EDITOR’S NOTE: Is there a pattern here? As always, nothing ever really changes with the NFL (and the NFLPA by association). After years of propaganda and misinformation, the League announced that Dr. No Ira Casson and Dr. Yes Elliot Pellman would no longer be running the MTBI Committee (that’s the MILD Traumatic Brain Injury Committee – LoL!). Just like when he was first brought on board to replace Gene Upshaw in 2009, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith announced that he was firing the Groom Law Group because it was a conflict of interest. (But according to their latest tax returns, it turns out the NFLPA still managed to pay Groom Law Group over $1 million in fees last year.) And just like the San Diego Chargers’ controversial Dr. DWI Chao lobbied on the NFL’s behalf to ensure that Junior Seau’s brain did NOT get into the hands of pathologist and CTE scientist Dr. Bennet Omalu. It seems clear that none of these people have any intention of real change – it’s all about how much less it costs to hire PR spin doctors to change public perceptions instead. We were debating which title would be more appropriate for this post: Different Day, Same Crap! or You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!
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So now comes this latest piece from Patrick Hruby that finds Dr. Yes Elliot Pellman still working deep inside the NFL. Re-posted from Sports on Earth with permission from Patrick.
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The Wrong Man For The Job

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Gene Marie UpshawA few years ago, we could hear the cussing all the way from NFLPA Headquarters in Washington DC when someone explained the meaning of our Gene Marie Antoinette “Let ‘em eat cake” picture to Gene Upshaw. Well, after hearing Judge Magnuson’s comments about retired players objections to the proposed NFL Films settlement offer, we decided to post a new Marie Antoinette picture (you can see it at the bottom of this post). But first, a little background – here’s the article from the Boston Herald/Associated Press reporters who were covering the hearing in the courtroom yesterday:
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BostonHerald

NFL retiree publicity rights settlement approved

Monday, April 8, 2013
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MINNEAPOLIS — The $50 million settlement between the NFL and a group of retired players over publicity rights was given preliminary approval Monday by a federal judge who likened some of the retirees to petulant children for complaining about the money now that it has been awarded.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Our friend, Spencer Kopf, called in and was miffed to read an e-mail from Jeff Nixon that described the NFLPA’s great historical contributions to advancing the livelihood of its players. The story was just that: A story. The real history and events during the negotiations of the 1982 strike were well-documented and supported by many of the players who were actually there when it all went down. Here’s Spencer’s letter:
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Fantasy FootballDear Jeff,
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I have been asked by the undersigned former players to address your most recent communication to the NFL Alumni. In your March 2, 2013 post, you wrote:
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In 1982, our NFL Players Association demanded, among other things, that its members receive 55% of the league’s gross revenues. The owners told us to take a hike. So we did, and we didn’t return until seven regular-season games had been lost. The owners were forced to return $50 million to the networks. Although we were not successful in getting 55% of League revenues, we did accomplish some things that are still having a lasting impact on current players.
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If by “we” you mean the NFLPA itself, you could not be wider off the mark. The players of the past certainly deserve credit for accomplishments that have benefited players of the present. However, by juxtaposing “our NFL Players Association” with “we” you have created (perhaps unintentionally) a false sense of equivalence. If the history of the NFLPA has anything to teach us, it’s that the NFLPA has never acted as if it and its past constituents were one and the same.
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Another inside look at how the NFLPA functions at its core particularly when it comes to retired players: Bruce Laird spent many years alongside Sam Havrilak as officers of the local chapter for the NFLPA in Baltimore. And during many of those years, Bruce and his fellow alumni also ran Fourth and Goal, a nonprofit and advocacy group for retired players which managed to provide assistance to those players in need. Now that George Martin’s NFL Alumni has been marginalized, it seems that the NFLPA only recently noticed that Bruce and Sam have been running Fourth and Goal while also working within their Baltimore chapter! Hard to tell if the PA is trying to clean house now that the Alumni is gone or if they only just realized that Bruce and Sam have been voicing their opinions for years about the real plight of retired players. Perhaps Gene Upshaw stopped by to remind them…
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Today I was reminded again of the firestorm that followed a single comment I’d made several years ago: “I wish I never played football.” It was an interview I had done with Jeff Pearlman from Sports Illustrated back in December 2009. You can read the full article –  click HERE.
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At first, I took a lot of heat from many other football players – active and retired – with each of them interpreting my words differently. Never mind the rants from fans and armchair quarterbacks! But over time, I received a lot of support from my fellow retirees who understand all too well what I really meant. In fact, this spring, Hall of Famer Lem Barney said much the same thing:
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Hall of Famer Lem Barney wishes he’d never played football

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More news on the battle against the NFLPA. Hausfeld LLP issued a public statement on behalf of retired football players to Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, stating the case for the expulsion of the NFL Players Association from the AFL-CIO. We’re also including the 10-page letter that was sent to Mr. Trumka detailing how the NFLPA has consistently broken with true Union tradition and principles in the treatment of its retirees as a normal way of doing business.
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Retired NFL Players Request AFL-CIO Expel NFLPA

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First, some news and the intro: Retired players lost Round 1 in their battle to wrest control of their pensions and benefits away from the NFLPA. In her final motion filed last week in Minnesota court, Judge Nelson dismissed the Eller et al lawsuit brought against the NFLPA, Tom Brady and Mike Vrabel. That said, much of the motion left several issues open that will allow Hausfeld LLP and Zelle Hofmann to file an appeal shortly. What continues to be unclear is how the NFLPA could actually declare that they had negotiated retired players benefits when they were decertified as Union during the lockout last year. Magically, retired players benefits were negotiated in the short period after the Union recertified and then announced the shiny new CBA they had finalized. Got that? More analysis on this development in a future post.
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Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner:

THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS
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Wednesday, 2 May 2011
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BY EVAN WEINER
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
COMMENTARY
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I didn’t know Junior Seau although I met him on the day he was drafted into the National Football League in 1990 and probably interviewed him after a football game a few times more. From all accounts, he was a fearsome presence on the football field; a killer who at times could control a game defensively.
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But Junior Seau didn’t live to be a ripe old age and until an autopsy is performed and a police investigation is complete, there is no need to speculate about the circumstances surrounding Seau’s death other than he was found dead of a shotgun wound on the morning of May 2, 2012 about 22 years after the San Diego Chargers football team called his name at the annual National Football League event.
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The gun wound should strike a nerve among former players. It seems that is becoming a way of life and death among NFL alum suffering from life altering injuries that probably came from years and years of absorbing hits on the football field. People do hear about former NFL players but there seems to be no tracking of high school and college players who years after their football careers ended killed themselves.
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As big a deal as the League and Commissioner Goodell made of the Saints’ bounty program, you’d think it was something that no one ever knew about over the years and years that it’s been going on at all levels of the game. This story’s been in the headlines for the past couple of week and Roger Goodell finally issued his ruling earlier this week. It didn’t take long for new stories to come out that covered the underside of the story. Here are two of those headlines from FOX Sports’ Alex Marvez and A.J. Perez.
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We’ll be discussing these along with many other legal and medical issues that affect retired players at our upcoming Conference April 20 – 22 in Las Vegas. Be sure to register HERE and book your rooms and flight.

NFL suspends Saints coach for one year

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If you haven’t signed up to attend our Second Annual Independent Football Veterans Conference this April 20 – 22 in Las Vegas, you may want to book your plane tickets and rooms this week while the rates are still low. Sign up for our Conference and reserve your room by clicking HERE. This year, we’ll be be using a different format to allow us to present more information and answer more questions that retired players have been asking:
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What’s the latest news on the lawsuit against the NFLPA? When the NFLPA decertified just after the lockout this summer, legally and technically they had no right to represent current or retired players. Yet magically, the Legacy Fund and other benefits suddenly appeared in the weeks immediately following the ratification of the new CBA and recertification of the NFLPA. All with virtually no input or vote from the majority of retired players. We’ll have representatives from some of the law firms there to discuss what has happened so far.
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Why is it that every time a song or a film gets played or sold, a musician, an actor or a composer gets paid a royalty? So why aren’t retired football players paid anything whenever they’re in a video game or on a DVD?
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What are some of the more recent discoveries in concussions and traumatic brain injuries? Is there anything I can do to slow down or improve my mind and my memory?
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And what about concussions? Most of us suffered from countless concussions over our careers. Our coaches and managers taught us to call them ‘zingers’ and sent us back into the game as quickly as possible. And what about the long-term effects? If the League and the owners denied most of us any disability benefits from the effects of concussions, yet in creating the 88 Plan, they finally acknowledged those long-term effects only after it’s taken its final toll from our families both financially and emotionally.
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There are so many lawsuits currently fighting for every player’s attention, hear all the important issues and present your questions to the panel on concussions and equipment. We’ll be covering concussions and equipment on both days of the Conference: On Friday, our law panels will be discussing the legal aspects and what’s being done today as well as reviewing future action. On Saturday, our medical and neurological panels will be addressing topics ranging from how to detect and recognize the symptoms of a brain injury to questions such as just how effective have helmets been in protecting players from concussions?
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And how about the Legacy Fund? Some of you are only finally receiving your retroactive checks while many others are still waiting for return calls from the benefits office in Baltimore. And why were the widows overlooked for the increase?
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Why are more players winning their Social Security Disability and California Workers Compensation cases than those reaching favorable Disability and Pension verdicts with their own Plan? And just how legal is the Plan itself and the way it’s been managed? And just who do those people who run the Plan work for anyway? A panel of Disability and Workers Compensation attorneys will be there to discuss the latest cases and answer your questions.
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If the NFL gets to pick the best of the best out of all the college football teams, then what responsibilities should they – and the universities who benefit from their lucrative football programs – bear when those players sustain life-changing injuries? For many of these college players, the football scholarship is just that: A scholarship based on their abilities as an athlete. Attorney Steve Berman’s firm has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA on behalf of college athletes and will be sitting on a panel that will prove to be very informative.
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What new findings have come out of hyperbaric oxygen treatments and how will these new studies advance the general use of HBOT treatments not only for football players but also for our returning veterans and for everyone else who has ever had a concussion? Hear what some of the foremost experts in the field have to say about how much more quickly hyperbaric treatments are becoming accepted as one of the most cost-effective ways to treat concussions and brain injuries.
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And The Amen Clinic will also be back to present results of three new brain studies they’ve completed over the past year.
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I’m so excited about this year’s Conference that I know I’ve gone over the Top 10 Questions we all want to ask! The full list of our panelists’ biographies will be posting up this week. Stay tuned!
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So be sure to sign up for our Conference and reserve your room by clicking HERE!
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Yesterday, a story made its way across the sports networks about an 11-page letter from attorney and player/agent advisor David Cornwell criticizing NFLPA Executive Director’s performance in general and his handling of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in particular. Interestingly, one of the first posts about this memo actually came from the NFL.
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Some of you may recall that when Gene Upshaw passed away suddenly just before the beginning of the Players Inc. trial and the NFLPA subsequently went through a long search process for a new Executive Director. Among some of the leading candidates were retired player Troy Vincent and attorney David Cornwell. DeMaurice Smith emerged as the winner much to the surprise of many people. Cornwell takes issue with Smith’s version of his successes in running the PA and the CBA negotiations, as well as how he’s kow-towed to the League on player discipline issues. Most retired players could add at least another 11 pages to your letter, Mr. Cornwell!
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Cornwell takes issue with NFLPA leader Smith in 11-page letter

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EDITOR’S NOTE: A copy of NFL Alumni COO Ron George’s Memo to Chapter Presidents arrived in our Inboxes this morning. Here it is in its entirety:
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From: Ronald George
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2012
To: Chapter Presidents
Cc: George Martin; Joe Pisarcik; Randy Minniear
Subject: FoxSports Article
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Dear Chapter Presidents,
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Below you will find links to two articles written by FoxSports.com that were posted today.
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On January 13, 2012, I called the NFLPA office to inquire about the Legacy benefit. I was instructed to call Cynthia Timpson at the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle office to discuss the matter. My late husband was a pre-93 player, and from my understanding the 2012 CBA agreement states, “All players who vested under the Bert Bell/Pete Rozell NFL Retirement Plan prior to 1993 would get an increase.” I anticipated her return call and was unprepared for her disrespectful remarks. I have never been so disappointed in the treatment I received that day; however, it should not have surprised me since that seemed to be the status quo whenever I have called seeking information from any of the NFL-related offices.
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We’ve got some news and thoughts that have come in from two of the retirees out there and felt it would be best to share it with everyone here in one post.
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This past year, Larry Kaminski has been going through the California Workers Compensation process to gain access to his disability benefits.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: We just received an update from disability attorney John Hogan on another of his recent disability applications on behalf of another retired football player. He also included a copy of the Disability Board’s short 3-page boilerplate ruling.
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Attached is a recent decision I received from the Bell/Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan’s Disability Initial Claims Committee (DICC) finding that a former player was entitled to Inactive Benefits. (It was filed prior to Sept. 1st, so the new CBA rules do not apply and we are seeking Football Degenerative benefits.) continue reading »