. 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): .
We just received a copy of the NFL Neuro-Cognitive Benefit application form. Attorney John Hogan had discussed some of the issues and problems with this plan at our 2012 Independent Football Players Conference last April (we’ve attached his video to the bottom of this post). John’s early observations on the new Plan and programs are in the first half of his discussion. . NOTE: Be sure to look at Pages 2, 4 and 5 in this application. Here’s a clip from Page 2(click to enlarge for easier viewing): . . You can read our earlier post that includes an outline of the new Planby clickingHERE.
And a fresh observation from disability attorney John Hogan: . I now have an additional comment or two: If you seek the counsel of an attorney regarding this and he or she thinks you fully understand it, and they recommend you sign it, please send me their name and address so I might look into a legal malpractice claim! Assuming a guy might be eligible for this benefit, I would want the medical opinion of a Board-certified mental health professional indicating that the guy understands it! If you don’t seek the opinion of an attorney, and sign it, and qualify for the benefit because you have a significant cognitive impairment, I would think you could later assert that you did not have the required mental capacity to knowingly and intelligently waiving your right to sue for other benefits. . Also, will the examination they send you to evaluate whether they think you understand the waiver of rights? (Another possible malpractice action – or even a crime: A doctor giving legal advice or a lawyer giving medical advice?) This is all rather incredible to me. . We uploaded a copy of this Application to Scribd for easy viewing on our Blog 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): .continue reading »
. In one of the most public displays of just how far the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan and its overpaid NFL lawyers will go after a retired player during the process to access his earned disability benefits, US District Court Judge Ellen Hollander (District of Maryland) submitted her final 39-page ruling that very clearly details the many violations and fuzzy interpretations that the Plan and its lawyers have used over the years. Jimmie Giles (1977 – 1989: Oilers, Buccaneers, Lions, Eagles) had originally been awarded his Inactive Total & Permanent benefits (now called Inactive B) and the Plan and the NFL’s lawyers chose to aggressively deny his claim for Football Degenerative Total & Permanent benefits (now called Inactive A – got that?), leading to disability attorney John Hogan’s appeal on Jimmie’s behalf. The NFL’s law firm, Groom Law Group, publicly displayed some of the most egregious abuses of power and personal attacks on behalf of the Plan – all in their normal course of business-as-usual. At one point, they even tried to use the fact that Jimmie was “overweight” and it was pointed out to them that Jimmie’s teams had certainly never considered him overweight in his position as a tight end during his entire career! The Plan had been amended a few years ago to automatically accept an applicant’s Social Security designation as being Disabled, yet they continued to question and argue Jimmie’s actual “disability” going so far as to declare him still able to do “sedentary work” – as was also the case in Dave’s (and many others’) disability applications over the years. And their own Plan (the lawyers’) Questionnaire to their “neutral doctors” also continues to ask if a player was totally disabled as the Judge noted in her ruling. . It’s been a long wait for Jimmie and his family as they struggled to make ends meet during this drawn-out appeals process that dragged on through the summer after a lockout, a new CBA and everything else that went by over the past two years. But Judge Hollander appears to have taken a very thorough approach to address each of the arguments posed against Jimmie’s already well-documented case. (We uploaded a copy of this final ruling below as soon as it was available.) . One interesting observation: Jimmie Giles’ so-called Union, the NFLPA, has been nowhere to be seen at any time during Jimmie’s entire application process. No offers of assistance – legal or financial – during what has probably been the most difficult period of his life. In fact, the three alleged “retired players representatives” on the Disability Board had to have voted unanimously against Jimmie’s claim in lockstep with the three owners’ representatives in order for this case to drag out this far. Why has each member of the Board never been held accountable or sued for their ill-informed rulings? Would any AFL/CIO retiree in a REAL Union ever expect to be subjected to such an abuse of employees’ rights? . The ruling is posted on 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): . Jimmie Giles vs Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan Final Ruling .
Concussion coverage continues to take center stage in mid-season as ESPN keeps digging deeper into the contradictory position the League continued to take on the long-term damages of brain injuries from a career in football. Mark Fainaru-Wada reports on the findings of a joint ESPN Outside the Lines and PBS Frontline investigation. Dave’s concussion lawsuit attorney Jason Luckasevic was part of a discussion panel with ESPN’s Outside the Lines this past Friday – here’s the audio: .
. And here’s an earlier OTL video from back in February 2012 with background on the growing concussion lawsuits being filed: .
. Then there’s a very recent clip from ESPN discussing the “smoking gun” that could damage the NFL’s claims of ignorance about concussions even as the Disability Board unanimously approved three disability claims based on concussion injuries suffered by players – all while denying the majority of similar claims by publicly disavowing any connection of long-term damages from concussions and brain injuries. Hall of Famer Mike Webster is the most prominent of those three approved claims with a $1.8 million settlement to his estate after giving the NFL and its Disability Plan a sound beating in the appeals process. .
. And the article from Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada at ESPN: .
. Many of you may remember Andrew Stewart’s disability case that took nearly two years to get to court after it was first filed in 2010. They won the case resoundingly in June of this year, topped with a scathing ruling from Judge William Quarles who presided over the entire hearing. You may even recall the doctor the NFL called in to do a second opinion on Andrew’s injuries when they weren’t happy with the first doctor that they also chose. Without so much as seeing Andrew or reviewing his x-rays, he declared Andrew’s injuries to be totally unrelated to football. Then in the last paragraph, he reminds the Plan to send him another $500 check for his additional “review.”(You can read all of our earlier posts covering his case by clickingHERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.) FOX Sports A.J. Perez also covered the ruling in an article from June written right after the case closed: .
Last Friday, the NFLPA wrote a sanctimonious letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell regarding their indignation over the League’s use of replacement referees in this new season. The NFLPA has continued to whittle away at retirees’ benefits and rights with each passing agreement all while trying to point out what a great job they did for retirees – and let’s not forget overlooking the widows – in the new CBA. Their hypocrisy deserves a cynical and sarcastic response for all the Union’s whining after the CBA was signed (and let’s not forget that DeMaurice Smith was bragging about what a terrific deal he had cut right after it was signed last year; it earned him a new multimillion dollar contract and bonus). . So we’ve reproduced the NFLPA’s letter below (on the left) and written a similar letter back to him – and the NFL – on behalf of retired players (on the right). Enjoy!Click on each image to enlarge for easier reading and printing. . . . .
Some bits-and-pieces of information that have come in, starting with an interesting observation from disability attorney John Hogan (if anyone has heard anything about these reps on disability improvements, please feel free to let us know): . Article 61, Sec. 5 of the new CBA, which became effective over a year ago, provided for “further disability improvements” and that each side would appoint representatives not later than October 31, 2011 to consider these further improvements. I have no idea who was appointed and I have no idea if they have even met. Perhaps more importantly, no one we know has heard from ANY retired player who might have been consulted on what further improvements are needed. .
======================================== . At Sean Pamphilon’s movie preview in Pittsburgh last week, Dave also had the opportunity to spend a bit of time with Leonard Marshall (1983 – 1994: New York Giants, New York Jets, Washington Redskins). Leonard’s book When the Cheering Stops: Bill Parcells, the 1990 New York Giants, and the Price of Greatness (co-authored with journalist William Bendetson) was released this past spring and provides a unique inside view of football from his days on the field interwoven with intimate stories about life after the game off the field. Here are two of Leonard’s interviews from last spring: .
EDITOR’S NOTE: Now that some of the dust has settled from the fallout of George Martin’s 2-year tenure as Executive Director of the NFL Alumni, there are a lot of questions still left unanswered. Attorney John Hogan was an active advocate from the earliest stages of what started with the best of intentions. We’re also going ahead with including John Hogan and Dave’s discussion on Disability from the recent IFV Conference held in April in Vegas. The video is at the bottom of this post.
An Open Letter to the NFL and Retired Players Regarding the Alumni
Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner: THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS .
Tuesday, 15 May 2011 . BY EVAN WEINER NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM COMMENTARY .
Steve Bartkowski wikipedia
Steve Bartkowski, a newly elected member of the National Football Foundation’s College Hall of Fame, is one of hundreds of former National Football League players who are suing their former employers for what best can be described as negligence for allegedly not telling league employees, the players, of the possible long time impact on the body of playing football. Bartkowski, who played with the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams between 1975 and 1985, has an assortment of ailments that came from playing. . Bartkowski “signed up” for the lawsuit for family reasons although the suicide of a former teammate Ray Easterling in April may have played a role. . “I signed up basically for my wife,” said Bartkowski. “I just don’t want her having to wheel my chair towards the sunset so I can watch it set. I am more concerned about her and her quality of life if things should take a turn for the worst. I mean I got dinged as many times probably a lot of these other guys.” . Bartkowski looks physically good for a man of about 60. But he has many scars from playing the game. . “I think for the first time we are starting to see some of the effects, the long term effects. The game. I don’t know if we tracked injuries like they are tracking them now. And I think we have some evidence that people can point to and say this is what has happened,” said Bartkowski. “I am all for trying to make the game safer for guys who are playing or at least make them aware of what some of the long-term sort of debilitating effects can be. . “What have I got? Well, I got two knees replaced after nine operations. I am sure there are some other things that are approaching. I have a bad hip, I got a left elbow that doesn’t work very good anymore. But I think we know what we sign up for. It is a physical game. You are in a car wreck every weekend that you play in and sometimes multiple car wrecks, so it’s part of the issue. I hope it doesn’t end up shaping the game going forward but I do hope the guys who need help get it from the appropriate sources.” . The “appropriate sources” should start with the National Football League Players Association since benefits are collectively bargained between the owners and players. The NFLPA did a rotten job protecting the membership’s long-term future by asking for “Money Now” in 1982 and has always been more concerned about money than long time health issues. The players played games on awful surfaces in places like Philadelphia and Houston yet that didn’t seem to be a concern of the NFLPA. . “I think so (referring to both the NFL owners and the NFLPA), those are the guys that are driving the bus on this,” said Bartkowski. “I think the NFL has acknowledged that there are some long tern effects from the game and I think that is the reason for some of the safety measures that Commissioner (Roger) Goodell is trying to implement and sort of evolved the game.” . Players from Bartkowski’s era got as much as five years of medical benefits after they were cut or retired. Some of the Bartkowski era players are now living in the United States safety net and receive Social Security Disability Insurance and are on Medicare long before their 65th birthday. . “I don’t think we even got five (years) when I was playing, it may be that now,” he recalled. . “The new collective bargaining agreement, I think, covers a lot more than what the old one did.” . So who is responsible for the care of the discarded players? . “That’s a great question,” said Bartkowski. “I think the major thing in the (law)suit was how much did the NFL know about the concussion issue and when did they know it? I think that to me is really the issue. If there were guys out there doing the head banging and didn’t know the long term effects could cause early onset dementia and some of the other things that we are seeing out there in the retired player community, I think somebody is liable for that I would think. Not only the player when he signs his contract, when he signs up for that sort of a violent sport but at the same time the issue is what did they know and when did they know it?” . Bartkowski played with Ray Easterling for three years in Atlanta between 1975 and 1977. Eastlerling shot himself to death in April. Two former NFL players Easterling and Junior Seau committed suicide within a month of one another. . Easterling was 62 and seemed to have the same physical and mental health issues that face many former players. Reportedly he suffered from depression and insomnia. He underwent 25 different surgeries and had a hip replacement. In March 2011, Easterling was diagnosed with dementia in March 2011. . “I had a former teammate of mine who was in the early stages of dementia, Ray Easterling. He just decided he wasn’t going to put his family through it and he ended up taking his own life” said Bartkowski. “I watched Ray going downhill. He was one of the hardest hitting guys. He never backed down on a drill and never backed down on a Sunday afternoon. He was a great teammate but I don’t think he had any idea what he was sacrificing later on in the latter stages of his life. . “I talked to him, he asked me to write a letter in support of his case and I just looked at his chronology of his slide down the hill and was happy to write the letter and say what I saw. Ray was one of the smartest, sharpest guys that I ever teed it up with so to speak and to watch him where he couldn’t carry on a conversation was very difficult.” . Memory loss is a common thread in the discarded players’ community. . “I’ve got some of that too,” said Bartkowski. “It is hard for me to remember a lot of things.” . The lawsuits have been filed, consolidated and will eventually go to court. Nothing is going to be settled anytime soon but the game of football figures to be put on trail. . “I’m sure it will,” said Bartkowski of how long the lawsuit may take before it is finally settled. “There are extenuating circumstances in all these different cases. But I think if it does nothing more than move the game to safer turf and safer territory for the guys who love it and would have played it if they didn’t get paid to play it. I was one of those guys, I loved the thrill of Sunday afternoon and being out there and playing with the boys. I didn’t know what the long term effects might be and didn’t really care about them at that point in time. . “If we can make the game safer and make it a little more easier on you in your twilight years then I am all for that.” .
Evan Weiner, the winner of the United States Sports Academy’s 2010 Ronald Reagan Media Award, is an author, radio-TV commentator and speaker on “The Politics of Sports Business.” His book, “The Business and Politics of Sports, Second Edition” is available at www.bickley.com or amazonkindle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . .
On Sunday, the Denver Post published an article and interview I did last week with sports journalist, Terry Frei. Over the course of our conversation which mostly covered the issues of injuries and concussions and the subsequent consequences of the League’s general attitude of denial at all levels. (A link to that article is at the bottom of this post.) At one point in our conversation, I told Terry, “The concussion issue, if not handled right, has the potential to end football.” (My emphasis.) What I did NOT say was that the concussion issue would end football. No sooner than Terry’s article was posted, then the other media and bloggers immediately re-wrote the story and started to misquote me. The worst misquote? NFL.com with this headline: Ex-player Dave Pear says concussion issue could end NFL. Not really what I said at all. . Most of our readers know that my long battle has always been about legal and open access to OUR earned pension and disability benefits. And any resolution on concussions will need to address three separate groups of players: Past, Present and Future. (By the way, you might remember that this slogan used to be on all our NFLPA membership cards.) Each of the retired players who played will need to have direct access to their benefits that should include testing and treatments from their football-related concussions and brain damage, as well as access to assisted care and monitoring in later years. There is no doubt that most of the earlier players from the 50′s and 60′s were not given the safest equipment during their playing careers. It was even more about the money back then than it is today – just ask the men who played on the original hard surfaces of Astro Turf about the toll it took on their bodies and their heads. All for the savings the owners made from not having to maintain real turf. And they went on strike in the late 50′s and early 60′s not for more money but to make the owners pay for their uniforms and equipment. . For the present-day players, the addition of independent neurologists on the sidelines certainly helps, along with better-defined rules to ensure that concussed players don’t return to the game unless cleared by experts (no more Dr. No’s). Many of the new rules are a good step in the right direction. Newer treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) are being shown to shorten recovery while helping with healing to the damage that concussions leave behind. Even if owners are more concerned about profits, the ROI on getting a million-dollar-a-year asset back on the field in half the normal time makes pure business sense. And while the League is at it, a great PR move would be to allow retired players free access to these hyperbaric chambers when they’re not being used by the team. . For future players, any improvements in the rules and knowledge gained from players past and present can only serve to provide them with a much safer game while still preserving the game of football as we know and love it. But if we’re going to save football, players from the past, present and future will need to work together in order to help protect each other first. Current and future players owe the retired players a priceless debt for the sacrifices they paid with their bodies and brains – as well as the long years of denial – to get to this point where there is finally a serious discussion on something that affects us all. The players of the future will surely also benefit from the way the game is shaped for today’s players. .
Ex-NFL player Dave Pear seeks to change league policy on concussions
We just received another note from retired player and attorney Bob Stein with more clarification on the Legacy Fund Benefits. Many of you will already be familiar with Bob as one of the lead attorneys for the Dryer vs. NFL (Films) lawsuit. Dave also received a memo from Joe Browne out of the NFL offices that contains an interesting note about your Legacy Fund benefits as well as a proposal for widows that has apparently been on the table awaiting an answer from… yes – you guessed it: Your Union. Please call or write your Union to let them know they need to get off their collective butts and DO THE RIGHT THING! Pay the widows NOW! . We’ll start off with Bob Stein’s notes: .
May 8, 2012 . To: Fellow Retired NFL Players From: Bob Stein RE: Legacy Benefit .
Men, . I spoke to the NFL Player Benefits (“Plan”) office yesterday and got what I think is some clarity on two more issues regarding the Legacy Benefit which have many retired players confused. I am passing the conversation notees along in hopes of helping. . Bob Stein . LEGACY BENEFIT INFORMATION . While I cannot provide legal advice on this matter, I would like to pass along the information I received by telephone on May 7, 2012 from the NFL Player Benefits Office for other retired players waiting for Legacy Benefit payments or wondering about their status. . 1. Players currently receiving NFL Disability payments – I was told these players would receive only THE GREATER OF: . a) the amount of monthly disability payment they currently receive; OR . b) the total of monthly pension payment they would now qualify for based on years of service, etc. plus the monthly Legacy Benefit they would qualify for under the 2011 CBA. . They made it clear you only receive whichever monthly amount is greater. So players whose current disability payment is greater than the total of (b) would receive NO additional payment from the Legacy Benefit in the new CBA. . 2. Players who assigned all or part of their pension benefits to an ex-spouse in their divorce: . I was told each of these situations would be reviewed individually by Plan attorneys and actuaries to see what payment rights that individual player’s divorce decree language assigned to his ex-spouse. Since the language on what divorce obligations are continuing can be different for every decree, based on what was agreed to or awarded by the court, the Plan advisors must go through them individually to see what should go to each ex-spouse and each player. . I hope this information helps clarify some remaining Legacy Benefit issues. The number of the NFL Player Benefits Office is (800) 638-3186. . And some of what was relayed to retirees from the NFL Offices today: .
Dear Retired Player: . The following items may interest you: . 1. Attached is a four-page summary of the recent record-based study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of all retirees who played in the NFL for at least five seasons from 1959 through 1988. We previewed this study in the most recent NFL RETIRED PLAYER NEWS that was emailed to you on April 24. NIOSH also sent via regular mail a copy of this same information to the 3,439 players whose records were used for the study. .
2. More than 250 retirees who had been waiting to hear from the Pension Benefit office in Baltimore regarding their Legacy payments were mailed information on their individual cases in recent weeks. One of the last group of retirees to receive information will be those players who have QDROs and also receive Disability Benefits. Also, the 320 widows and other beneficiaries of vested pre-93 players who died prior to the 2011 CBA being signed still are awaiting word from the NFLPA regarding those Legacy benefits. The league is on record as stating it will pay 51% of the costs for the widows benefit if the NFLPA pays the balance. . 3. The NFL Alumni Association announced over this past weekend at a Board meeting in Arizona the resignation of Executive Director George Martin, who had served in that post since October, 2009. Ex-Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik, who serves as the non-salaried President of the Alumni Association, also will act as interim Executive Director until a full time successor is named. . Incidentally, the Association’s annual Super Bowl of Golf, which matches winning teams from all local Alumni chapters, was held in conjunction with the Board meeting and was won by a team led by ex-Bears quarterback Jim McMahon. Congratulations. . 4. All of us in the NFL family mourn the death of NFL great Junior Seau last week. There will be a private memorial service and burial this Friday, May 11 in Oceanside, California followed by a public memorial that same night at QualComm Stadium, the home of the Chargers and site for many of Junior’s on-the field heroics. . Joe Browne . Senior Advisor to the Commissionercontinue reading »
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thurs. May 9, 2012 10:40 pm PST . Uploaded complete 896-page study to Scribd ; go to bottom of this post to read. . How many of you even remember that way back in 1991, the Dept. of Health & Human Services sent out questionnaires to a large group of us retired NFL football players who played professionally since 1959? The study was to verify or counter a popular belief at the time that retired football players had shorter life spans. Like myself, many of you have also confirmed that you were told years ago to take your pensions early as you would not survive past the age of 55. It meant that your pension checks were discounted for taking early retirement but – based on a false interpretation of a so-called law by management that included those at the highest levels – it also disqualified those who took their pensions from receiving disability benefits as well. You can read about how Gene Upshaw had his words handed back to him in this early article from Michael Leahy in the Washington Post (Feb. 2008): Click HERE to read that article with attorney Lanny Davis’ answer. You can also read about how even Johnny Unitas was cheated out of his earned – and badly-needed – disability benefits by his own Union: Click HERE to read that post. . Here’s a copy of the original letter from HHS in 1991. (We uploaded a copy of the original letter as well as the recent correspondence to Scribd for viewing and to make it downloadable. You can also click the Fullscreen button to enlarge it for easier navigation – just hit the EXIT FULLSCREEN button key to close): . 1991 Dept HHS Letter RE: NFL Football Players . Dept of HHS NFL Study . What’s not covered in this study that took over 20 years to complete? Concussions, brain injuries and long-term effects. While some of us may be happy to now hear that we’re going to be living longer, for too many of our families already seeing the memory loss and symptoms of dementia in many of you, this means that you may end up in need of longer assisted care than the average male. Small pensions, little or no access to disability benefits and the prospect of expensive long-term care for those with declining mental capacity. Sounds like one more heads-we-win-tails-you-lose proposition from the NFLPA and the NFL. Again. . May 9, 2012 • Here’s the entire 896-page study from the NIOHS: . Complete NIOHS NFL Study .
Big-time pollen alerts across the country! Jennifer and her daughter are recovering from severe allergies this week, so we’re going ahead and posting up the PowerPoints from some of the discussions at our Second Independent Football Veterans Conference. Sorry for the delays in getting everything posted quickly – we thank everyone for their patience and understand how many of you who couldn’t attend are anxiously awaiting the videos so you can catch up on what you missed. All our best to Jennifer and her daughter for a speedy recovery! . Without a doubt, the most requested videos and Powerpoints have certainly been for our panel on concussions and the lawsuits filed against the NFL and Riddell. Jason Luckasevic from Goldberg Persky White filed one of the first concussion lawsuits on behalf of retired football players. To date, his firm is also one of the few to include Riddell the helmet manufacturer – “Official Helmet of the NFL” – as a responsible party. Richard Lewis from Hausfeld LLP joined Jason on the panel last Saturday morning to present his firm’s decisions leading up to filing their concussion suit. . Please keep two things in mind: There are many capable and qualified attorneys representing plaintiffs in the concussion litigation. Please speak to those you choose to make sure your potential claim is evaluated promptly. The other issue discussed at the Conference was a potential statute of limitation specifically related to this round of concussion lawsuits. This means you may have to sign up with a representative firm soon before the filing period expires. More on this shortly from one of the attorneys involved in this suit. . Feel free to call Jason or Rich directly with any questions you may have regarding your own concussion concerns – each of them has agreed to make themselves available to talk to our readers: . Jason Luckasevic • Goldberg Persky White (412) 338-9460 . Richard Lewis • Hausfeld LLP (202) 540-7200 . You can view each slideshow full screen by clicking on the FullScreen icon in the lower right corner of each slide screen (press ESC to close the slideshow).
Thanks to our friend, Jennifer Thibeaux, we have a great collection of photographs from our well-attended Second Annual Independent Football Veterans Conference held April 20 – 22 2012 at The South Point Resort in Las Vegas. Videos and PowerPoints to follow shortly! .
Here’s the slideshow from flickr (there’s an enlarge button in the lower right hand corner of the slideshow screen if you want to view our slideshow fullscreen; just hit ESC to close fullscreen mode): .
First of all, we want to thank every one of our readers for their patience. We’ve been intentionally quiet in holding back until the last minute to announce more about our Second Annual Independent Football Veterans Conference coming up this weekend in Las Vegas. A lot of our readers have been checking in and many of you (friends and others) have been anxiously looking for more details on our panel discussion topics. .
As many of you already know, this year we’ve decided to use discussion panels to cover a wider range of topics that are most important to retired football players. While individual speakers have been informative, as these topics become more complex and wider-ranging, the retired player community needs even more timely and detailed information from as many expert sources as possible. We’ve done our best using this blog to convey the latest information on everything that’s important to each of you. Now we’re going to kick it up another notch or two again. Last year, we hosted our First Conference and all of the proceedings were videotaped and made available online. This year, we’re going to create a studio-like setting with panels to discuss all those topics you want to hear about and to take questions from our audience at large. Each topic will be broadcast like a television talk show and after our Conference, we’ll professionally edit them down for online viewing as well. .
Lawsuits! We have too many to keep track of this year. From the original Eller and Gault lawsuits filed against the League and the NFLPA during the lockout to all those concussion lawsuits to the lawsuits filed against the NFL and NFL Films. We’ll have several shows to address the latest information and details that so many of you want to know. Confused about all those concussion lawsuits you’ve been hearing about almost daily? Sick and tired of the ‘Join me, Join me’ groups all wanting you to sign up with them? Wondering who you should really sign with and why? We’re going to hear from the top firms leading the charge and from some of the retired players on why they chose the firms they did. And maybe why you might want to re-consider who you’ve signed with! .
Concussions! We’ll have Dr. Kristen Willeumier from the Amen Clinics to tell you all about their most recent studies on concussions as well as some of their latest findings and ways to help your improve brain. And we’ll also have the top specialists with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to tell you about their latest studies and their lobbying efforts to bring this life-changing therapy into the mainstream. You’ll even be able to see one of the units that many of the current players have bought for their personal use. .
And while we’re at it, we’re going to have a show on the culture of football, from college through to the professional Leagues. With the NFL still doing damage-control from Bountygate, who better to have talk about it than documentary maker Sean Pamphilon? Sean will be joined by attorneys who are currently involved with suing Electronic Arts on behalf of NCAA athletes who have never been paid for the use of their images and statistics in Electronic Arts video games in past years. Does that sound familiar? And they’re still doing it today to retired players! .
And while we’re on the topic of not getting paid for playing football, you’ll also be getting an update on the NFL Films lawsuit. The Beatles get paid every time their songs get played on the radio or for every CD sold or for a download of their songs. Authors get paid for every copy of a book they sell. You pay for your movies when you watch them on HBO. And we all pay extra to the cable and satellite companies for all those sports channels that many of us don’t even watch. So why are retired football players the only guys who don’t get paid every time the NFL and NFL Films sells a classic DVD of one of your old games? At $30 – $50 a pop, there’s plenty of money to go around – where’s it all going? .
How about all the latest on Workers’ Compensation? It looks like the NFL is now trying some nasty new tricks to cut retired players off from receiving their earned Workers’ Comp claims now as well. Hear all about your rights and what you can do about getting your case reviewed and filed in our special show about Workers Comp from some of the people with the most successful rates. .
And how about that Legacy Fund that was supposedly negotiated by a Union that was de-certified last year? And then re-certified with retired players’ new benefits mysteriously negotiated and finalized as part of the new CBA? And did you know that there were $100′s of millions more that was also supposed to have offered by the League directly to retirees? Seems it was already “redistributed” by your friendly Union. All while saying nothing about standing up for widows who will receive absolutely no increases from the Legacy Fund. Never mind that many of you haven’t even received your “new” benefits yet long after the CBA was signed, Roger Goodell got his new $10 – $20 million contract, De Smith got his bonus and a new contract and… football season is now over! And NO Legacy Checks yet! We’ll have show to discuss that as well as to answer your questions on your rights under federal law for pensions and disability benefits. We’ll even have people who heard it directly from Commissioner Goodell about that “other” benefit money the owners offered during the final negotiations. .
Like they say, “STAY TUNED!” Here’s comes IFV-TV for retired football players! Broadcasting monthly soon! . EDITOR’S NOTE: Our attendees will make up the small studio audience joined by our larger audience online. For those of you able to sign up and attend, we’ll also be hosting a movie night on Friday night with a cash bar and a sponsored dinner for each of our attendees and panelists on Saturday evening. For those of you arriving on Thursday afternoon, watch for an announcement on where our Thursday evening mixer, meet-and-greet will be held in the South Point. . . .