OK – So here we go with the old numbers game. This week, Roger Goodell was all over the media and on the NFL’s NFLLabor website officially declaring that the average player’s career of 3.5 seasons has been a myth all along!
Keep in mind, this is from the front man for the owners who didn’t even remember that he was supposed to be the Chairman of the Disability Board. This is also from the same people who told players of past years that based on their actuarial numbers, most of you would be dead and buried by the time you were 55, so you needed to take early – and deeply discounted – pensions. Of course, when you ask either side to show you their books to back up anything they’re saying, you hit a brick wall every time.
Here’s the link to the NFLLabor propaganda press release – click HERE.
Over 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.
For the first time, the NFL and the NFLPA extended an invitation to “The Independent Retired Players” to attend and participate in a meeting called to discuss the problems that continue to plague Retirees. Bob Grant, an Independent Activist and Advocate for our cause, was asked to attend on behalf of the Retired Players.
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?
Disability Attorney John Hogan has gone above and beyond in his efforts to help the retired disabled players. John has recently helped several players with their re-applications under this year’s disability plan. (You can read more about John by visiting his website by clicking HERE.) In case anyone doesn’t understand fiduciary responsibility and the legal and moral responsibility it carries with it:
As most of you now know, Bernie Parrish played a key role in the successful players’ litigation against the NFLPA and Players Inc. in San Francisco. Around the same time, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced what appeared to be a groundbreaking tour to NFL host cities to hear about what the retired players truly want to see happen for them. Unfortunately, as we soon discovered, it’s been nothing more than a transparent PR scam to generate the illusion that they’re actually doing something. While Goodell shows up dragging along his personal entourage that includes the like of Harold Henderson (general counsel) and the NFL PR flaks, the players themselves are told that they can’t bring anyone to the meetings. No counsel, no doctors, not even caregivers or spouses. So disability experts like John Hogan were not even allowed to attend that first meeting in Dallas (he was uninvited by the likes of Harold Henderson AFTER he was invited and flew there at his own expense). (Click HERE and HERE and HERE to read about that first meeting and the fallout after.) And it goes on. The second meeting in Chicago was even worse; it was announced with short notice, few retired players showed up and their stories were all the same. And oh yes – no one was allowed into the “meeting” except retired players.
Now there’s another meeting scheduled for Baltimore on December 11th at 6:30 at the Doubletree Hotel. And yep – absolutely no one allowed to attend except retired players. So if you’re a retired player – dead or alive – you’re invited to show up and speak your mind!
Right on, Jeff!
Manager, Player Benefits
National Football League
280 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10017
- Calls for Unity Among Retired and Active NFL Players and Transparency with the League -
Many of you older players probably remember Johnny Carson as Karnak the Magnificent, supreme prognosticator of the airwaves. Karnak could simply hold an envelope up to his turban and read its contents and predict the future with incredible accuracy much to the amusement of his audience. Well, we’re going to try and pull a Karnak here after reading a recent e-mail announcement from the NFL. First, here’s the e-mail (our emphasis in RED):
To: Former NFL Players
or so you would have thought, judging from the cold reception attorney John Hogan received when he showed up at Commissioner Roger Goodell’s “open” forum to hear about retired players’ complaints. John was there at the invitation of John Wooten of the NFL Players Alliance. After canceling appointments and juggling court appearances so that he could make the meeting (all at his OWN expense), John arrived at the meeting and was first stopped from entering the room. After a brief delay, John was finally allowed to take a seat in the meeting room. But in no uncertain terms, he was then told that he wasn’t allowed to speak at all because the floor was only open to players! So John sat through the entire meeting and took copious notes – over ten pages of ‘em!
We just received word that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be making the first stop of his planned 32-city tour in Dallas. The Dallas NFL Alumni announced that the Commish will be on Wednesday, October 8th at the Cooper Guest Lodge Hotel, Spa & Conference Center at 6:00 pm. For directions to the Cooper Guest Lodge Hotel, click HERE.
We’ve just received word that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is planning to announce a 32-city road trip to meet up with retired players to listen to their voices and opinions in their own backyards. If this is truly the case, we extend our sincerest praise to the Commissioner for his leadership and wisdom in making such a bold move.
In preparation for his tour, we’d like to suggest that everyone write in with their ideas and comments on improving the NFL and the NFLPA to make this the true American sport for the 21st Century. As so many of the retired and disabled players have been unable to afford the expense or endure the logistics of travel, this is a major shift from the way things were done in the past. So hopefully, everyone will not only seize upon the opportunity for their voices to be heard but also maintain a level of decency and fairness to each other so that ALL voices will truly be heard for once.