Waiting for Goodell

20 January 2009

Well, I’m glad to know that I’m not the only who’s been waiting for an answer from Commissioner Goodell.  Most of the readers here on my blog are well aware of my communications with – or to – Commissioner Goodell over the past year.

We recently received a copy of a letter from Hall of Fame legend, Hugh McElhenny, and a followup letter from game great, Jon Arnett. The letters pretty much speak for themselves. But the lack of a response tells me that all the blogs and websites must be having an effect. The NFL and the NFLPA have been unable to figure out how to play in this new arena. The old way of playing the PR game is over. I’m just hoping that the Commissioner isn’t planning on having meetings in 30 cities and hoping to spread it out over his term just to run out the clock.

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Bob Grant ventured out to Commissioner Goodell’s Players meeting last Wednesday in Newport Beach, California. Among other things that happened at this meeting was the fact that spouses were quietly allowed to attend and speak. Here’s Bob’s report:

Dear Fellas and Supporters,

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CNBC’s Darren Rovell just posted a list of the Top 10 Retired Football Players payments based on public numbers available from the U.S. Dept. of Labor. (Read the article by clicking HERE)

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The Congressional Confirmation Hearings for Eric Holder as Attorney General are going on right now. Most of the retired players have expressed their negative views about this mouthpiece and lobbyist for the NFL. Their fears of Holder running interference with ongoing Congressional investigations into the NFL’s mistreatment of its retired players need to be brought to the forefront to ensure that Holder will be forced to recuse himself from anything to do with the NFL. Better yet – after looking at some of the press coverage on the things he’s been involved with over the years, perhaps he shouldn’t be confirmed.

No doubt, Holder is one of the best lawyers money can buy… But surely there are better, more ethical attorneys (is that an oxymoron?) for the job?

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Now that Judge Alsup handed down his final order on the Class Action lawsuit filed against the NFLPA/Players Inc. by Bernie Parrish, Herb Adderley and Walt Roberts, more details and analysis is starting to show up in sports columns across the country.

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This just in from Associated Press. And that hissing sound you hear is more air going out of the NFLPA. The entire 7-page order is below the AP clip. continue reading »

The Associated Press just received a copy of a letter from four members of Congress asking the Department of Labor to monitor the NFL Players’ Association’s search for a new executive director. From Forbes’ website:

“We would like to ensure the integrity of the search process and that the process is transparent, fair and compliant with all applicable Department of Labor rules and regulations, and the NFLPA Constitution rules and by-laws,” they wrote in the letter to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.

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Five months after Dave first started applying his application for reimbursement from the NFL under their Hip Replacement Program and almost 2 months after we first wrote about it back in November, Dave finally received a real check today! (Read about Dave’s Hip Replacement T-Shirt by clicking HERE.)

(Click on images to enlarge for reading.)

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I have some more questions about the narrowing slate of NFLPA Executive Director candidates: What law school or business school did any of the 3 or 4 former NFLPA presidents graduate from? What do they know about disability Law? What union management experience do they have?

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Here we are coming in to a New Year and looking behind us at how much has happened in the past year. We’ve seen a recent flurry of comments and e-mails among a lot of the retired players discussing the current state of affairs within the NFLPA, not the least of which has been the disability benefits and the ongoing selection process for a new Executive Director. And the Commissioner keeps on rolling from city-to-city attempting to put on his dog-and-pony show about his compassionate concern for the disabled players. Wow! It’s been quite a year.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s Traveling Snow Job – er, Snow Show – will be arriving in Newport Beach CA on Jan. 14th, 2009. And, of course, even after major media coverage and objections by the majority of retired players and their families, it’s still a closed meeting. No spouses, no caregivers, no representatives and no media once again. However, traveling along with the Commissioner will be his lawyer, Harold Henderson, and probably a couple of his PR flaks to make sure no one misspeaks.

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Another Call for an Audit

21 December 2008

Michael-Louis Ingram over at Black Athlete Sports Network just wrote an excellent piece titled, The Greatest GAME Ever Played? The story starts with ESPN’s recent replay of the legendary 1958 National Football League game between Baltimore Colts and New York Giants (digitally-enhanced AND colorized from black-and-white!).

Ingram’s article recognizes the contribution that those early players made to the game in getting it to where it is today. In fact, he compares the NFL’s phenomenal growth to IBM. Ingram’s story goes on to provide a good, short overview on that recent NFLPA/Players Inc. trial. His closing paragraphs pretty much sum things up and we’re looking forward to BASN’s ongoing investigation:

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More keeps coming out on the touchy-feely meetings that Commissioner Goodell has been conducting with the “Alliance” in league cities across the country. The first meeting held in Dallas ended with Disability Attorney being invited – and then uninvited – by John Wooten (read about that HERE) and as revealed in a series of interesting e-mails that followed the meeting (read about that HERE). Then a dull second meeting in Chicago and a more interesting one last week in Baltimore. The spouses of several players with dementia confronted the Commissioner outside of the meeting room about being denied a voice in the process. And then the New York Times backed it up with the revelation that it was the Alliance who decided to close the meetings to everyone except retired players (read about that HERE and HERE).

Behind the scenes, there’s been a flurry of e-mails and phone calls between the retired players and some members of the “Alliance,” discussing and rationalizing the secret decision to keep the meetings closed. And lots and lots of backpedaling and finger-pointing. We’ve got one interesting exchange that came from Alliance member John Wooten trying once again to explain his way out of another ridiculous situation. Tony Davis’ response is first and Wooten’s e-mail follows at the end. Tony is expressing an opinion that the majority of retired players all seem to share. So why weren’t the other players even consulted before the Big Brother Alliance decided for them?

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