USAToday: Chargers 'devastated' by ex-DB Paul Oliver's suicide at 29    League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, will air on FRONTLINE on October 8 & 15. Check your local listings    LA Times: Deion Sanders, critic of NFL concussion suits, seeks workers' comp    FOXSports: NFL, players reach proposed $765M settlement of concussion-related lawsuits    Sean Pamphilon's United States of Football in theaters starting Aug 23rd!    Washington Post: Do no harm: Who should bear the costs of retired NFL players’ medical bills?    You can catch all the posts and videos from our recent Third Annual Football Veterans Conference - everything now posted here on Dave's Blog!

NFL Déja Vu

30 July 2013

Einstein Quote

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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.
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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.
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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):
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NFL Films Settlement Poll
Is the NFL Films Settlement Offer Good or Bad for me?

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Bruce Laird: Mixed Messages

19 November 2012

EDITOR’S NOTE: Fourth & Goal’s Bruce Laird sent in his comments and observations after reading the recent ESPN article from last Friday, Mixed Messages on Brain Injuries. (Click HERE to read the post that includes a link to the article.) Bruce and Sam Havrilak were also unceremoniously kicked out of the Baltimore chapter of the NFLPA for their outspoken and proactive activities for retired players. Here are some comments and observations from Bruce:

Joe DeLamielleure, Bruce Laird and Herb Adderley

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Another inside look at how the NFLPA functions at its core particularly when it comes to retired players: Bruce Laird spent many years alongside Sam Havrilak as officers of the local chapter for the NFLPA in Baltimore. And during many of those years, Bruce and his fellow alumni also ran Fourth and Goal, a nonprofit and advocacy group for retired players which managed to provide assistance to those players in need. Now that George Martin’s NFL Alumni has been marginalized, it seems that the NFLPA only recently noticed that Bruce and Sam have been running Fourth and Goal while also working within their Baltimore chapter! Hard to tell if the PA is trying to clean house now that the Alumni is gone or if they only just realized that Bruce and Sam have been voicing their opinions for years about the real plight of retired players. Perhaps Gene Upshaw stopped by to remind them…
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This is a copy of a handout given out by the NFLPA to show their great work to Certified Contract Advisors at the annual Sports Lawyers Association conference recently held in San Diego CA.
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So if they did such a great job, where did all that money go for the retired players? The NFL has now officially stated for the record that they were already offering to put up 51% of what was needed to cover an increase to widows’ benefits if the NFLPA put up the other 49% (read about that on an earlier post – click HERE). And a large number of retired players are still reporting back that they have yet to even hear back from the fund on their Legacy Benefits while others are already receiving their retroactive checks and increased payments. So maybe it’s time to stop bragging and show retired players and their families the money, Mr. Smith.
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We’ve posted a copy of the handout to Scribd for viewing and to make it downloadable. You can also click the Fullscreen button in the lower right corner of the screen to enlarge it for easier navigation (just hit the ESC key to close):
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2012 SLA NFLPA Meeting Notes
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Best analysis so far from Mike Florio on ProFootballTalk:
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Click HERE to read that article.
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Over the past couple of weeks, absolutely nothing of any serious significance or substance out of the NFLPA regarding retired players pensions especially that new Legacy Fund, other than a lot of the same chest-thumping and empty rhetoric that everyone has been hearing since the lockout ended late this summer. It would certainly seem like the lawyers have taken over once again and put out that Say Nothing Memo.
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There was a meeting of the Seattle Chapter (probably much like other chapter meetings across the country) where the usual 8 members – out of approximately 48 NFLPA members listed in the Seattle area – showed up and voted on a few things that we’re sure will make a huge difference to all retirees: The meeting introduced some Business Opportunities (Hair Products!), the Touchdowns for Homes Programs, as well as some discussion on the School of Legends program. We also finally have some backhanded acknowledgment from the NFLPA HQ about loss of hearing from football (a shiny new discount hearing aid program!).
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EDITOR’S NOTE:
This first e-mail was just added on Saturday afternoon:

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Guys,
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A few comments from the notes I took down during the Santa Clara Law Sports Law Symposium:
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I was able to catch De alone for a few minutes outside at the coffee urn. He acted like he didn’t know who I was. Maybe he doesn’t??? In any event, I told him that I would really appreciate the opportunity to sit down with him and discuss disability. He told me to send him an e-mail!
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I received compliments from at least two guys who were amazed that I could hold my tongue during my presentation! I did directly ask him one question in my presentation – and he never answered it. It was about the new neuro-cognitive benefit – which I think is more PR or window dressing than a measure which will actually help any retired players.
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I thought he was taking down a lot of notes during my brief presentation – in fact, one of the audience members said that he was. However, when I looked over at him after I was finished, all I saw on the paper were doodles!
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De was the keynote speaker before our panel – the topic was concussions. However, other than saying that concussions were the NFL’s most significant health issue in the past five years, he did not speak at all about concussions. Rather, he said, “We need a broader discussion on health issues…(including) diabetes and heart disease… (as well as obesity).”
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One former player said that his talk was more like a commencement address, as it was filled with generalities and platitudes: “Our proper goal should be what is right and what is fair.” (Duh!) He also said to be, “…radical in your thoughts, unyielding in your criticism, with the goal of seeking justice.”
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Someone in the audience called out “My cow died!”
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De continued, unfazed, until the guy yelled out again “My cow died!”
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Somewhat rattled, De asked “What do you mean?” To which the heckler replied “I don’t need your bull anymore!”
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Now I can Dig That!
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Not a word about retired players. Not a word about the Legacy fund. Most unfortuately, there was no time for questions and De made a dash for the door with Delvin Williams and Irv Muchnick trying to ask him questions.
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Well, at least he showed up…
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John Hogan
Disability Attorney & Retired Players Advocate
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EDITOR’S NOTE: George Visger caught up with me on the phone this morning just before arriving at a job site. George is back at work trying hard to help his family recover from losing their home after suffering another near-fatal brain shunt failure last October. George is one of the most remarkably intelligent and resilient guys I’ve ever met and his tenacity comes through in everything he does. I often talk to him about what might have happened with his life had he never played professional football and sustained his life-altering brain damage. He starts off with an answer to John Hogan’s earlier post (click HERE to read John Hogan’s comment).
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From TheUnion.com: George Visger, a Grass Valley resident, shows his 1981 San Francisco 49ers team photo and Super Bowl ring. Visger has undergone nine brain surgeries since he stepped off the football field for the final time.

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Posted with the express consent of Irv Muchnick:
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Notes on NFLPA Boss DeMaurice Smith at Santa Clara Sports Law Symposium

Published September 8th, 2011
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Disability Attorney John Hogan is in flight on his way once again to the Second Annual Sports Law Symposium being held at Santa Clara Law campus. This year’s theme will cover Intensifying Sports Law Issues: Concussions, Steroids, Labor Strife and the Use of Player Images. You can visit their Symposium page by clicking HERE. Some of you may recall that DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFLPA, was invited to speak at last year’s Symposium but turned out to be a no-show (for “personal reasons” – you can read that post from last year by clicking HERE). Well, John Hogan and a few other attorneys are also attending this conference with questions in hand on behalf of the retired football players that Mr. Smith is supposed to be representing. Wonder if he’ll have another excuse not to show up again this year? Great example for the current players, DeMaurice: If you don’t like the team you’re playing against, just don’t show up… Guess that’s why they pay you the big bucks.
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Meanwhile, John has taken more time to look over the new CBA and has additional observations to report while in mid-flight. It’s interesting that with so many experts and big mouths over at the NFLPA, the silence is absolutely deafening as we continue to miss one deadline after another on providing more clarification and details on key issues that matter to retired players issues. Here are John’s latest findings:
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I’m on the plane just entering California airspace now. It will be interesting to see if De Smith shows up at the Symposium this year.
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I’ve finally had a chance to read the new CBA disability provisions in greater detail and the best way I can sum them up is that if you haven’t been screwed yet, you might be OK. If you’ve already been screwed, there are no remedial provisions.
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I do not understand the new neuro-cognitive disability benefit or who they expect it will help. You have to be vested; you CAN’T be on LoD or Total-and-Permanent AND you have to be under 55! I guess it might be available for some guys who are still working but who can work with a cognitive impairment? (Other than as a fiduciary of the Plan and/or sitting on the Retirement Board? And even that was part-time work.)
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Also, as I have previously indicated, this $30,000 earnings provision will be more of a problem than a help. Do you realize that $30,000 per year equates to a full-time job at $15 per hour? How many guys who have been (or will be) denied disability because they supposedly could do some simple sedentary work would have been able to find an unskilled sedentary job that paid (or pays) that much? Will they continue to reject disability applications out of hand without finding out some information about the work? If a guy is working, but earning less than $30,000 – will they even process his application?
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John Jogan
Disability Attorney
Retired Football Players Advocate
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Judge Susan Nelson’s court in Minneapolis MN just ordered parties to the earlier enjoined lawsuits to a case management conference on Aug. 10, 2011. What’s interesting to note is that Judge Nelson anticipates ordering all parties to bring participants who have settlement authority to a mediation hearing before Judge Boylan in Federal Court on Aug. 15, 2011.
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Since all the active players’ issues are presumably now settled, it would seem that the only remaining issues to be discussed, negotiated and settled are retired players’ claims.

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We’ve uploaded a copy of both letters to Scribd for easy viewing and to also make them downloadable. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the center of the menu at the bottom of the viewing screen to enlarge it for easier navigation (just hit the ESC key to close):
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Order Setting Case Management Conference and Mediation
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Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner:

THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS
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Fans don’t matter in sports
Monday, 16 May 2011
BY EVAN WEINER
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
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THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS
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And so the National Football League lockout has become a version of the People’s Court. The good guys, the National Football League Players Association, are fighting for workers’ rights and are begging “fans” to help them lift the lockout. The owners, the bad guys, want to take away the players ability to make truckloads of money and are threatening their long term health care. Wait, the players have done such a great job in past collective bargaining agreements that former players lose health benefits five years after their playing careers are done and only if a player has three years in the league.
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The “People’s Court” is now playing in Minneapolis, Minnesota where United States District Judge David Doty is figuring out of the owners owe the players money over how the league managed to negotiate TV contracts to protect that side if in the event of a 2011 lockout. The players are seeking $707 million in damages. The fans will get ZERO if Judge Doty gives the players a monetary award even through a good chunk of that TV money comes from the cable TV subscriber-based ESPN and the satellite pay service DirecTV. In fact a good many people who never watch an NFL game on either ESPN or DirecTV are subsidizing the billions of dollars that ESPN and DirecTV pays the NFL.
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The chances are that Judge David Doty will not address relief for subscribers are great. Fans are not a part of the lockout equation. Cable TV subscribers never received a rebate in 1994 and 1995 when Major League Baseball shutdown the 1994 season and the National Hockey League’s lockout did not end until January leaving cable TV subscribers without a product from mid-September 1994 through January 1995. An awful lot of teams had local cable TV deals in 1994 and 1995 and subscribers were playing for something that they didn’t get. Programming in terms of games which they were charged for. In 1998-99, the National Basketball Association locked out the league players for about 30 games. Not one cable TV subscriber received a penny back for missed games. Interestingly enough the owner of the Golden State Warriors, Chris Cohan, tried to stiff the Oakland Alameda Coliseum Authority and not pay rent at the Oakland Arena during the NBA lockout.
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An earlier e-mail from Bruce Jarvis sent directly to NFLPA Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith:

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Mr. Smith,

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He Said, She Said

17 December 2010

So maybe this is what really happens behind the scenes?
(Click on the RED PLAY  BUTTON)

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Dave -
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I read that earlier post with the article on Fred McNeil (click HERE) and wanted to thank you and Robert once again for the great tireless job you both do on educating everyone about the real world of professional football.
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We’ve discussed this in the past, and after reading more and more posts on your blog from all the players suffering with early symptoms of CTE (short term memory issues, poor judgment, anger management issues, uncontrollable emotions), I would like to reach out to all and compile a database of contacts. I know if we put our collective minds together (or whatever pieces we have that still function), we can share coping mechanisms each of us has learned to live by. I know I have my bag of tricks and would like to share them with everyone.
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I hope Fred McNeil (and others) have looked into some of these fairly simple, non-medicinal rehab/recovery processes; these are a few of the things that get me through each day:
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  1. Look into Workers Compensation. California has been allowing claims to be filed if you were injured while playing in the state, even if it’s not your team’s home state. I successfully sued the 49ers for Workers Comp and won in 1986. Since then, I even used Vocational Rehab to return to school to complete my biology degree (1986 – 1990). They will fight you tooth-and-nail over every penny but be relentless. This isn’t a handout. You paid into Workers Comp and earned every penny!
  2. Sleep apnea exam. Ask your wives or significant others if you show symptoms of very loud snoring and long “pauses” in breathing. Inadequate sleep and loss of oxygen when you skip breathing can cause inflammation of neurons and interfere with everyday reasoning and functioning.
  3. If you drink: QUIT. I discovered I was having brain seizures from alcohol several months after my third brain surgery and quit in 1982. I had been arrested 3X in the 8 prior months after my first surgery! A couple beers may seem OK, but can cause short circuits in the brain’s electrical system.
  4. Look into Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT). I have had great results with my first 80 treatments. I am beginning to suspect my latest deterioration is associated with my last Shunt malfunction a few weeks ago and will be tested for petit mal seizures. Prior to the malfunction and subsequently stopping the hyperbarics, I was doing better than I have for decades.
  5. Omega-3 fish oil. The brain is mainly made of EPA and DHA which makes up Omega-3 fish oils. While the jury may still out on whether the body uses these to repair damaged brain tissue, even if Omega 3′s are not necessarily used to repair neurological tissues, they’re great for reducing cholesterol. We all know what our diets were like to maintain our weights.
  6. Work simple memory games. Even kids’ games. It’s been proven that you can “exercise your brain” and grow new neurons into areas of the brain which are not damaged. Humans use less than 10% of their brains. Get those brain cells currently sitting on the sidelines into the game!
  7. Change your routines. If you always brush your teeth with your right hand, start using your left. Shake hands with the opposite hand. Changes out of the ordinary force you to concentrate on simple tasks, which in turn causes your brain to construct new neurons into areas of the brain which aren’t being used.
  8. Stay positive. It’s been scientifically proven that if you think you’ll get better, you’ll function better. Something good always comes out of everything and we’re being tested for a reason.
  9. Get mad. It’s time we quit accepting the fact we are used, discarded pieces of meat when the NFL is done with us and it’s time to kick the owners right in the teeth to get their attention. That means hitting them where it hurts – in the pocket book. And to do that, we need our stories out there to get public support. We all need to be forgiving but anger is not a bad thing if used constructively. Let’s use it to motivate ourselves to be proactive.
  10. Don’t be shy. Get your stories out there. In the last year or so since I discovered Dave’s Blog, I have reached out to media and sent in comments on any articles related to football injuries, traumatic brain injuries etc. every chance I get. We need to let the public know what’s going on. Without public support, we’re just a few thousand “millionaire crybabies” in the public’s eyes. Remember: It’s the public who buys the tickets, pays for cable and supports the greedy owners. What we have done up to now hasn’t worked.
  11. Keep plugged into Dave Pear’s Blog. Reach out to as many other discarded NFL players, college players, coaches etc. There’s strength in numbers and a wealth of information to share here. Just knowing that others are dealing with the same issues I’ve had for years has been huge for me. We were all indoctrinated into the mindset that real men/players don’t bitch about their problems. Everyone has a cross to bear. They’re much easier to carry when some of your brothers hoist up a corner.

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