Your Opt Out Opt Out Options?

18 September 2013

obfuscation
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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, REALLYREALLY meant to Opt Out. We’re officially calling this the NFL Films Opt Out Opt Out Form.
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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.
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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).
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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?
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3 stooges footballA new copy of Hausfeld’s “The Voice” went out yesterday with a copy of Judge Magnuson’s order from the week before. We posted that order in an earlier post - click HERE to read the Judge’s full order from Sept. 6th. And once again as expected, more misinformation. Their latest newsletter tries to take Jason Luckasevic, Jason Shipp, Bob Stein and Hagens Berman to task by only stating that Judge Magnuson had ordered those parties to “dismiss their lawsuits” (until this phase is resolved). Full Translation: While the judge was not pleased with the timing of the suits, the Culp vs NFL Films and Tatum vs NFL Films lawsuits will be voluntarily dismissed by their respective attorneys “Without Prejudice.” In other words, those suits are only withdrawn temporarily and can be re-filed again at a future date. They are NOT being thrown out permanently by the courts.
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Bite at AppleIn 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.
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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.
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Empty walletWe’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. .

YOU MUST OPT OUT NOW! ONLY ONE WEEK LEFT!

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“In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

– George Orwell

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DecisionsAt the request of pre-1993 former NFL players, I have decided to write an opinion regarding certain matters pertaining to the settlement offer proposed in the pending lawsuit dealing with NFL Films. Based on the information provided through Dave Pear’s Blog, I have drafted the following opinion.
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There has been a recent Settlement offer by the NFL in litigation regarding NFL Films. The terms of the offer are supposed to satisfy a class of retired players who have exerted their right to take legal action on the issue of the infringement of their names, likenesses and images. The six original named plaintiffs have rejected the settlement offer. The class of plaintiffs they represented, however, has yet to decide whether the terms of the agreement are understandable and justifiable and whether there are any hidden, unacceptable implications lurking in the language of the agreement.
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Too Important Not to Post

13 August 2013

bad lawyerHow timely. This article just came out in the New York Times yesterday. In all too many cases, you merely have to change the names of the lawyers and it all ends up the same story. We had to post this up to remind everyone to Opt Out NOW!
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NYTimes logo

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Most retired players and fans remember Fred Dryer (NY Giants, LA Rams 1969 – 1981). As the original lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the NFL and NFL Films, Fred and the other five co-plaintiffs have watched as the lawsuit was diverted from their original goal of finally getting back visual and image rights for ALL retired players after decades of unauthorized and uncompensated use by the League. Fred did a recent interview on SBNation’s Uffsides with host Matt Ufford.
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hot summerEDITOR’S NOTE: September looks like it’s probably going to be a very hot month for the NFL, with two important hearings in two separate lawsuits.
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All objections and Opt Outs against the NFL Films Settlement offer have to be filed by August 30, 2013 and the hearing will be on September 19 in Minneapolis MN. Mark your calendars.
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Last Monday, Judge Anita Brody ordered the NFL and the retired players in the concussion lawsuits into mediation and appointed a mediator, retired US District Court Judge Layn Phillips. As you’ll see in the copy of the order issued below, there is now a gag order preventing all parties from publicly disclosing any details of the mediation discussions. What’s interesting to note is that the judge did not acknowledge the CBA and the NFL’s argument for arbitration.
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Objections against the NFL Films Settlement offer have been arriving at the court in Minnesota. Here are a couple of recent examples.
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Jed WeaverFormer tight end and Super Bowl champion (New England Patriots 2004) Jed Weaver’s letter to the court objecting to NFL Films settlement:
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“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!”
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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.
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And we found an earlier objection filed by Pete Banaszak (Oakland Raiders 1966 – 1978) which we’ve posted up to Scribd:
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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.
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Cheaties
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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.

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Peanuts Not AgainDave,
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Here are my thoughts and decisions related to the Publicity Rights settlement proposal.
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I have decided to exclude myself from the proposed settlement for the following reasons:
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1. I detest the emotional extortion or guilt built into the settlement.
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2. What will I receive in exchange? More over-branded NFL charity? Still waiting for clarity on this issue.
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3. The math bothers me. Let’s see: $50 million minus $13 million for the NFL’s exclusion legal fees minus $7 million for attorneys’ fees minus fees to Jim Brown and others minus Board operating costs, minus each charities’ expense ratio of approximately 35% = Just peanuts for retired players.
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bridge-for-saleWell, it’s been over a week since we were last threatened by Dan Gustafson’s office. And the paperwork citing your options has now gone out to all those retired players that can be located. At least that’s what one would hope. At this stage – considering everything we’ve seen from those who continue to promote the NFL Films Settlement Offer as the best thing retired players can possibly expect from the NFL – we now stand more committed than ever to openly declaring our opposition to this Settlement. And we stand against it for even more reasons than before. The actions and words of those who would want to silence any who would even express any opposition or opinions speaks volumes. And while they would question the statements of those who oppose their position, these same basic questions remain unanswered by Gustafson, Hausfeld or Zimmerman:
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  • Can you name one retired player who will actually be receiving a direct payment as a result of this “historic” agreement? And how much he can expect to receive?
  • Will each retired player be giving up his identity rights forever to the NFL under this Settlement? And what – if anything – is the NFL actually giving up or paying for your rights?
  • How is this new licensing agency going to be any different – and better – from what the NFL Alumni was supposed to do under George Martin when they actually had access to the NFL shield and logo AND $5 million to run a licensing agency?

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U.S. Coins and Paper MoneySo here we go again. We received a 6-page letter from Dan Gustafson of Gustafson Gluek PLLC with an additional 33-page attachment from the long-winded proposed Settlement Offer in the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit. Rather than attaching the selected portions that came with the letter, you can read the original 21-page Preliminary Court Approval - click HERE – and you can look up pages 82 – 93 of the Settlement Offer on an earlier post – click HERE.
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We’ve uploaded a copy of the letter from Gustafson 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):

Gustafson Gluek Letter to Dave Pear

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ADDITIONAL NOTE – ADDED MAY 29, 2013: We received a letter from attorney Dan Gustafson late yesterday and have made some editorial changes as marked in our post below along with important questions that continue to go unanswered. Read the new post with the letter from Gustafson Gluek by clicking HERE.
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Mad As HellEDITOR’S NOTE: At our recent Conference, we covered the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit and subsequent Settlement Offer from the NFL. Our first day had attorney Yakub Hazzard explaining some of the basics of your individual rights (click HERE for that video). Then on Saturday, we had Ron Mix putting up the case in favor of the proposed Settlement (click HERE) followed by attorney Michael Ciresi with a legal opinion against the deal (click HERE) and Fred Dryer as a retired player and original plaintiff on why he and his original team of plaintiffs are against the Settlement (click HERE). Insomuch as there was a gag order placed on all parties directly involved during the hearings in Minnesota Federal Court, we did our best to report on as much of the proceedings and behind-the-scenes maneuvering as possible.
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We need to remind everyone once again that when the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit was first filed in 2009, its original – and primary – goal was to provide fair payment to retired players for the NFL’s past, present and future use of their publicity rights, particularly in NFL Films productions. Here’s a simple outline based on what was discussed at the IFV Conference this year:
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PRESENT LAWSUIT STATUS
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On April 5, 2013 the Court issued an Order for Preliminary Approval of the proposed Settlement as advocated by the NFL and some new Plaintiffs and their attorneys. Immediately, the NFL PR machine promoted it publicly as a done deal. Far from it. The actual Order directs that a Notice of the proposal be sent in May to the entire class – that’s you and all past NFL players – for consideration. If the proposed Settlement receives Final Approval from the Court in September, each NFL player who does not opt out will be legally bound by its terms. But now the real battle begins.
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The original lawsuit against NFL Films was filed with Fred Dryer as the original lead plaintiff with Elvin Bethea, Jim Marshall, Joe Senser, Dan Pastorini and Ed White joining him early in the process. Bob Stein and Tom Ward were the original attorneys working with Fred Dryer. Naturally, Bob Stein and Tom Ward are excluded from any attorney fees (as are the original six plaintiffs) by the NFL group that includes Hausfeld LLP, Zimmerman & Reed and Gustafson Gluek, all for having the gall to ask for what the NFL really owes ALL NFL players: Money.
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In this third part of our discussion. Fred makes a strong and passionate argument against the current Settlement Offer as presented and endorsed by the NFL and a separate group of retired players as recruited by Hausfeld and Zimmerman and the NFL. Questions were allowed during the discussion and you will hear the overwhelming objections from the audience to the NFL’s “final” Offer. And the Original Six Plaintiffs were all present or represented at our Conference (Jim Marshall’s wife managed to attend on his behalf and you can see her asking one of the questions from the audience). And as we pointed out earlier, it’s interesting that the so-called solid majority of other players and attorneys on the side of the NFL Settlement Offer could not muster one single lawyer or even one other player aside from Ron Mix to stand up for their wonderful deal.
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YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video.
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