the last minute. Hausfeld’s guys were mostly for the deal but ALL the original Plaintiffs and Stein opposed it. I still don’t see the point of the Status Conference but I do see the NFL-Hausfeld deal as bogus and completely one-sided.
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I am against accepting it and wanted all of you to know why. But it should be your own call to make.
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Bob Lurtsema
Baltimore Colts, New York Giants
Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks
1967 – 1977
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Bob Kuechenberg 2012 - credit Jennifer Thibeaux

Bob Kuechenberg 2012 – credit Jennifer Thibeaux

Herb Adderley, John Mackey, Mike Webster, Andre Waters. And the carnage goes on and on and on.
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Unless and until the 21st Century NFL undergoes a sea change – a total paradigm shift toward actually caring for their beloved 20th Century warriors – I have no interest in being associated with the NFL in any way, including the erstwhile noble idea of its Hall of Fame
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I am, however, keenly interested in contributing to bring into the American public’s consciousness the unbelievably shameful travesty known as the “NFL Retired Players Pension.
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I want to bring lasting attention to the deplorable and deliberate manner in which the NFL owners have set up a “maze” of red tape designed to prevent the hundreds – if not thousands – of living former NFL warriors from “having a life after football.
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To all retired players:
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On Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. your case will be argued against the NFLPA in front of Judge Susan Nelson in St. Paul, Minnesota. The NFLPA filed a Motion to Dismiss and this hearing will be to determine if your case is dismissed.
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If you will recall, in September and October of 2011, 47 former NFL players, including 27 Hall of Famers (26 of whom who are listed in the NFL’s official encyclopedia as 300 of the greatest players in NFL history), representing every decade in pro football since the 1940′s, filed a class action lawsuit against the NFLPA. The class representatives represent virtually every position in football, and every category of NFL player – including vested, non-vested, Hall of Famers, forgotten players, and legends of the game. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of all former NFL players and seeks to increase the retirement benefits of all players – vested and non-vested
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The NFLPA is asking that your case be dismissed against them. We will argue that your case deserves to be heard by a jury.
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It would be great if the Judge could see a courtroom of retired players who are all in support of having your case get heard by a jury. So if you are available to make it to Minnesota to attend the hearing, I ask that you mark it on your schedule and come show your support for your case. It is particularly important that you attend if you live locally.
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The address is below. Please let me know if you plan to attend. Thanks.
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Best regards,
Shawn D. Stuckey, Esq.
(former NFL player – New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 1:30 p.m.
Courtroom 7B
United States District Court
774 Federal Building
316 North Robert Street
St. Paul, MN 55106
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(Eller/Bednarik et. al, v. NFLPA and Gault/McElhenney et. al, v. NFLPA) Case No. 11-CV-2623 SRN/JJG (D. Minn.)
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On January 13, 2012, I called the NFLPA office to inquire about the Legacy benefit. I was instructed to call Cynthia Timpson at the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle office to discuss the matter. My late husband was a pre-93 player, and from my understanding the 2012 CBA agreement states, “All players who vested under the Bert Bell/Pete Rozell NFL Retirement Plan prior to 1993 would get an increase.” I anticipated her return call and was unprepared for her disrespectful remarks. I have never been so disappointed in the treatment I received that day; however, it should not have surprised me since that seemed to be the status quo whenever I have called seeking information from any of the NFL-related offices.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: We just received this today from retired player John Griffin. We hope someone will review and provide comments on this set of documents. You can find suggested Addendum wording to add to your signed documents on an earlier post – click HERE.
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Here is a copy of the second packet I received for the distribution of the Legacy Fund. I’ve whited out our personal information but thought you might post this and have someone look at it before we sign and return.
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I did not send in that addendum with my first letter but I will when I return this document. I would certainly appreciate it if someone could comment before we return it.
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Please let me know what you think.
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John Griffin
LA Rams and Denver Broncos
1963 – 1967
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We uploaded full copy of the cover letter and paperwork to Scribd for easy viewing and to make it downloadable for printing. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the center 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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Second Legacy Letter & Documents
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Dave has been talking with Bette Schwager over the past few weeks about her treatment (or mistreatment) at the hands of the NFLPA and the Players Assistance Trust (PAT). We asked her to write the story in her own words so that our readers can understand just a little of the senseless treatment she and her family have been put through by the NFLPA and their so-called assistance programs this past year. Bette’s husband, Bruce, had played football at the Merchant Marine Academy before being drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in 1955. The Cardinals refused to take him off their reserve list even as he went in to service with the Navy from 1956 – 1958. So Bruce became another one of the pre-’93 players (pre-’72!) who was actually on the roster and vested with enough years but never granted vesting. You can read the full story from Alan Schwarz in his June 2011 New York Times article – click HERE. We’ve also posted a copy of the 2-page Release Letter that the NFLPA tried to get Bette to sign after Bruce passed away before he was to be evicted from his dementia care facility because the NFLPA stopped paying his bill. After you read Bette’s story and the Release Letter, you’ll understand why we’ve been cautioning everyone to be extremely careful of signing anything from these people without close scrutiny and advice. continue reading »

EDITOR’S NOTE: Another exchange that Bob Kuechenberg recently had with your NFLPA representatives who are still asking what’s important to retired players. (?!!) The only three things that matter to retired football players have always been – and will always continue to be – real access to THEIR EARNED:
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• Disability Benefits
• Pension Benefits
• Medical after football
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Some of you may also recall several chapter presidents resigned in recent years in protest after being told what they could and could not talk about at chapter meetings
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EDITOR’S NOTE: The Annual Hall of Fame ceremonies were held in Canton Ohio this last weekend. Joe DeLamielleure was among the Hall of Famers in attendance along with several other players who are part of the Eller Class Action suit (including Carl and Paul Krause. A surprise guest showed up – Joe D. provides some notes on the event:
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This dinner is always strictly for Hall of Fame players and the new inductees only. So most of us were wondering – some loudly – Who invited Smith?
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When De Smith walked into the room to speak, around 12 of the guys actually walked out.
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When Smith spoke, it was obvious that he had no idea that this audience consisted mostly of pre-1993 players.
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An informal count indicated there were at least 40 Hall of Fame players who were each receiving less than $200 a month ($176) in pensions and Smith was asked what their increases would be in the new CBA. Smith said that their pensions would increase to $1,000 to $1,500.
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Paul Krause and Carl Eller asked about pension increases for retired players and never received a straight answer.
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Carl Eller also asked if retired players could represent themselves and Smith answered, “I would not be opposed to that” in front of the group.
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Renowned sports writer, Peter King, recently wrote on SportsIllustrated.com that “an additional $1 billion over 10 years will be spent on retirees, many of whom have horrible pensions (Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly gets $176 a month) and lingering health issues. Some retiree’s don’t think Smith has done enough and they think the league was more aggressive in finishing this program than the NFLPA.” Mr. King then concluded in the next paragraph that he believed, “Smith did what he said he would do.” (Click HERE to read King’s article from Sports Illustrated.)
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In 1982, when a group of courageous players challenged the incompetence and disingenuous rhetoric of the NFLPA and won a forced settlement of that labor dispute, it proved, when faced with the TRUTH, (from the players and a hard working accurate press and media), that the union and the NFL cannot fade the heat when they are exposed!
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But when that truth of what REALLY HAPPENED is smothered and a Clintonesque spin is spun (by PR firms, the press and the media) so the game can begin again, everything is NOT right with the game.
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But that’s okay, let’s play football...
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Another Cry for Help

12 July 2011

To Any And Everyone Who Cares About NFL Players Who Built The AFL/NFL
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My name is Glendora Wright and I am the Primary Caregiver of Gordon Arnold Wright. In March 2005, Gordon started to lose his memory. He had a brain scan and the Neurologist said he had visible evidence of scar tissue in the Brain and that there were four distinct areas where there was bleeding and then healing. I informed him that Gordon had been in the NFL as an Offensive Guard from 1967 through 1971 in the capacity as a National Football Player. The Neurologist told me that Gordon needed treatment at that time and that I should apply for Total Disability!
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The Hospital released Gordon Arnold Wright into my care with medical documentation saying he was Totally Disabled. I then spent a solid year caring for Gordon with no financial support from anyone. I was told I had to wait 24 months to receive Medicare on his behalf. I applied for Social Security and was denied because Gordon had worked for the United States Railroad for eleven years of his work life. The Railroad gave Gordon his full disability one year after I applied and took Gordon to all the Doctor Appointments they scheduled for Him. I applied with the NFL to help Gordon and I have been denied in every application for a vested Pension & Disability from 2005 through 2010. I put in an application on his behalf every year and I was denied every time.
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I am 52 years old and Gordon is 67 years old. I am tired and worn out trying to care for Gordon by myself.
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I have not had a vacation in 10 Years because I cannot leave Gordon alone.

  • He asks me the same question three times in less than 30 minutes.
  • If you tell him to repeat what you say to him he cannot do it.
  • If he puts a book down he cannot remember where he left it.
  • He has started to get verbally abusive because he misplaces things and accuses me of doing it.
  • I Love Gordon and I would not do anything to hurt him!
  • I bathe him. I braid his Hair. I help him get dressed. I give him manicures and pedicures. I massage him every day because he is in physical pain constantly. Every three hours he asks for pain medicine. I feed him mostly soups in order for his bowels to move. The pain medications slow his digestive system so he has to take laxatives three times per day.

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The recent quote made by DeMaurice Smith regarding NFL Legend, John Mackey, was – and is – consistent with his continuous disingenuous statements over the past two years. It is beyond disheartening. Based upon his conduct he should have remained silent and let someone else deliver the deserved tribute.
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On March 4, 2011, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said that he and his colleagues owe a fiduciary relationship to “protect the players who played, play and will play” professional football. Yet Mr. Smith has kept personnel who were part of the regime that a judge and jury found to have breached that “fiduciary duty.” Furthermore, Mr. Smith has sided with sports agents like Tom Condon. Condon once served as Gene Upshaw’s attorney; he also sat on the disability board for many years with countless conflicts of interest. Notwithstanding, Condon currently advises many of the current NFL players sitting in positions of leadership. The Roman poet Phaedrus warned: “Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.” Retired players, in the face of an oblivious majority, have perceived insincerity in Smith’s positions and statements. By siding with the likes of Condon and the duty-breachers, Smith has alienated himself and his leadership from the best interests of both current and retired NFL players. Smith backs the principle of rewarding the agents and their unproven clients. Meanwhile, Smith has effectively ignored the veterans and retired players who have proven their mettle on and off the field.
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Dear Mr. Goodell and Mr. Smith:

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Larry Kaminski finally home again

I’ve just returned from California where I filed my Workers Comp complaint against the Denver Broncos. Needless to say, they’re quickly filing to fight my claims. It was interesting that the NFL Management Council – I had no idea they had any say in making these decisions – just sent me a note saying I’m too old! The statue of limitations has run out. No help there.

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More Mr Smith Goes to Washington

Sports analyst, Evan Weiner, wrote a very detailed look at the current NFLPA/NFL situation in the newly-changed post-election landscape in Washington, DC. Should DeMaurice Smith have acted sooner when he had more friends in Congress? Will his efforts now be met with a cold reception with a new House? And why didn’t he take advantage of his friends and allies when he had a bigger advantage earlier?

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Reprinted below in its entirety with the permission of Evan Weiner and The Examiner (click on the poster to enlarge for printing — with apologies to Frank Capra!):

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DeMaurice Smith can create havoc on the NFL and House GOPers and the Washington Media

 

National Football League fans probably aren’t paying too much attention to what might happen once the Super Bowl rolls around. Some teams and their fans are gearing up for a December playoff run but in Washington, DeMaurice Smith is plotting strategy as National Football League owners and officials of the National Football League Players Association are about ready to face off in a much bigger game than the Super Bowl.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Gordon Wright played for four seasons: 1967 – 1968 for the Philadelphia Eagles and then 1969 – 1971 for the New York Jets. Like most retired players, Gordon’s been trying to access his full disability and pension benefits for years now and it’s finally reached the courts.

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