Just Say No…

9 September 2010

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.
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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):
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De Smith & Teri Patterson E-mails
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De Smith Response e-mails
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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.”
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De Smith Letter to Dave
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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…
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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.
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Disability Attorney John Hogan took the time to write a professional response to DeMaurice Smith’s letter from January of this year:
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John Hogan Sept 9 Letter to DeSmith
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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:
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Thompson Letter
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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.

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Dave at Pacific Regent Sunrise

Yesterday, I got an encouraging letter forwarded to me from my disability attorney, John Hogan. As most of you know, John has taken on the task of reviewing and preparing my new application for my T&P Disability Benefits from the NFLPA. As part of his process, John is gathering more professional support to back up my case. The letter he sent along is from Earl Thompson, of Integrity Rehabilitation & Testing, and it’s based on his interpretation of a letter that Dr. Hugh S. Unger (the doctor assigned by the NFLPA) had submitted during my application for benefits way back in 1995. (Click on letter to enlarge for reading.) continue reading »