Here’s the broadcast on Disability Issues from our Independent Football Veterans Conference this past April in Las Vegas at the South Point. This is definitely the other topic that generates the most questions from retired players. . Disability attorney and retired player advocate John Hogan has been in practice for 35 years after also having worked inside the Social Security system. In this 54-minute open panel discussion, John discusses a wide range of topics regarding covering disability benefits, your rights, Social Security Disability, as well as the serious flaws within the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan. . Dave joins John as a typical example of what most retired players have encountered in their battle to get access to their earned benefits that the NFL and NFLPA continue to deny. . There are a lot of questions from retired players. .
We’re bringing you a two-part broadcast in this post from our Independent Football Veterans Conference this past April in Las Vegas at the South Point. Certainly, one of the most important issues that affects many retirees is Workers Compensation. In recent years, a lot more cases have been ending with better outcomes for retired players. . Our second panel featured a discussion on some of the latest information and studies on Workers Compensation. Retired Hall-of-Famer and California Workers Comp attorney Ron Mix kicks off with a great overview of how Workers Comp applies to retired football players and some of the actions the NFL has taken to stem applications. Attorney Bryan Round talks about his representation on behalf of football players and working with the local NFLPA Workers’ Comp Panel in Kansas City. In Part 2, retired player George Visger shares his personal, long – and ongoing – battle over the years with Workers Comp. Dave Pear moderates. .
As presented at our Second Annual Independent Football Veterans Conference held at the South Point Resort in Las Vegas this past April 2012: After nearly 5 years of research, Jason Luckasevic from Goldberg Persky & White filed one of the first concussion lawsuits on behalf of retired football players. To date, his firm is also one of the few to include Riddell the helmet manufacturer – “Official Helmet of the NFL” – as a responsible party. Richard Lewis from Hausfeld LLP joined Jason on the panel on Saturday morning of our Conference to present their respective firms’ decisions leading up to filing their concussion suits. Be sure to watch the entire episode so you can also hear the questions and comments from the audience at the end. . Please keep two things in mind: There are many capable and qualified attorneys representing plaintiffs in the concussion litigation. Speak to those you choose to make sure your potential claim is evaluated promptly. The other issue discussed at the Conference was a potential statute of limitation specifically related to this round of concussion lawsuits. This means you may have to sign up with a representative firm soon before the filing period expires. More on this shortly from one of the attorneys involved in this suit. .continue reading »
We’re all for great customer service and constructive feedback but if a survey’s not going to accomplish anything, why bother? Last week, Dave received this request to participate in a new survey from the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan Office in Baltimore: . Dear NFL Player, . In hopes of learning more about your experience with the Plan Office in Baltimore, we are conducting a brief survey. Your responses will help us determine areas the Plan Office in Baltimore has shown exceptional service as well as areas where there is room for improvement. We encourage you to click on the link below and provide candid feedback on the questions asked. The survey should only take 5 – 10 minutes to complete, and your responses will be greatly valued. The survey opens today, and will remain open for until the end of next week, closing Friday, July 6th at 5PM PST. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact our survey administrator (information provided below) .continue reading »
Herb Adderley, John Mackey, Mike Webster, Andre Waters. And the carnage goes on and on and on. . Unless and until the 21st Century NFL undergoes a sea change – a total paradigm shift toward actually caring for their beloved 20th Century warriors – I have no interest in being associated with the NFL in any way, including the erstwhile noble idea of its Hall of Fame . I am, however, keenly interested in contributing to bring into the American public’s consciousness the unbelievably shameful travesty known as the “NFL Retired Players Pension. . I want to bring lasting attention to the deplorable and deliberate manner in which the NFL owners have set up a “maze” of red tape designed to prevent the hundreds – if not thousands – of living former NFL warriors from “having a life after football. .continue reading »
More news on the battle against the NFLPA. Hausfeld LLP issued a public statement on behalf of retired football players to Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, stating the case for the expulsion of the NFL Players Association from the AFL-CIO. We’re also including the 10-page letter that was sent to Mr. Trumka detailing how the NFLPA has consistently broken with true Union tradition and principles in the treatment of its retirees as a normal way of doing business. .
. A lot of us have been following Andrew Stewart’s long and winding case against the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan. We first started posting a lot of the documents from Andrew’s applications for T&P football degenerative benefits back in Sept. 2010 with the last update of his hearing in March of this year at which point, he was left waiting for a decision from the judge in his hearing. Here are the background posts from 2010: . Andrew Stewart: Benefits Denied -clickHEREto read. . The New Dr. No.: Andrew Stewart Part II -clickHEREto read. . And here’s the story on Andrew’s hearing in March of this year: . Andrew Stewart: We ARE All Dog Food to the NFL -clickHEREto read. .continue reading »
Here’s a copy of the just-released 2012 LM-2 filed by the NFLPA with the Dept. of Labor. We’ll be posting more later about what we find in this latest LM-2 but we wanted to get it posted in time for your weekend entertainment. If any of you find some interesting tidbits, please post them in the Comments section. To get you started, Jeffrey Kessler’s former law firm Dewey LaBoeuf was paid around $2.5 million for their CBA and general legal work (before filing for bankruptcy protection, Latham & Watkins was paid $3.1 million and Patton Boggs was paid almost $950,000. So at least $6.5 million went to these three law firms alone last year. . We uploaded the entire report to Scribd for easy viewing and to make it downloadable for 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): . 2012 NFLPA LM-2 . Oh – one more interesting observation: Here’s the answer provided for Question 17 tucked away at the very end of this document (Is there something they know that no one else seems to know yet or is it just arrogance?): . Question 17: The NFLPA and NFL PLAYERS have been named defendant or co-defendant in a number of other legal actions. In the opinion of the General Counsel and management, these lawsuits will be resolved with no material impact on the NFLPA or its subsidiaries. .
The NFLPA finally got around to making a proposal for pension increases to the 320+ widows who were left out of the current CBA. Keep in mind this is still a proposal until both sides sign off on it. Here’s the update that was sent out to Chapter Presidents from Former Player Executive Committee Representative Jim McFarland yesterday(our highlights in RED): . Dear Fellow Chapter Officers: . In case you have not already been informed, I am pleased to report from our conference calls today that we were notified that the NFL has agreed to pay its 51% of the Widows Legacy Benefit from Club Funds and that the NFLPA has offered to pay its 49% from $7 to 9 million of “fine money” that was not allocated to any specific charity. We are waiting for the NFL’s response. . Thus, 51% will come from owner funds and 49% will come from player money taken from salaries in fine money under this proposal. . Unfortunately, even if the NFL agrees to this proposal, the funds will not be immediately available to these widows and survivors just as funds were not immediately available for Pre-93 vested players. The process of paying such Legacy Benefits to these widows and survivors will be similar to the process of getting legacy benefits to Pre-93 vested players. . With regard to the 2,841 former players who were immediately eligible to receive the legacy benefit, it has been a long, but steady process. As of today, apparently 84% of these former players are receiving their legacy benefit. Unfortunately 16% of these player elections are still in process for reasons including that some of these former players have QDRO issues with regard to divorced spouses, that they are receiving disability benefits which complicate determining their Legacy Benefit amount, and that 6% of these former players have not yet signed and returned their legacy benefit forms. . Hopefully, these matters will be resolved soon. Let me know if you have any questions. . Sincerely, Jim McFarland NFLPA Former Player Executive Committee Representative .
Terry Bradshaw opened up on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show once again when asked about his injuries and concussions from his years in football. Best stuff starts around 2:30 in this clip from his appearance on June 13th – including a well-deserved plug for The Amen Clinic: .
EDITOR’S NOTE: Now that some of the dust has settled from the fallout of George Martin’s 2-year tenure as Executive Director of the NFL Alumni, there are a lot of questions still left unanswered. Attorney John Hogan was an active advocate from the earliest stages of what started with the best of intentions. We’re also going ahead with including John Hogan and Dave’s discussion on Disability from the recent IFV Conference held in April in Vegas. The video is at the bottom of this post.
An Open Letter to the NFL and Retired Players Regarding the Alumni
For a normally quiet time in the off-season, there’s a lot going on. Concussion lawsuits continue to be filed and the latest count indicates there may be over 3,000 retired football players who have filed suits against the NFL to date. We also understand that there may be a possible Statute of Limitation deadline coming up shortly and strongly urge that you get signed up with one of the firms soon if you haven’t done so already. . Let’s start with a Washington Post article on the concussion lawsuits that featured Dr. Daniel Amen: .
NFL concussions lawsuits aim to improve the damaged brain
First, some news and the intro: Retired players lost Round 1 in their battle to wrest control of their pensions and benefits away from the NFLPA. In her final motion filed last week in Minnesota court, Judge Nelson dismissed the Eller et al lawsuit brought against the NFLPA, Tom Brady and Mike Vrabel. That said, much of the motion left several issues open that will allow Hausfeld LLP and Zelle Hofmann to file an appeal shortly. What continues to be unclear is how the NFLPA could actually declare that they had negotiated retired players benefits when they were decertified as Union during the lockout last year. Magically, retired players benefits were negotiated in the short period after the Union recertified and then announced the shiny new CBA they had finalized. Got that? More analysis on this development in a future post. .continue reading »
Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner: THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS .
Saturday, 19 May 2011 . BY EVAN WEINER NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM COMMENTARY In 1905, United States President Theodore Roosevelt used the power of the bully pulpit by ordering the Presidents of Harvard, Yale and Princeton to the Oval Office so that the heads of the three schools would work together to clean up the game of football. There was some thought that President Roosevelt could actually ban the game although history suggests that Roosevelt liked football but was aware that new rules needed to be imposed to make football safe. . In 1905, eighteen players died from injuries that were suffered on the field while another 149 were reported to have serious injuries. Roosevelt’s pressure produced a number of changes including the introduction of the forward pass, the distance to be gained for a first down increased from five to ten yards and all mass formations and gang tackling were banned. . Roosevelt’s Oval Office meeting would eventually led to the formation of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and college football would grow in popularity with significant attention being paid to the college game coming in the 1920s. . The game of football is again being scrutinized but neither the President of the United States not Congress is leading the charge. Instead more than a thousand former players are suing the National Football League claiming the league didn’t inform them of the risks of playing football and that they have suffered life altering injuries because of their service to the game. . In some quarters the football industry looks to be under siege but it is hard to see how that is the case. Municipalities are still throwing money into building football facilities with the latest set of politicians being in St. Paul, Minnesota where the legislature and Governor Mark Dayton are willing to give the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings franchise at least a half a billion in taxpayers’ dollars to build a new stadium for the team. Cable TV networks are willing to fork over big dollars for college football and the public likes football. But there are some warning signs out there. . “I think it is wrong to characterize it as under siege,” said Steve Hatchell, the President and CEO of the National Football Foundation. “The game has always been under siege. The whole aspect that we are talking about is that there are not hundreds but thousands of kids that are playing football that go on to have unbelievable lives of leadership, great productivity and do great things in our society. . “The problem is that nobody really wants to listen to that. So it was as you talk about guys who played the game, guys who have been in the pros who do not have head injuries. That’s a whole separate story that needs to be addressed and needs to be juxtaposed to what you would call are the issues. . “The issues themselves like concussions need to be addressed and it is being addressed. There are a lot of very fine people looking at that. Is it concussions, is it depression. Are there other aspects of this thing that require a great study? . “So I think that there are a lot of ways to look at this that are far greater in their expanse than what is being looked at right now. The game has never been hotter, it has never been more than it has been accepted right now and there has never been a time where there are fantastic people playing the game who want to do great things in life. . “We work hard to try to get that story out there, it’s just that nobody wants to listen to that.” . In 1905, Harvard President Charles Eliot, who was no friend of Roosevelt, led the charge to ban football. . One hundred seven years later, no one is calling for a ban on football but some people like former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman question how viable football might be in 20 years. But football’s vitality was questioned in 1905 as well. . “It is not the same,” said Hatchell of the public debate in 1905 and the stories that are now coming out on the safety of the game from former players who were on the field in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and in the 21st century. “I think it is easy to draw it back into 1904 and say you got those issues. I think you can come up with a lot of statistics. There is football being played in a very intensive way all around the country, not just in the Ivy League where President Roosevelt had that concern. There were also other issues. Some of those kids who were in school at that time weren’t really in school or if there were there, there were basically as professional people. . “It’s one of the reasons that the NCAA rule book is as big as it is. It is because of the rules that were violated or things that weren’t been done by Ivy League schools back in the early 1900s. I think now we are better equipped to take on the issues. I think we are better equipped to examine them than ever before. We will in a negative society where things are wrong and then you got to prove it backwards. We don’t tilt at that. We don’t think it is anywhere near where it was in 1904. There is better coverage on it right now of everything that goes on than what was ever before. So the negative find a good voice where the positives don’t find a voice at all. So I don’t think it is a fair comparison to go back to that span of time because it was very different and it is very different right now. . “But the game now isn’t like it was then. We put a guy in the (College Football) Hall of Fame (William Lewis) from the late 1800s from Harvard who had already played at several different schools. He created the neutral zone. There were things like neutral zones or – this was a different kind of a game – it was very, very violent. The game is violent now and it has always been violent. . “You don’t have to play the game of football if you don’t want to play it. Our whole point is, if you are going to examine the people who are playing the game who have the problems now, you also have to examine the guys who are playing the games now or in the past that didn’t have any issues. You got to have balance and there isn’t that balance out there right now.” . So far, only former NFL players are threatening football’s structure and they are a fraction of the number of players who have been on the football field since the first college game between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869. On the horizon though is the potential for an onslaught of lawsuits from former players who performed on just the high school level or on the high school and college level. There is no question that public education in the United States is under attack from various interest groups and that school budgets have been slashed with music and the arts being eliminated. It could be that an expensive sport like football or hockey may face severe cuts because of higher insurance premiums and the fear of catastrophic injuries. Around the country, high school football is king but will it remain that way? . “Oh sure, I think you have to look at all of those,” said Hatchell talking about the future of high school football in the United States. “But there have already made that decision in a lot of places to do away with band, anything that happens to be after school, not just football. Football is an easy one to target because there are a lot of expenses involved and you make up the rule that it is too dangerous or you are not getting the right coaching. It’s pretty convenient as opposed to how do how do you make it really work? . “We (Hatchell) live in the state of Texas and high school football is not dropping off in the state of Texas. It has never been bigger. It has never been more significant than it is before. I think to say expenses are the way or the reasons to do away with things is wrong. Money is incredibly tight but we are talking about education and the other half of education that the High School Federation talks about. You got what you are doing in school and what you are doing after school and I think we need to have both in this society and I think they both have to be promoted. There are ways to get that done and we (the National football Foundation) work carefully with a lot of school districts around the country that try to keep football alive and well. It takes a lot of work. . “Football is still awfully strong whether you are in Seattle or Washington or New Jersey football is pretty good football right now. I think there are great outposts of it around the country. Our whole point is this: Yes, let’s highlight what is negative and what needs to be repaired but on the other hand let’s highlight as well with the same passion, the good things that are happening in the game and the benefits that the kids have about going to colleges and doing a lot of other things. I think we can take advantage of that.” . Football is a collision sport and not a contact sport. But that may not be the underlying problem for the future of football. . “I think the bigger threat isn’t cost or injuries or anything to football,” said Hatchell. “I think it is the varied interests that kids have today. One of the burgeoning sports in the state of Texas today is lacrosse. Now it is a very big sport in the state of Texas. I think because of coverage and the coaching, there are a whole lot of other sports that are going to be emphasized greatly, the kids are going to have, they will not be limited to three of sports like when we were growing up. I think in 20 years (if football’s popularity wanes) it would be due to a general lack of interest as opposed to anything that has to be with injuries and other things. I think interests change and people move on.” . .
Evan Weiner, the winner of the United States Sports Academy’s 2010 Ronald Reagan Media Award, is an author, radio-TV commentator and speaker on “The Politics of Sports Business.” His book, “The Business and Politics of Sports, Second Edition” is available at www.bickley.com or amazonkindle. He can be reached at email@example.com . .