. Well, the floodgates are opening wider and wider. Sports Legacy Institute and Boston University held a press conference this past Monday to announce their findings on the late Dave Duerson’s brain examination. To no one’s surprise, they discovered the presence of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in his brain. .
Former NFL player Dave Duerson found to have had brain damage
After posting up Andrew Stewart’s story earlier this week, we decided that this is a perfect time to post another personal experience that Dave has recently had. Late last year, Dave quietly approached NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith about his disability case. While there were no expectations of favorable outcomes, we all felt that with nearly a year into his job, certainly an Executive Director asking the Disability Board to extend the courtesy of a fresh review of an older case might encourage some new found objectivity. .
Here’s the initial exchange of e-mails (Once again, we’ve posted everything on Scribd for easier reading. 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): . De Smith & Teri Patterson E-mails . De Smith Response e-mails .
Then after several months, the responses and the “Dear Dave” letter: a very formal 4-page legalese way of saying, “Too bad. See you later.” . De Smith Letter to Dave .
We left it alone until now, hoping to at least wait and see if any real change would come from the NFLPA leadership for the retired players. But now after we’ve seen the NFLPA Building and the Dire Need Fund re-named after Gene Upshaw – who was probably the single-most destructive factor in methodically destroying retired players rights and benefits in any professional sport (or industry for that matter) – it certainly doesn’t look like any real change is coming soon. What we have seen is a lot of PR with new video channels and heck – we’ve even seen some slick new slogans about One Locker Room One Team (looks like the retired players got the toilet!) But aside from all that, retired players have seen less than nothing for their indisputable contributions to making football the richest professional sport in history. Then we read Andrew Stewart’s denial and… .
We finally made the decision to make this exchange public out of sheer frustration as well as to once again encourage other retirees to come forward and compare notes on your personal experiences with being denied your earned benefits. There are still a lot of players who are only realizing that they’re not alone after being denied their fair disability benefits. It doesn’t seem to matter what you do or don’t do in applying for your disability benefits: You applied BEFORE your 15-year window was closed or AFTER it passed. DENIED. You have visible physical injuries or you have brain injuries: DENIED. You’re an old retired player or just a freshly injured retired player: DENIED. You use the best doctors to build an airtight case that would even withstand the scrutiny of Social Security Disability standards: DENIED. The smell of a massive class action lawsuit is getting stronger by the day. .
Disability Attorney John Hogan took the time to write a professional response to DeMaurice Smith’s letter from January of this year: . John Hogan Sept 9 Letter to DeSmith .
And an extra document from vocational specialist Earl Thompson – a REAL vocation and rehab professional – who had added clarification on the real extent of Dave’s disabilities earlier: . Thompson Letter .
EDITOR’S NOTE: Attorneys John Hogan and Ron Katz will be on a discussion panel with NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith on sports concussions at the Santa Clara Sports Law Symposium next Thursday, Sept. 16th (click HERE to visit the site) – more on that later.
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.