Change We Can Believe In?

18 January 2010

Dave Pear Oakland Raiders Superbowl XV - Former Teammate with Gene Upshaw

First of all: Bernie & Walt,

We’re sending out our check for $100 today!

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Retired players will continue to sally forward as we relentlessly seek justice!

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Since the new guy took over for Upshaw nearly a year ago, we’ve only seen two symbolic changes in our Union:

  1. The NFLPA Dire Need Fund has been renamed, “The Gene Upshaw Dire Need Fund”;
  2. The NFLPA has renamed their building address to “63 Upshaw Place.”

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Dear Retired/Former Players, Active Players, and Fans:

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Oral arguments have just closed in the American Needle vs. NFL case. Lawyers from both sides spoke to reporters and answered questions about their presentation and the case in a news conference on the courthouse steps outside the Supreme Court in Washington DC.
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And we just uploaded the transcript of the oral arguments to DocStoc for those of you who want to read the details as presented by the two sides. (Click on the FULL SCREEN button to enlarge it for easier navigation – hit the ESC key to close. You can also click the DOWNLOAD button to save a PDF copy for printing and reading. There’s also a Menu button in the upper left corner with even more options.)
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Transcript of American Needle vs. NFL Supreme Court Hearing
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The Supreme Court is hearing a major business case this week that debates the extent of its so-called “limited” antitrust exemption. The case is American Needle vs. NFL and if you’re like most of us, it’s hard to understand the details and importance of what ruling might come out of this case. A small clothing manufacturer – American Needle – was kicked to the curb when they lost their license to manufacture caps and jackets with NFL team logos. Reebok – a subsidiary of global athletic wear manufacturer Adidas – currently has the world rights to manufacture any and all licensed NFL wear and oversees a $3.2 billion+ market (2007) from selling NFL gear exclusively.


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This past Friday, Dave received the first of his two Players Inc. GLA Settlement checks. And we’re now starting to hear from a few other players like Irv Cross and Council Rudolph who have also received their checks over the weekend. Looks like they’re trying to send the checks out as the paperwork comes in.

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Gentlemen:

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Dear Congresswoman Sanchez:

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Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) is holding the second Judiciary Committee Hearing on concussions at the Wayne State School of Medicine Conference Center in Detroit Michigan on Monday Jan. 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm EST. This hearing appears to be much more wide-ranging and the scheduled testimony includes independent doctors and even World Super Welterweight boxing champ Thomas “Hitman” Hearns is testifying, along with Rev. Al Sharpton. Bernie Parrish, Hall of Famer Lem Barney, Kyle Turley and George Martin are the retired players slated to testify this time.

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The Year Ahead

31 December 2009

This blog has only been up for almost two years. But Dave’s been personally at his battle for over 25 years. And guys like Bernie Parrish have been at it for well over 40 years – long before most of today’s players were even born (well, maybe not Brett Favre…). There’s no doubt that this past year has been an interesting one. It’s been full of a lot of ups-and-downs with a lot of side trips that can get a little distracting at times. With the economy tanking and people losing their jobs all over the country, it’s hard not to get frustrated occasionally. Tempers can flare and passions will rise. But there’s no doubt that the issues which have always been most important to the retired players are gaining more visibility than ever because of everyone’s collective efforts.

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December ended up being a crazy busy month for Dave: 2 print interviews and 3 radio interviews so far. Dave’s primary focus has been on getting the word out on disability benefits and pensions, as well as answering some questions on the recent Parrish vs. Players Inc. GLA settlement.


Jeff Pearlman did a story for Sports Illustrated/CNN on Dave’s personal regrets about having played football. That helped generate over a million hits this month for the blog.
Click HERE to read that article.

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More good news – and a little fun – to exercise your brain as the end of the year approaches.


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Open 24 HoursOver the past 24 hours, we’ve certainly had a lot of discussions around the old adage “Not seeing the forest for the trees.” In the old way of controlling their spin on all stories about football, the NFL managed to keep all of the television networks and most of the major print media on very short leashes because of their broadcast rights and access to players and managers for interviews. And then the Internet came along. Despite claims of a few who proudly proclaim they invented the Internet and Facebook, this new medium has not only moved the retired football players battle to a new and level playing field; it’s in a different league altogether. Just as the past two weeks have completely caught Tiger Woods and his team of old-school PR flacks like deer in the headlights, the NFLPA and the NFL and their old media machines have been hard-pressed to catch up with a new medium that they can no longer control. The Internet doesn’t belong to anyone and it belongs to everyone.

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Conrad Dobler: 32 Surgeries!

17 December 2009

Conrad DoblerConrad Dobler just posted on his Facebook page that he was going into his 32nd knee surgery. 32 surgeries! After weeks of infections from his latest knee replacement (including a MRSA infection), Conrad’s facing a possible amputation or a freeze, where they literally lock his leg straight so it can no longer move at the knee. Even through all of this, Conrad hasn’t lost that edgy sense of humor: “Today I am having my 32nd knee surgery they are going to try to save my leg & put my knee back in BUT they are not sure it will work. Only other option other than amputate is to freeze it. It would be permanently straight & 6 inches shorter. I got rid of all my platform shoes in the 70’s & my tailor will be pi**ed so that’s not an option. Will keep you posted. Don’t forget to order my book!

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The Parrish vs. Players Inc. lawsuit presented an interesting conundrum for the NFLPA under Gene Upshaw; here they were, being sued by their own membership for not paying them royalties due after years of revenues generated from video games and trading cards and other licensed items. Yet they couldn’t allow themselves to notify their retired members that they were part of a class action against… them?!! Keep in mind that this was Upshaw’s NFLPA. It didn’t take long for new Executive Director DeMaurice Smith to quickly void Berthelsen and Kessler’s tired old arguments for another appeal and move the process to the settlement that’s close to being distributed today.  Do we have to remind anyone that if Gene Upshaw was still around, retired players would still be looking at another 3 – 5 years of appeals with no end in sight? (Actually, it appears that Yes – We DO Have to Remind Some People.) And all this happened within the first few months of change in the front office.

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Those GLA Settlement Checks

14 December 2009

Your Check is in the MailTHIS JUST CONFIRMED:

After months of after-trial wrangling behind the scenes and a scathing letter from Judge Alsup, it looks like we’re now at the final stages of seeing those checks in the mail. But unfortunately not until late February 2010. We just got off the phone with the folks over at Garden City Group in Seattle and they’ve informed us that everyone who was listed in the GLA List should be receiving a letter in the next week or so with details on finalizing your claim (click HERE to go to an earlier post to confirm if your name is on that list and to read Judge Alsup’s final remarks). You’ll need to provide them basic information such as confirming your contact information, as well as providing taxpayer information (Social Security Number etc.). As an added precaution, you might consider mailing your paperwork via USPS Certified Mail with a return receipt so you know they received your paperwork on time. And making a photocopy of the paperwork for your files might not be a bad idea either.

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