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! . 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. .
EDITOR’S NOTE: At our recent Conference, we covered the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit and subsequent Settlement Offer from the NFL. Our first day had attorney Yakub Hazzard explaining some of the basics of your individual rights (click HERE for that video). Then on Saturday, we had Ron Mix putting up the case in favor of the proposed Settlement (click HERE) followed by attorney Michael Ciresi with a legal opinion against the deal (click HERE) and Fred Dryer as a retired player and original plaintiff on why he and his original team of plaintiffs are against the Settlement (click HERE). Insomuch as there was a gag order placed on all parties during the hearings in Minnesota Federal Court, we did our best to report on as much of the proceedings and behind-the-scenes maneuvering as possible. . We need to remind everyone once again that when the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit was first filed in 2009, its original – and primary – goal was to provide fair payment to retired players for the NFL’s past, present and future use of their publicity rights, particularly in NFL Films productions. Here’s a simple outline based on what was discussed at the IFV Conference this year: . PRESENT LAWSUIT STATUS . On April 5, 2013 the Court issued an Order for Preliminary Approval of the proposed Settlement as advocated by the NFL and some new Plaintiffs and their attorneys. Immediately, the NFL PR machine promoted it publicly as a done deal. Far from it. The actual Order directs that a Notice of the proposal be sent in May to the entire class – that’s you and all past NFL players – for consideration. If the proposed Settlement receives Final Approval from the Court in September, each NFL player who does not opt out will be legally bound by its terms. But now the real battle begins. .continue reading »
Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner: . . THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS . BY EVAN WEINER COMMENTARY . The NFL job audition includes making the “suicide squad” rather than the special teams squad .
May 11, 2013
Examiner . The National Football League is open for business again. Players are on the field showing coaches that they can indeed play football even though the season is months away. The players showcasing their talents aren’t the normal, everyday players. No – these guys on the field are young guys trying to catch the eye of a coach and make a team and it doesn’t matter if they are first round draft picks or free agents hoping to just get to a training camp in July. . Not much is said about the long term health of these guys; they are just anxious to play football. Another one-time former football player, George Sauer, Jr. passed away at 69 years of age this week from congestive heart failure and Alzheimer’s disease. There may be some unintentional irony in Sauer’s passing from Alzheimer’s disease as he walked away from the New York Jets and the National Football League after the 1970 season because he found pro football dehumanizing and it “both glorifies and destroys bodies” as he described in a 1983 article in the New York Times. . Sauer was a wide receiver. . The young guys trying to impress the coaches in all likelihood never heard of George Sauer. But they probably know Tedy Bruschi who played for the New England Patriots (1996 – 2008) and is now a football commentator on ESPN. .continue reading »
Brain concussions. CTE. Alcohol and drugs. Take these issues that have only recently become more openly discussed along with 101 more ingredients in family life and you have a very complicated recipe for making a family work (or not). Family life isn’t easy at times as it is but when you stir in all these other layers from a career in professional football, life off the field becomes incredibly complex for most families. Watch as Brandi Winans (formerly married to the recently departed Jeff Winans – Bills, Saints, Buccaneers, Raiders 1973 – 1980; Jeff played with teammates Dave Pear and Gene Upshaw on the winning Super Bowl XV Raiders in 1980) and John Houser (LA Rams, Cowboys, Cardinals 1957 – 1963) share personal stories of family survival with the audience of their very different lives after football. . YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video. .
. Our good friend, Jennifer Thibeaux, (who can never be acknowledged enough for all of her advocacy work on behalf of retired players and who has managed to help us film each of our three Conferences so we can share them with the community at large) had declined our invitation to be up on stage with Brandi and John. But as she worked through the post-Conference task of editing and uploading all of this footage, her thoughts kept taking her back to her personal family experiences of having lived through the football life. Late last night, I received a personal message from Jennifer about how this has affected her own family and why she continues to help us get the message out to the other families in particular and to the fans in general. . Here’s Jennifer’s message along with her audio comments: . Robert, . I took some time and collected my thoughts about my football experiences. This is by no means the end of my sharing…but it is my way to begin the process of getting it out of my head and into the universe properly. I have tried to characterize my own experiences so that I could give it the proper brand. The best I can come up with is, “Indefinite Hell“. While I was designing new bling tees for my Tee business, I was compelled to design this brand into a Tee (below – click image to enlarge). . . Has an interesting meaning both verbally and visually. After I made the tee, it was officially time to speak. I hope you can share these beginning thoughts with the DavePear.com family – my family – as we fight for human rights and against injustices..Love you all with every ounce of my being …and I’m in this to win. . Jennifer .
. Click the PLAY button to listen to Jennifer’s personal commentary (13 minutes). .
The original lawsuit against NFL Films was filed with Fred Dryer as the original lead plaintiff with Elvin Bethea, Jim Marshall, Joe Senser, Dan Pastorini and Ed White joining him early in the process. Bob Stein and Tom Ward were the original attorneys working with Fred Dryer. Naturally, Bob Stein and Tom Ward are excluded from any attorney fees (as are the original six plaintiffs) by the NFL group that includes Hausfeld LLP, Zimmerman & Reed and Gustafson Gluek, all for having the gall to ask for what the NFL really owes ALL NFL players: Money. . In this third part of our discussion. Fred makes a strong and passionate argument against the current Settlement Offer as presented and endorsed by the NFL and a separate group of retired players as recruited by Hausfeld and Zimmerman and the NFL. Questions were allowed during the discussion and you will hear the overwhelming objections from the audience to the NFL’s “final” Offer. And the Original Six Plaintiffs were all present or represented at our Conference (Jim Marshall’s wife managed to attend on his behalf and you can see her asking one of the questions from the audience). And as we pointed out earlier, it’s interesting that the so-called solid majority of other players and attorneys on the side of the NFL Settlement Offer could not muster one single lawyer or even one other player aside from Ron Mix to stand up for their wonderful deal. . YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video. .
Attorney Michael Ciresi (Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi) is one of the attorneys representing the Original Six Plaintiffs in the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit. Ciresi was the attorney who made the case against the Settlement Offer in Minnesota Federal Court while Dan Gustafson made the arguments for the Settlement Offer on behalf of a new group of added plaintiffs. In this second of three segments from our Dryer vs NFL Films discussion, you will hear Mike Ciresi give his legal arguments to retired players in the audience on why this is a one-sided offer made in bad faith.(You can read all Panelist biographies by clickingHERE.) . YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video. .
As we were planning our Conference over the last few weeks leading up to this past weekend, we had many discussions on the best way to present both sides of the Settlement Offer to the retired football player community so each one of you can make an informed decision. We finally decided to invite each attorney who made the final presentations in Federal Court to Judge Magnuson in Minnesota: attorney Dan Gustafson from the firm Gustafson Gluek PLLC accepted on behalf of the players whose names were listed in the Settlement Offer (you can review a copy of that offer by clicking HERE) and attorney Michael Ciresi of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi accepted on behalf of the original six plaintiffs. Of the six original plaintiffs, five of them managed to show up for the Conference. Ron Mix graciously accepted to present his reasons for accepting the offer while Fred Dryer – the original named plaintiff in Dryer vs NFL Films – joined Mike Ciresi to present their opposing position. . Unfortunately, by late Friday, we received confirmation that attorney Dan Gustafson would not be attending because of a family matter and no replacement would be sent to replace him, leaving Ron Mix to make the case for accepting the Settlement as well as answering questions from the audience. This Settlement Offer has been promoted as the best deal retired players can expect from the NFL while also declaring that only a very tiny but vocal minority of retirees were opposed to it. Quite frankly, we were surprised that those parties with their overwhelming majority didn’t manage to find one single replacement for attorney Gustafson to present their claim of a done deal. Ron Mix managed to maintain a dignified and professional approach in explaining many of the still-unanswered details of this 160+ page Settlement Offer while plaintiffs’ attorney Mike Ciresi and Fred Dryer each made their presentations of opposing what they believed to be a very one-sided and typically worthless Offer which included punitive expenses to be taken out of the Offer to fight those who would oppose it. While many in the audience vented their anger and frustration with the Offer towards Ron Mix personally, we truly believe that Ron sincerely felt that this was the best deal possible from a pragmatic point of view and as such, we need to respect Ron for being there to present his opinions in a very dignified manner. Our reasoning is that even with all their resources, no one else was sent to back Ron up was perhaps a way to damage Ron’s standing with retired players as a strong advocate for Workers Compensation rights, specifically in the State of California. Ron has successfully fought for Workers Comp benefits over many years for hundreds of professional athletes and now continues to personally carry on the battle to oppose California Bill AB 1309 which will eliminate Workers Comp claims for professional athletes in California. The League certainly benefits by eliminating these claims and damaging Ron’s standing in the retiree community would certainly be a side benefit of leaving him to defend their Settlement Offer on his own this past weekend. . We’ve decided to agree to disagree with Ron on a personal level while still holding him in high regard for his years of dedication in fighting for your Workers Compensation rights and benefits. As you will also see during this often-heated two+ hour discussion/debate, contrary to what the true minority who are attempting to paint the rest of you as a a loud minority, there didn’t seem to be anyone in the audience who supported the Settlement Agreement. Because of the length of this final discussion, we’ve decide to break it up into three separate videos beginning with Ron Mix on behalf of the group supporting the Settlement. Next, we’ll have attorney Michael Ciresi posing his legal position on why the Settlement Offer is clearly not even close to a good deal. Then last – but certainly not least – we’ll have Fred Dryer giving a very passionate point of view on why he’s personally opposed to the NFL’s final best offer, both from a retired football player’s perspective as well as from his very unique position as a Hollywood actor and producer who continues to receive royalties for his work.(Once again, you can read all Panelist biographies by clickingHERE.)
. We’re going to remind all retired players that the NFL’s standard play has always been divide-and-conquer. By putting Ron out there alone on the front line at the last minute to defend their Offer, they can accomplish two things: Continue their failing attempts to show that their Offer is supported by a so-called “majority” of retirees and is being defended by one of your own. And at the same time, they can alienate Ron with retired players so they can damage his long years of work on behalf of retired players’ Workers Compensation benefits, as well as his current efforts to stop California’s Bill AB 1309. They get to kill two birds with one stone. We hope you’ll keep all this in mind when you make your own decision in the NFL Films lawsuit and don’t hold it against Ron for his personal opinion on this single issue. The fact that even with all their resources, neither the NFL nor Hausfeld nor Zimmerman nor Gustafson managed to send a legal spokesperson to argue their case with retired players in an open forum should speak volumes and give you more to think about. . YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video. .
. EDITOR’S NOTE: We just uploaded a copy of the slide deck that Dan Gustafson sent to Ron Mix for presentation to attendees at our Conference. Ron arrived with a FedEx package of printed copies and we managed to scan it in time to put up on the screen for easier viewing and for posterity. You can view this slideshow full screen by clicking on the FullScreen icon in the lower right corner of each slide screen (press ESC to close the slideshow). . continue reading »
EDITOR’S NOTE:This is the official press release issued on behalf of the original plaintiffs regarding the Dryer vs NFL Films Settlement “Offer” sanctioned by the court on Monday. For the record, as you will read in this public announcement, NONE of these original plaintiffs were offered – nor will they accept – individual payments from this lawsuit. Nor are the original attorneys, Bob Stein and Tom Ward! For these participants, it’s an all-for-one-and-one-for-all fight on behalf of ALL retired players and their rights. We’ll be discussing your rights and ALL your options and more at our upcoming 2013 IFV Conference in Las Vegas May 3 – 5. Book your flight and hotel reservations NOW before our special discount rates go away next week -then click HERE to lock in your registration for FREE admission to the most important Conference for retired players in years! . . MINNEAPOLIS, MN — April 9, 2013 — Despite objections made by six individual plaintiffs, on April 5 the Court in the Dryer v. NFL publicity rights case granted preliminary approval of the proposed settlement. Now, all members of the class will have the opportunity to express their opinion on the proposed settlement for the Court to consider before it gives the settlement final approval. . First, to clear up any mis-impressions, the six individual plaintiffs who oppose this settlement — Fred Dryer, Elvin Bethea, Jim Marshall, Dan Pastorini, Joe Senser and Ed White — did not request direct payments for themselves. Instead, they opposed the settlement because it is unfair to the entire class and all class members — there is no assurance that even the neediest players will get one cent. The Dryer Plaintiffs will continue to oppose the settlement because they strongly believe it is unfair to the class of all retired players for many reasons, including: .
Each class member gives up ALL claims for the NFL’s unauthorized past and unlimited future use of his identity to promote the NFL.
There is no guarantee that any class member whose publicity rights will be lost will ever receive payment or benefit through the settlement. Instead, the settlement money goes to existing charities, not players. The proposed settlement does not even identify those charities.
There is no procedure for any class member to submit a claim to receive direct benefits through the settlement and there is no assurance that class members will be able to submit requests to the charities receiving settlement funds.
The settlement does not adequately fund the Licensing Agency or guarantee that it will be capable of generating any revenue. The Licensing Agency merely duplicates existing commercial licensing companies and has no access to NFL game footage.
Well, by now many of you have already taken a look at Monday’s Court Order granting preliminary approval of the settlement offer in the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit.(You can read the filing by clicking HERE.) . And here’s today’s plug for our upcoming Third Annual Independent Football Vets’ Conference May 3 – 5 in Las Vegas. You definitely won’t want to miss our Panel on your rights in general and the NFL Films lawsuit in particular. NO ONE – not the NFL, not the NFLPA, not your agent – has ever explained your rights to you in such detail! Participating on our Panel will be attorney Yakub Hazzard, Bob Stein, retired NFL player and the attorney who got the lawsuit started, along with Hall of Famers Elvin Bethea and Joe DeLameilleure and attorney Shawn Stuckey from Zelle Hoffman (who also played in the NFL). . Yakub Hazzard is co-chair of the Entertainment and Media Litigation Practice at L.A.-based firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P, specializing in music-related and intellectual property disputes. He represents songwriters, musicians, actors, managers, independent record and music publishing companies, apparel companies, and more. Robins, Kaplan recently joined with Bob Stein and Tom Ward to continue the fight for your rights. . Some of the retired players participating in our discussion are lead plaintiffs in the original lawsuit and you will be hearing firsthand about their mistreatment and how the settlement negotiations got diverted by a group of attorneys who neither consulted with them nor informed them of any details during the entire process leading up to this current settlement “offer.” Now that the gag order is no longer in place, ALL retired players can now talk freely about the process and the offer, as well as get informed about your rights and all the options each of you can still exercise. . If you don’t know what just happened in Monday’s Dryer vs NFL Films hearing and the subsequent approved settlement “offer,” you may want to read our other post that includes Judge Magnuson’s “disingenuous” comment about retired players -clickHERE. . With all the lawsuits piling up against the NFL right now, this is definitely one of the most important times that retired players have ever faced in their lifetime. We’ll be discussing these topics and more at our upcoming 2013 IFV Conference in Las Vegas May 3 – 5. Book your flight and hotel reservations NOW before our special discount rates go away next week -then click HERE to lock in your registration for FREE admission to the most important Conference for retired players in years! .
A 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: .
NFL retiree publicity rights settlement approved
Monday, April 8, 2013 . 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. .continue reading »
THIS JUST IN: An Order Granting Preliminary Approval in the Dryer vs NFL Films suit has just been filed in the District Court of Minnesota. Note the new, l-o-n-g list of Plaintiffs in this filing. We now know that the original Plaintiffs were never consulted nor informed of discussions or negotiations. And worse still, many of the newly-listed Plaintiffs had also never even granted permission to have their names added to the Plaintiff’s list on this Preliminary Settlement! And THAT’S the difference between honest lawyers fighting for their clients in an open courtroom and dishonest lawyers looking to make a quick buck at the expense of their clients in backroom dealings. If you DON’T want to have this happen to your concussion lawsuit, you may want to consider changing law firms NOW! . Now that the gag order has finally been lifted, this will definitely be an open discussion at our upcoming 2013 IFV Conference in Las Vegas May 3 – 5. Be sure to book your flights and hotel rooms now – Click HERE! .
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the press announcement as released on behalf of the original plaintiffs in the Dryer vs NFL (Films) lawsuit following last Friday’s hearing in Federal Court in Fort Myers FL. Please note that the NFL’s press release last week was intentionally misleading in their implication that the Settlement was already concluded and accepted. This litigation is far from over as some would have you believe. Certain attorneys had already been counting their upfront $8 million bribe – er, payout – from the NFL. We have been informed by a lot of retired players that they’ve already fired the firm(s) who were (mis)representing them in the NFL (Films) lawsuit. And for those of you who have also not already switched to a more ethical firm to represent your best interests in your concussion lawsuit, you may wish to consider changing firms so they don’t throw you under the bus for ten pieces of silver there as well. . And now that the gag order is being officially lifted from the hearings, we will be opening a full dialog on this case and what it really means for all retired players as a group and not to any individual player in particular. This is going to be one of the important panel discussion topics at our upcoming Third Annual Independent Football Veterans Conference in Las Vegas May 3 – 5.Click HERE to read more and to sign up. .
“Original Dryer Plaintiffs” Oppose Proposed NFL Settlement in Retired Players’ Right of Publicity Lawsuit
Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi recently joined the NFL Films lawsuit and earlier today, Mike Ciresi filed a 23-page response and objections to the NFL’s proposed Settlement Agreement. We uploaded copies of today’s court filing to Scribd for easy viewing on our Blog 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): .
. And we also received an overview from Ron Mix and how he currently views the proposed settlement. We wanted to put it all out there so all of you can now comment and voice your opinions on this litigation for the first time. Please post your comments in the Comments box below so we can have an open dialog about this. .
Here we go again. Another great take-it-or-leave-it settlement offer from the NFL. Let’s see now. The League has been selling all kinds of film footage of the players for years at incredible profit margins while never paying the retired players anything for the rights. Now that they’ve been busted, they want to settle the deal by offering a token amount that’s only going into funds that will cover things like long-term insurance which should have been provided to the older players as part of their retirement package in the first place. No money for retirees but lots for the owners. And then they want to make the cost of appeal and opting out of the class fall on the shoulders of all retired players. And the hearing is set for arguments later this week after they just filed the Settlement proposal. Is that how you readers also see this 164-page deal? No one gets to read the deal until it gets put in front of the court for arguments and acceptance? Still looks like lipstick on a pig. And, of course, the lawyers get paid up front… . We uploaded copies court documents (and the NFL’s press release) from Monday’s Dryer vs NFL/NFL Films filings to Scribd for easy viewing on our Blog 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): . We’ll start with the press release: .
Like the old saying goes, “Charity Begins at Home.” Americans are among the most generous people in the world. Recently, a list was published that actually listed some of the top nonprofits in America and the compensation that their respective CEO’s collected for leading those organizations. It was an eye-opener to see that the CEO’s of certain so-called nonprofits were paid in the millions annually, while others only collected token salaries more in line with their charitable missions. For example, the former head of the Boy Scouts of America was paid over $1 million while the COO of the American Cancer Society almost made $1 million last year. In contrast, the head of the Salvation Army took home a relatively paltry $130,000. . Here’s a snapshot from Charity Watch showing some of their Top 25 Nonprofit CEO Salaries: . . The top salary on this list from 2012 was $2 million+ to Peter Cordeiro who heads the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.You can view the rest of the chart by clicking HERE. . And how much closer to home than Roger Goodell and the NFL? It’s only becoming more widely known that the NFL operates as a 501 (c) 6 nonprofit, with all the special benefits that a nonprofit enjoys. And keep in mind that many years ago, they also received an antitrust exemption from Congress. .continue reading »