Here’s something a little lighter to start the week.
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Dave Pear All-Pro RaidersI was going through more of my old files and ran across my original signing contract with the Baltimore Colts back in 1975. My first NFL contract was for 3 years: 1975 for $30,000; 1976 for $40,000; 1977 for $50,000. They also included a $30,000 signing bonus (!) over 3 years ($20,000 upon signing in 1975 and an additional $5,000 in 1976 and in 1977). I was subsequently traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then Hugh Culverhouse traded me off to the Oakland Raiders in 1979 after I had the nerve to ask for a raise! I played for two years with a broken neck with the Raiders when we won Super Bowl XV as the wild card team against the Eagles (Raiders 27 – Eagles 10). I was released by Al Davis after that year (more like kicked to the curb!). And yes – that’s a Riddell Helmet I’m wearing in my Topps card!
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Since then, my family has gone through over $600,000 of our own money for my ongoing football-related medical expenses and surgeries with absolutely no reimbursement from the NFL and its various plans (other than the equivalent of two seat cushions and a $5.00 co-pay they sent me after my first hip surgery as part of their fantastic hip replacement program - click HERE to read about it.)
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We uploaded a copy of my first NFL contract 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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Dave Pear 1975 Baltimore Colts Contract
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EDITOR’S NOTE: We received this first-hand report from retired player, Bob Lurtsema, who was one of the “uninvited players” who showed up last week along with Bob Stein and many of the Plaintiffs in the NFL Films lawsuit Status Conference. Each and every retired player needs to read Bob’s words of caution closely and send in their comments.
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Fellow retired players -
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I attended the court-ordered Status Conference in the Dryer v. NFL case on November 27 in Minneapolis to see what was up. What I saw was an attempted sell-out and ambush by the NFL and Michael Hausfeld to force Bob Stein and the original Plaintiffs to accept the NFL’s offer. The NFL and Hausfeld tried to pit players against players.
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Hausfeld brought along 10 or so non-Plaintiff retired players to support him. They were part of a secret group he organized to try to control the Dryer lawsuit payments. We discovered that one guy they brought in had never even been an NFL player! He paid for their travel but refused to pay for the original Plaintiffs’ travel as required by his retainer agreements with them.
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The original Plaintiffs who started the case were not even allowed in Hausfeld’s player meeting. When all the plaintiff attorneys met with all the players there, I was surprised the Magistrate openly pushed for the NFL deal (a very low offer of $50 million total), cut off Bob Stein who pointed out major shortcomings to the deal and then let Hausfeld ramble on to try and sell it. Right after that meeting, Hausfeld rushed out to confer with the NFL lawyers.
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The NFL-Hausfeld proposal, opposed by all original Plaintiffs (Fred Dryer, Jim Marshall, Joe Senser, Dan Pastorini, Elvin Bethea, Ed White) and Bob Stein, stunk to me. Under the NFL-Hausfeld proposal, NO player would be paid for using his rights …ever! Each retired player would give up all his NFL-related publicity rights forever and any money would only go to the neediest of player charity programs. The only ones getting paid are the lawyers!
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The proposal didn’t even have a guaranteed payment amount since all costs of opt-out player lawsuits against the NFL will be paid out of the settlement money! A very small group of players (Hausfeld’s?) would also be put in control of where the money goes. All of us would have to release our publicity rights (pictures, film of play, autographs) forever – and except for possible charity payments – will get paid nothing in the future. The Licensing Agency it set up looks just like the NFL Alumni Program – which LOST $5 million. So I don’t see what we’re getting for giving up claims to what Stein described as “the multi-billion dollar NFL Films vault” and over $150 million/year the NFL makes from using us in NFL Films.
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The NFL-Hausfeld proposal will pay $42 million (after $8 million in legal fees are paid) over 12 years, with all of it going only to charity programs. That amounts to under $15/month for each of the 20,000+ players whose rights would also be signed away. Of course, the lawyers would get paid $8 million up front immediately. Looks to me like each of us will gain absolutely nothing from the NFL-Hausfeld settlement and only the NFL and the lawyers win. No wonder Bob Stein and all the original Plaintiffs think it’s an inadequate deal. After all, over those 12 years when the NFL would be paying out about $3.5 million a year, they would make over $1.8 billion using us in NFL Films! After that, they would then pay nothing more and use our rights forever!
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Bob Stein and the original Plaintiffs all want a deal where every player who gives up his rights forever knows in advance what he would personally get for it, either in dollars or health care benefits …and that it should be enough to mean something.
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I didn’t know why other players besides the Plaintiffs were there but it seemed they were trying to set up the illusion of a “support vote” from guys who were not even Plaintiffs, all without opening the meeting to ALL retired players, just to pressure the original Plaintiffs to go along. Other retired players did not even know about this Status Conference and I only heard about it at the last minute. Hausfeld’s guys were mostly for the deal but ALL the original Plaintiffs and Stein opposed it. I still don’t see the point of the Status Conference but I do see the NFL-Hausfeld deal as bogus and completely one-sided.
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I am against accepting it and wanted all of you to know why. But it should be your own call to make.
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Bob Lurtsema
Baltimore Colts, New York Giants
Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks
1967 – 1977
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When I played football for the University of Washington Huskies and then went into the NFL first through the Baltimore Colts, on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and eventually with the Raiders, we all wore Riddell helmets. Little did I know that Riddell was an official paying sponsor of the NFL and was the supplier of choice for each of the teams for many years. This relationship made a lot of money for Riddell because kids playing Pee Wee, high school and college football were led to believe that Riddell was the best protection money could buy. And why not? All their heroes in the NFL were wearing them.
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Here’s one of my Topp Raiders cards with that older 70’s helmet – definitely not close to anything like the young players have today. (And the older guys from the 50’s and 60’s played with those leather “helmets”!) We were all coached to use our heads and helmets as part of our play and most of the older players still talk about stingers and having their bells rung several times in every game. And the League even went so far as to create their MTBI (MILD Traumatic Brain Injury) Committee headed for years by their own appointed Dr. No: Dr. Ira Casson who continued to spew their propaganda all the way up to Congress as recently as a couple of years ago.
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Our friend, George Visger, played for two years with the 49ers, ending his short career with a Super Bowl ring and 9 subsequent, life-changing brain surgeries that followed. And no disability or pension benefits because he only played for two years so he didn’t even meet the Disability Plan’s 4-year hurdle that all pre-93 players needed to qualify! Do you think his helmet was good protection?
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Bowing to heavy pressure in recent years, the League has been making changes to the rules to protect its players from the effects of concussions. They also fired Dr. No and replaced him with a real expert and advocate in the field: Dr. Rich Ellenbogen. But what about all those decades of denial while continuing to misinform its employees with fake studies? And they did that while also sending a false sense of security to school and college players making it all look and sound eerily like the long era when the tobacco industry was telling the public that cigarette smoking was harmless.
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And that is why Heidi and I decided to join a lawsuit that holds the League and Riddell responsible for hiding and perpetuating the long-term damages from concussions. The suit was officially filed this week and we’ve just uploaded a full copy to Scribd for easy viewing and to make it downloadable for printing. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the center 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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Full Concussion and Helmet Lawsuit Filing Aug 3 2011
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NOTE: I’m not a lawyer and I am not here to solicit your business. But if you want more information, my contact person on this lawsuit is:
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Jason Luckasevic
Goldberg, Persky & White
e-mail: Jluckasevic@gpwlaw.com
1030 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
(412) 338-9460 – direct
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Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner:

THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS
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NFL and NFLPA’s labor woes may not be over yet

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Tuesday, 02 August 2011
BY EVAN WEINER
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
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The National Football League owners have a labor agreement with the present members of the reconstituted National Football League Players Association but it appears that the league still has problems with the players association’s stance on not helping out former players with their medical needs years after their last game in the league. The league apparently informed Carl Eller’s legal team on Friday that the-then decertified National Football League Players Association decided not to take a $500 million offer over ten-years to get retirees life football medical benefits and an uptick in pensions as part of the recently completed collective bargaining agreement.
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Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner:

THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS
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Covenant between fans and sports is a facade
Thursday, 12 May 2011
BY EVAN WEINER
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
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NFL Smoke & Mirrors

It is almost laughable to hear sports owners and employees (coaches, front office executives and players) talk about their concerns for the fan, the mythical covenant that National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern uses in biblical terms to explain the bond and trust that sports and fans have. It is a mere fantasy. Sports is a big business with cutthroats all about and the fan is the last to know.
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Sy Syms used to use a tag line in his television commercials in the New York market and other points in selling his clothes store saying that “an educated consumer is our best customer.” If that axiom was applied to the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League or big time college sports, anyone with any inkling of how the sports industry works would walk away before they were fleeced.
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Sports fans have online petitions, Facebook groups trying to show their muscle in an effort to put an end to the NFL lockout. They should devote their energies to other pursuits. Neither the owners nor the players care about sports fans except to lift money out of their pockets to pay for the debt service on a municipally built facility or for an autograph at some show.
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When it comes to dealing with its senior retired players, it seems that the NFL and the NFLPA have consistently been running on a strategy of doing too little too late. And that’s the only thing they seem to do consistently. First, concussions couldn’t possibly cause any long-term problems. Then, they decided they DO cause long-term damage (but only to active players!), so they fired Dr. No and quickly created all those new rules and fancy posters warning all the current players about the dangers of concussions. Those new rules came all the way down from the Commissioner’s office and – if followed to the letter – would completely change the game of football. Even a lot of the players have come forward to point out how ridiculous and confusing this has become – all in a short span of just a few weeks. Sheesh!

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Reprinted in its entirety with permission from Evan Weiner:


Discarded NFL players are often forgotten in retirement

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More from Bob Grant

18 November 2008

Hello Fellas,

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Fellas,

A number of months ago I told you all that Gene had actually stated to a group of his gangsters the following: ” We don’t have to worry about dividing those assholes because they have divided themselves.” Let’s not let him be proven right.

I also stated to all of you some months back that I was a “Bernie Parrish Man” all the way. That has not changed. Upshaw, the NFLPA and the NFL feared – and fears – Bernie more than it does any man alive. That’s a fact. The NFL even offered to negotiate directly with the retired players if someone could get Bernie to “go away.” Ha ha ha. Fat chance of that ever happening. No one can dispute the commitment that Bernie, Herb and Walt had before any of the rest of us even dreamed that we could really take these Gangsters…

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