Dear NFL Retired Players,
Dear NFL Retired Players,
We just posted a special new section under a new tab titled The Summit (click the Summit tab above or click HERE) to be held in Las Vegas May 29 – 31. Read all the details on how to register and reserve your hotel room at the South Point Hotel at a special Retired Players Summit rate. We’ve also posted the agenda for the Summit there. All media are also welcome!
We thought this may have been an April Fools Day joke but there it was on the NFL Alumni online store (buy one by clicking right HERE). Get your very own $150 money clip right now – and check out that nice wad of hundreds! You gotta love it! (Click to enlarge.)
Seven long months after the sudden departure of Gene Upshaw, the NFLPA finally selected DeMaurice Smith as its new Executive Director at its Annual Meeting in Hawaii last week. Few of you could have missed all the recent coverage on the run-up to the election including all of the sideline drama on some of the candidates like Troy Vincent.
All the news from the Annual NFLPA meeting in Maui has been focused entirely on the election of DeMaurice Smith as its new Executive Director. We’ll be posting some commentary about that shortly. In the meantime, here are some details now emerging on business-as-usual from that same meeting. Oh – and in case you didn’t know, the retired players have no true representation whatsoever: No seats on the Board or the Steering Committee and absolutely NO votes.
Click on the picture to enlarge.
We’ve been asked many times over the past few weeks about the status of the Independent Summit for NFL Retired Players. It can now be announced that it will take place in Las Vegas on May 28 – 31. Those involved in helping to organize this effort to get all of us together as an Independent Group of NFL Retired Players include me, Tony Davis, Joe DeLamielleure, Dave Pear, Disability Attorney John Hogan, Jeff Nixon, Ben Lynch, Marvin Cobb, Bob Grant, Abner Haynes and Bruce Laird. There are a lot more NFL Retired Players who have assisted in multiple ways with this effort and too many to mention in this announcement. Many of these men have helped by consulting with us. We communicate almost daily and are working to make sure that this event will provide a new direction for NFL Retired Players. What also must be mentioned is that others have been asked to be a part of the organizational process but have chosen not to participate.
After the Congressional hearing in June, 2007 which focused on health and disability issues of retired NFL Players, the NFL Management Council and the NFLPA jointly announced that one of the improvements to the disability system which they were adopting was the acceptance of a favorable Social Security disability decision as proof that the player was totally and permanently disabled. Shortly thereafter, the NFLPA published a White Paper indicating that this change meant that where SSA found a player disabled, they would not have to be examined by a Plan physician. Commissioner Goodell testified to that fact in the subsequent Senatorial hearing in September, 2007
I am presently representing a retired player who was found to be disabled by Social Security back in 2004 – which was within the 15-year period necessary for a player to establish the higher paying “football degenerative” category of benefits. The Plan has found this player entitled to the lower paying Inactive benefits, and I filed an appeal with the Retirement Board submitting the player’s Social Security file and explaining their decision. Essentially, the player’s past work was at the light exertion level (generally requires the ability to stand and walk at least six hours in an eight hour day) and they found that he was limited to sedentary work because of his orthopedic impairments (knees and back). Because he was over 50 years old and his past work did not provide any transferable skills to sedentary work, he is deemed disabled under their rules.
Fellow Retired Players,
I received some news from an NFLPA “insider” yesterday and he told me that the Active Players and the Bosses at the PA – OUR Players’ Association – will now be fighting against any increase in pensions and benefits for us after the next CBA is negotiated because they are PO’ed that the we are “costing” the Union – OUR UNION – $28 million along with all of those legal expenses.
I had to laugh because I’ve never before heard of a robber and a thief wanting to punish the people that they stole from because the victims reclaimed their stolen funds in an actual Court of Law. These guys are really too much. I’m trying to “fight fair” but I don’t believe that any of these bandits – and that includes any active players who have gone along with them every step of the way – ever intend to do the “right thing” by Retired Players. Those young guys who trotted onto the fields last year, so proudly wearing that “GU” Gene Upshaw patch on their jerseys are still worshiping at his shrine. Their excuse for not standing up for what is right both morally and legally, as proven in a Federal Court already while claiming that it’s up to the Player Reps, won’t be accepted on either side of Heaven or Hell.
Earlier this year, Disability Attorney John Hogan filed appeals to the Retirement Board of the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan on behalf of Dave. Late last week, Dave received a response and it was no surprise that he was once again denied his request to have his Inactive Total & Permanent Disability reclassified to Football Degenerative. It was a perfect example of how an application and appeal process shouldn’t work.
Let’s start first with a re-cap on the major issues: The Plan clearly breached its fiduciary duty in 1995 by not getting input from a vocational specialist (such as Earl Thompson). If they had, Dave’s case likely would have been granted. It’s a violation of the fiduciary duty of care NOT to adjudicate disability claims like others similarly situated would do. Every other disability system typically considers vocational factors. They should have obtained more detailed information from the doctor himself such as how frequent and how long the rest breaks needed to be, the need to lie down, and how many total hours per day.
You may recall that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked if he was the chair of the Retirement Board (click HERE to read that earlier post). The answer is that under the terms of the Bell/Rozelle NFL Retirement Plan, he serves as a non-voting, ex-officio chair. However, at the Baltimore Sports Symposium, Sarah Gaunt informed us that Harold Henderson – NFL attorney – is the chair. (Read about Henderson’s antics in a previous post HERE.) With that, we’ll close for the weekend with some fun from an old classic from Abbott and Costello: Who’s on First?
Our good friend and player advocate, disability attorney John Hogan, was able to attend that Symposium held at the Baltimore School of Law on Thursday. Here are his notes from that day:
The University of Baltimore School of Law held their first Annual Sports Law Symposium today. This year’s conference was From Rookie to Retirement: The NFL Universe in the New Economy and you can read the agenda on their site HERE. Here’s a list of the speakers (the usual suspects) and their topics: continue reading »
It’s been all over the media this past week that the candidate list for NFLPA Executive Director has been narrowed down to three choices: Troy Vincent, Trace Armstrong and DeMaurice Smith. Other than the fluffy short bios that nothing more than standard NFLPA Press Releases, what do the majority of the players really know about these finalists? So far, all most people really know about these three finalists is that Troy Vincent had managed to fall out of favor with Gene Upshaw by bringing up the idea of a succession plan to replace Upshaw. Then there was the recent drama of NFLPA Director of Human Resources Mary Moran calling her Daddy Congressman Jim Moran to “investigate” Vincent’s alleged communications with several other Congressmen about the convoluted process of selecting a new Executive Director. Apparently, a lot of well-paid Upshaw insiders are really worried about keeping their cushy jobs so the choice is going to be very important for them (but shouldn’t be any of their business). But other than the drama and internal office politics, there’s little else that seems to have been made public about the process and the candidates themselves.
It seems that the most common comment from the young players today who read our last post from Sam Huff has been, “Who’s Sam Huff and Why’s He Mad as Hell“? (Read that earlier post HERE.) Like a lot of us, History wasn’t their strong suit on a college football scholarship…