Is It Just an NFL Crisis?

19 December 2013

An update from ABC This Week on Football’s Concussion Crisis – with a Who’s Who guest list:

 

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While we’ve been vehemently opposed to Ron Mix on his stance to promote the proposed NFL Films Settlement offer as one of the named Plaintiffs, we’ve also worked with Ron to inform retired players of the impending changes to California Workers Compensation rules. It looks like Bill AB-1309 will go into effect after Sept. 15, 2013, blocking any future claims from being filed. You can watch Ron’s overview from our Football Veterans Conference in Las Vegas this past May by clicking HERE.
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And here’s the video with Ron’s discussion on Workers Comp:
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With Bill 1309 scheduled for a final vote in California, Workers Compensation rules will be changing drastically to block most retired professional athletes from applying in California. Of course, the NFL is one of the groups lobbying strongly to have your rights limited once again. Retired NFL football player and Workers Comp attorney, Ron Mix, recently sent out a letter and form to me outlining the main points of the new Bill as well as giving retired players an opportunity to file their applications for potential Workers Compensation benefits before your right to file disappears.
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NOTE: This is not a solicitation by or on behalf of Ron Mix. This is a general notification to all retired players who may still qualify to file for their earned Workers Compensation benefits. You can also consult another attorney should you choose not to engage Ron. But retired players need to act fast before the window closes before Sept. 15th!
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Ron Mix told me that his office is already backed up with filings so he was gracious enough to provide the phone numbers of several other attorneys who may be able to help you get your initial claim filed on time:

  • Mel Owens (949) 452-0700
  • Matt Hill (949) 572-3203
  • Dennis Thomas (714) 843-1110
  • Ron Mix (619) 688-9630 (we’re including Ron’s number anyway)

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Our phone lines and Inboxes have been tied up since last Thursday when it was first announced that there was a tentative settlement offer being presented to the court by the mediator in the NFL concussion lawsuits. On first review, there are some details that haven’t really been made available yet and this spin is also starting to look very familiar. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of speculation and misinformation out there already pouring out of the media and we’re just as guilty with trying to second-guess much of what’s been said. But we’ve had some conversations with many of the retired players and lawyers in an attempt to get more facts as well as to calm things down.
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Something that’s interesting to note: All the media – especially the mainstream sports media with the likes of ESPN which axed its ties to the League of Denial documentary with PBS – have been posting opinion pieces and misinformation about this settlement proposal. Most of the people directly involved with the litigation have informed us that they have very few details yet. The only party in this whole mess who have NOT said anything is… You guessed it. The League. Is this another typical NFL pit-everyone-against-each-other maneuver? Hmmm. And if you do want some real gossip, check out this piece on who may have been part of the negotiations: Click HERE.
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George Visger asked us to post his thoughts here online as part of a better strategy for everyone: The best answer is, “We don’t have all the facts yet. Let’s just wait and see.”
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George VisgerI owe Jason Luckasevic a HUGE apology.
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JASON, I APOLOGIZE FOR MY COMMENTS I E-MAILED YESTERDAY.
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I will follow up by sending this to everyone I emailed my displeasure at the settlement to.
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Again, I apologize.
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I know you have been in this battle for the last 6 years. You told me years ago, prior to it even being filed, you were in it for the long run. I remember meeting with you and an attorney from a big bad firm that was involved in the settlement with Big Tobacco. You were looking to team with them as no law firm has the resources to take on the NFL conglomerate alone.
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After months of review, one law firm after another turned tail and ran. You called me that day to state, “George, we will get this done for all the families who have suffered. We’ll find lawyers with enough backbone and integrity to go after these NFL with us.”
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As soon as I heard the announcement Thursday of the NFL’s proposed settlement in the NFL head injury case, I fell for the NFL’s propaganda. When I read stories about the amount and payment schedule over 20 years, I was livid.
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“What is this garbage?” I thought. “$750 a month paid out over 20 years?!!”
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As I have a tendency to do, I jumped the gun. I fired off upset before I had any of the facts – other than the “facts” we were fed which were only partial truths. It may be more propaganda from the NFL as a last ditch, Hail Mary attempt to divide us once again. The truth of the matter is that  Jason Luckasevic and the other key attorneys involved still don’t know the details yet: Exact amounts, who gets what or how it will all be divided or the process of rejecting this proposal.
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You stated you need to make sure it’s even real money and you need more time to sort out the facts.
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I believe you and I hope all my NFL brothers I may have fired up (and some who got me fired up) will also do the same.
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Jason Luckasevic is the ONLY attorney who has been involved from the inception of this case when it was only a “potential” case. Others have joined the fray and may be making more noise than Jason but that’s been all right with him as it is with me.
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You did more than what you promised me years ago. You said, “I can’t promise you anything or even if we will ever get a suit out of this, but I promise you we will do everything in our power to get it done if there’s any possibility at all.”
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Thanks for keeping your word. And again I apologize for ever doubting your integrity.
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My family thanks you too.
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George Visger
San Francisco 49ers
1980 & 1981
Super Bowl XVI
Survivor of 9 NFL-Caused brain surgeries
Benefactor of ZERO NFL Benefits
The Visger Group
Traumatic Brain Injury Consulting
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I spoke to Jason and other parties involved in the suit this morning. Some of the terms have not even been worked out and when they do, we will all have a say in it. The final settlement must be approved by the players and attorneys. If we don’t like the settlement we don’t approve it. It’s that simple.
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PS: My actions and statements are classic examples of what those of us who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injuries and CTE face.

  • Poor Judgement
  • Lack of Impulse control
  • And Anger Management Issues

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beat a dead horse award
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Fellow Former Players:Larry Kaminski at Home
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I was flabbergasted at the announcement made yesterday regarding the settlement decision on the concussion suit. I have been working on a settlement for several years in a CA Workers Comp case that only recently came to a close. I was poked, prodded, analyzed and put under a microscope. The end results were “mental impairment caused by continuous trauma to the head.” The folio of information and exams is about 8 inches thick!
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I had already been denied NFL disability because I filed “too late” and was “too old” to qualify (!), plus their evaluation group said ‘NOT QUALIFIED.’ They basically said if I wasn’t happy with the decision, sue us.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: In his usual detailed manner, Evan Weiner takes a very interesting look at ESPN and its long-standing business relationship with the NFL over the years and how it resulted in ESPN’s withdrawal from their partnership with PBS Frontline. The League of Denial documentary on football concussions is now front and center in the media – not exactly what they expected when they made that decision to pull out. Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner:
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ESPN’s Football Faux Pas, NFL Concussions League of Denial
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By Evan Weiner
August 29, 2013
SportsTalkFlorida
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Goodell_WhaaaMake no mistake; the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN cable TV networks are not set up to be journalism bastions. There were two stories recently reported in the New York Times which clearly illustrated what ESPN is all about. Disney’s sports franchise pulled out of a partnership with PBS’s Frontline to produce a two-part series on head injuries suffered by NFL players. The New York Times reported that the National Football League pressured the very company that pays them billions of dollars to get out of the “League of Denial” presentation. The New York Times on Monday carried a piece on the paper’s front page about the ESPN partnership with the University of Louisville and how the company has been a critical component of the rise of the school’s football program.
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Why?

28 August 2013

We’re quickly approaching the deadline for Opting Out of the NFL Films Settlement offer deadline this Friday and we can’t help but think about all the different “Whys?” that keep coming up in our Comments Section as more and more retired players continue to Opt Out. In past posts, we’ve often compared the NFL to that creepy little neighborhood kid who used to come over to your house to play Monopoly. He never liked to lose and he always cheated and made up his own rules as he went along.
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NFL monopoly
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Judge Judy Shake My HeadWell, it looks like retired players may finally be getting the NFL’s attention. When they start trying to censor the conversation, you know they’re getting worried. After years of simply denying and spinning out fiction with phony committees and lying “doctor” experts, the League started a new PR initiative to give the appearance of caring about their employees, the very ingredient that makes up the NFL Money Machine. You have new safety rules and even slick posters put up in all the team locker rooms. But absolutely nothing substantial has been done to address the consequences from decades of denial and ignoring the damage done to the lives of all the men from years past. . continue reading »

Most retired players and fans remember Fred Dryer (NY Giants, LA Rams 1969 – 1981). As the original lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the NFL and NFL Films, Fred and the other five co-plaintiffs have watched as the lawsuit was diverted from their original goal of finally getting back visual and image rights for ALL retired players after decades of unauthorized and uncompensated use by the League. Fred did a recent interview on SBNation’s Uffsides with host Matt Ufford.
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Jim_MacFarlandJim McFarland officially filed his opt out from the Dryer vs NFL Films Settlement offer with the Minnesota court today. Jim has had a very unique, inside view of things, having been one of two retired players who were invited to participate with the NFLPA (Jim was voted to the NFLPA Executive Committee in 2010) during some of the early phases of the last CBA negotiations with the NFL a couple of years ago. Jim later expressed frustration at his lack of a vote in any of the matters discussed and how many of his suggestions were ignored or dismissed with little consideration. . Jim was also with us at the early meetings at Hausfeld’s offices when he was taking part in CBA discussions with the PA. With six years playing for the Bills, Cardinals and Dolphins in the 70’s and his post-football career as a practicing attorney in Nebraska, Jim continues to bring a unique perspective on the NFL Films deal with his filing against this Settlement offer. We’ve uploaded a copy of Jim MacFarland’s opt-out 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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Nothing more we can add to this.
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Schutt Helmet Warning Label

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This post came in from Rick Eber in answer to Jerry Sherk’s comments on our Monday Morning Chuckle post – click HERE to read first.
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Hausfeld you're fired
Jerry,
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I agree with your thinking. Good call.
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Let me see if I understand correctly.
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Bob Stein and Tom Ward work for the original Dryer plaintiffs. Like their clients, they oppose the settlement supporting the opt-out option. Because the court might approve the settlement, Bob and Tom need to submit their fees along with supporting documents or they won’t get paid for years of work. This means that Bob and Tom actually don’t want to get paid unless they are forced to do so by the courts. Fact is, Bob and Tom are willing to delay payment of their legal fees by opposing the settlement. And Hausfeld sees this as being – my word: two-faced. Makes you wonder!
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Bob and Tom are actually working against their own financial interests by opposing the settlement. Talk about commitment. How many of us would fight to delay and actually run the risk of losing a million plus for a “fairness principle” and retired teammates?
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If this settlement is forced upon Bob and Tom, they still deserve to be paid for their work like any other good attorney!
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“Like any other good attorney” is an interesting notion. I ask myself, what would Hausfeld do if they were in the same situation as Bob and Tom? For example: The concussion settlement team reaches an agreement with the NFL that Hausfeld believes is unfair and inappropriate; consequently, Hausfeld opposes the settlement just like Bob and Tom. In following this example, I would certainly then expect Hausfeld to NOT submit his million-plus fees to the court just as they are criticizing Bob and Tom for doing now. Fair? Or does anyone believe the Hausfeld firm would be considered – what’s that word? – hypocritical by submitting their legal fees to the court even though they oppose the settlement… just like Bob and Tom?
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In this example, if Hausfeld hypocritically asked the court for fees, would they “take credit” by giving the court a list of contributions they made to the settlement effort to justify their fees? I would think yes, just as Bob and Tom need to do.  Or would Hausfeld submit the request for fees to the court without any “take credit” evidence of contribution to the settlement and expect the court to approve? If the answer is yes, we have no chance in the concussion litigation!
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The real answer is simple: Bob and Tom don’t want this deal but they deserve payment even if it’s settled against their will and they need to be properly compensated for their contribution to the case. Hausfeld would certainly do the same. This is a legal process trap for Bob and Tom that Hausfeld is manipulating in their “newsletter” thing that is more propaganda than legitimate communication, in my humble opinion. End of story. Period!
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This attack on Bob and Tom is a Hausfeld canard that wreaks of hypocrisy and sophism!
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What’s scary? This is the critical thinking-power of a law firm I once considered to represent me in the concussion litigation lawsuit! When asked, I would not recommend any firm that attacks an alumni brother to anyone. If they give us up this easily on the NFL Films lawsuit, I can only imagine how quickly they’ll sell us out on our concussion lawsuits!
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Rick-EberTake care, Jerry!
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Rick Eber
Falcons, Chargers
1968 – 1972
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NFL Déja Vu

30 July 2013

Einstein Quote

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I received my latest Retirement Plan notification today that the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan was underfunded once again. All pension plans are required by federal law to inform its beneficiaries about such events or else most of us would never even know about these things going on in a $10 billion a year business. I guess that’s why they pay Roger Goodell $35 million+ a year while DeMaurice Smith managed to collect a $3 million bonus a couple of years ago for the fine job he did in negotiating the 10-year CBA.
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And here we are being told by the NFL and their lawyer buddies that their $50 million Settlement Offer in the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit is absolutely the best deal they can possibly make even though most – or none – of that money will ever reach retired players hands. They can’t even fund retirement players’ current pension and disability plans and now they want you to get nothing for your images and footage from your role in past games.
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Here’s the interesting thing: I had forgotten that we also got a similar notice last year in July! In other words, our pension plan has basically been underfunded since the CBA was signed over two years ago! We’ve uploaded both notices on Scribd for easy viewing on our Blog and to make it available for downloading and printing, especially to those of you who may not even be on their mailing list. 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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Your Monday Chuckle

29 July 2013

This arrived in our Spam folders this morning:
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Mitchell Responsible
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To Hausfeld LLP et al:
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pigs_flyWell, if you’ve forgotten about our past posts and the subsequent veiled and not-so-veiled threats from you and your associates we’ve received this year over the Dryer vs NFL Films Settlement offer, it might be a good idea to go back and read them first. This is a blog. We voice OPINIONS. It’s an editorial right protected under the First Amendment. The ACLU will have a field day with you and the NFL if you’d like to take that topic up with them.
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In the meantime,”as responsible journalists,” we’ll certainly post your item on OUR blog as soon as you and your partner firms do the following:

  • Operate as ethical attorneys;
  • Represent your clients;
  • Provide full disclosure on backroom side deals with the NFL;
  • Provide full Opt-Out and Objection forms immediately to all members of the class;
  • Publicly disclose all Opt-Outs and Objections immediately instead of blocking them from view until just before the next hearing;
  • Stop client-shopping and represent and consult with the Original Plaintiffs in this lawsuit.

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Cheaties
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Is it just us or do these people at the NFL (and the NFLPA) always live by a completely different set of rules that only apply to them? We’ve had every dirty trick in the book thrown at us with all kinds of veiled threats and inferences of wrongdoing for expressing the opinions of the many. And in each instance, we’ve been backed up by those who know better. And we’re still here thanks to the broad support of the retired player community out there.

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Gregg B Surgery
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OK. Got your attention now? That guy with all the staples on the back of his head is… me. This picture was taken four years ago in 2009 after I finally came out of a 3-week coma. During that coma, I went in and out of consciousness but still remember nothing to this day. At one point, the doctors made a quick decision to operate which probably saved my life. Not many of my old football buddies know about this life-changing event in my life. But I’ve decided to tell everyone about it now for several reasons. Mostly, it’s because like some of the earlier posts have been saying, I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE! And whether you want to believe it or not, everything that happens in life is connected in one way or another. I hope that by telling my own story, I can convince more of you retired players that the Dryer vs NFL (Films) Settlement offer is a really bad deal in more ways than one and that each of you needs to get off the couch and at the very least, vote against it here on Dave’s Blog. And then either Opt Out yourself or hire a decent attorney to fill out the paperwork for you. If you end up not doing anything and losing your rights, that might not be the only thing you’ll end up losing.
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