Just Trust Us…

2 October 2013

Goodell Trust Me

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The courts in the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit could not have done a better job of making a bad situation worse by enabling the NFL and its crew of lawyers to muddy up the waters even more by allowing them more bites at a rotten apple while completely trampling the rights of the class. Here are two letters that were officially filed with the Minneapolis Court from retired players Ken Clarke (1978 – 1991 Vikings, Seahawks, Eagles) and Bill Bain (1975 – 1986 Packers, Broncos, Rams) rescinding their Opt Out Opt Out forms that caused intentional confusion for many others as well. What part of I Opted Out does anyone NOT understand? Wonder how many guys the NFL and its lawyers actually managed to con?
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We’ve uploaded copies of Bill and Ken’s NFL Films Opt Out Opt Out Retraction Letters to Scribd to make them available for your reading pleasure and for easy downloading and printing in case you decide to change your mind. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the lower right corner of the menu at the bottom of the viewing screen to go Full Screen for easier reading (just hit the ESC key to close).
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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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Hypocrite of the Decade

6 September 2013

hypocrite

baby Deion
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What was it that Deion Sanders said a while back about how other retired players are whining because concussions don’t exist? Here’s our earlier post along with accompanying comments - click HERE to read our earlier post.
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While the conjecture and speculation about the NFL Concussion lawsuit is taking front stage to close this crazy week, Jason Luckasevic and Jason Shipp at Goldberg Persky & White still managed to file Opt Out forms for 564 retired players before the deadline on Friday. They filed those Opt Outs with the Minnesota court along with a full complaint requesting a jury trial in a district court in Pittsburgh. (We’re waiting for the hearing before Judge Brody on Tuesday, Sept. 3rd to get more factual details on the concussion litigation proposal that is still being discussed and negotiated so we can keep readers informed.)
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We’ve uploaded a copy of the full 114-page combined opt-out and complaint to Scribd for easy viewing and to make it available for downloading and printing. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the lower right corner of the menu at the bottom of the viewing screen to go Full Screen for easier reading (just hit the ESC key to close):
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Former NFL players sue league in Pittsburgh federal court

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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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Jim_MacFarlandJim McFarland officially filed his opt out from the Dryer vs NFL Films Settlement offer with the Minnesota court today. Jim has had a very unique, inside view of things, having been one of two retired players who were invited to participate with the NFLPA (Jim was voted to the NFLPA Executive Committee in 2010) during some of the early phases of the last CBA negotiations with the NFL a couple of years ago. Jim later expressed frustration at his lack of a vote in any of the matters discussed and how many of his suggestions were ignored or dismissed with little consideration. . Jim was also with us at the early meetings at Hausfeld’s offices when he was taking part in CBA discussions with the PA. With six years playing for the Bills, Cardinals and Dolphins in the 70’s and his post-football career as a practicing attorney in Nebraska, Jim continues to bring a unique perspective on the NFL Films deal with his filing against this Settlement offer. We’ve uploaded a copy of Jim MacFarland’s opt-out to Scribd for easy viewing and to make it available for downloading and printing. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the lower right corner of the menu at the bottom of the viewing screen to go Full Screen for easier reading (just hit the ESC key to close): .
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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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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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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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Money-Flying-Out-WindowThe NFLPA just filed their 2013 LM-2 yesterday with the Dept. of Labor as required of all labor unions and associations. This year, it’s a whopping 549 pages long with plenty of disclosure including salaries, payouts and expenses. We’re just starting to look over all the information loaded in this year’s filing and we’ll post more details shortly as we come across interesting details (we encourage all our readers to send us anything you come across or simply post it in the Comments section below).
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A couple of items of interest:
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p. 555 - Marco Island Marriott Resort & Golf Club was paid $354,796 for the NFLPA’s April and June meetings in 2012.
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p. 544 - Kerzner International Resorts in Plantation FL was paid a total of $1,221,137 for a total of FOUR “2013 NFLPA Board Meetings”! (Wha?!!)
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p. 264 - The Groom Law Group (who were supposed to be fired by DeMaurice Smith when he took over as NFLPA Executive Director) and also runs and represents not only the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan but also the NFL walked away with $652,045 in fees this year.
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p. 55 - Nike paid $11,772,308 in licensing fees.
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p. 45 - Attorney Jeffrey Kessler had a $12,846 transaction for Super Bowl tickets and rooms.
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Meanwhile, Kessler’s new firm Winston Strawn was paid (his old firm, Dewey LaBoeuf filed for bankruptcy last year):

  • p. 82 - $3,932,388
  • p. 538 - $124,592
  • p. 538 - $46,879

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p. 20 - Nolan Harrison III received $226,055 as Senior Director of Former Players.
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p. 18 - Andre Collins only received $169,253 as Director of Former Players.
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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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As we were planning our Conference over the last few weeks leading up to this past weekend, we had many discussions on the best way to present both sides of the Settlement Offer to the retired football player community so each one of you can make an informed decision. We finally decided to invite each attorney who made the final presentations in Federal Court to Judge Magnuson in Minnesota: attorney Dan Gustafson from the firm Gustafson Gluek PLLC accepted on behalf of the players whose names were listed in the Settlement Offer (you can review a copy of that offer by clicking HERE) and attorney Michael Ciresi of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi accepted on behalf of the original six plaintiffs. Of the six original plaintiffs, five of them managed to show up for the Conference. Ron Mix graciously accepted to present his reasons for accepting the offer while Fred Dryer – the original named plaintiff in Dryer vs NFL Films – joined Mike Ciresi to present their opposing position.
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Unfortunately, by late Friday, we received confirmation that attorney Dan Gustafson would not be attending because of a family matter and no replacement would be sent to replace him, leaving Ron Mix to make the case for accepting the Settlement as well as answering questions from the audience. This Settlement Offer has been promoted as the best deal retired players can expect from the NFL while also declaring that only a very tiny but vocal minority of retirees were opposed to it. Quite frankly, we were surprised that those parties with their overwhelming majority didn’t manage to find one single replacement for attorney Gustafson to present their claim of a done deal. Ron Mix managed to maintain a dignified and professional approach in explaining many of the still-unanswered details of this 160+ page Settlement Offer while plaintiffs’ attorney Mike Ciresi and Fred Dryer each made their presentations of opposing what they believed to be a very one-sided and typically worthless Offer which included punitive expenses to be taken out of the Offer to fight those who would oppose it. While many in the audience vented their anger and frustration with the Offer towards Ron Mix personally, we truly believe that Ron sincerely felt that this was the best deal possible from a pragmatic point of view and as such, we need to respect Ron for being there to present his opinions in a very dignified manner. Our reasoning is that even with all their resources, no one else was sent to back Ron up was perhaps a way to damage Ron’s standing with retired players as a strong advocate for Workers Compensation rights, specifically in the State of California. Ron has successfully fought for Workers Comp benefits over many years for hundreds of professional athletes and now continues to personally carry on the battle to oppose California Bill AB 1309 which will eliminate Workers Comp claims for professional athletes in California. The League certainly benefits by eliminating these claims and damaging Ron’s standing in the retiree community would certainly be a side benefit of leaving him to defend their Settlement Offer on his own this past weekend.
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THIS JUST IN: An Order Granting Preliminary Approval in the  Dryer vs NFL Films suit has just been filed in the District Court of Minnesota. Note the new, l-o-n-g list of Plaintiffs in this filing. We now know that the original Plaintiffs were never consulted nor informed of discussions or negotiations. And worse still, many of the newly-listed Plaintiffs had also never even granted permission to have their names added to the Plaintiff’s list on this Preliminary Settlement! And THAT’S the difference between honest lawyers fighting for their clients in an open courtroom and dishonest lawyers looking to make a quick buck at the expense of their clients in backroom dealings. If you DON’T want to have this happen to your concussion lawsuit, you may want to consider changing law firms NOW!
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Now that the gag order has finally been lifted, this will definitely be an open discussion at our upcoming 2013 IFV Conference in Las Vegas May 3 – 5. Be sure to book your flights and hotel rooms nowClick HERE!
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