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: .
. ESPN’s Football Faux Pas, NFL Concussions League of Denial . By Evan Weiner August 29, 2013 SportsTalkFlorida . Make 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. .continue reading »
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. .
. 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. . 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. . 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): .
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. .continue reading »
. 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. .continue reading »
The NFLPA just filed their 2013 LM-2 yesterday with the Dept. of Labor as required of all labor unions and associations. This year, it’s a whopping 549 pages long with plenty of disclosure including salaries, payouts and expenses. We’re just starting to look over all the information loaded in this year’s filing and we’ll post more details shortly as we come across interesting details (we encourage all our readers to send us anything you come across or simply post it in the Comments section below). . A couple of items of interest: . p. 555 -Marco Island Marriott Resort & Golf Club was paid $354,796 for the NFLPA’s April and June meetings in 2012. . p. 544 -Kerzner International Resorts in Plantation FL was paid a total of $1,221,137 for a total of FOUR “2013 NFLPA Board Meetings”! (Wha?!!) . p. 264 -The Groom Law Group (who were supposed to be fired by DeMaurice Smith when he took over as NFLPA Executive Director) and also runs and represents not only the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan but also the NFL walked away with $652,045 in fees this year. . p. 55 -Nike paid $11,772,308 in licensing fees. . p. 45 -Attorney Jeffrey Kessler had a $12,846 transaction for Super Bowl tickets and rooms. . Meanwhile, Kessler’s new firm Winston Strawn was paid (his old firm, Dewey LaBoeuf filed for bankruptcy last year):
p. 82 -$3,932,388
p. 538 -$124,592
p. 538 -$46,879
. p. 20 -Nolan Harrison III received $226,055 as Senior Director of Former Players. . p. 18 -Andre Collins only received $169,253 as Director of Former Players. .continue reading »
ADDITIONAL NOTE – ADDED MAY 29, 2013: We received a letter from attorney Dan Gustafson late yesterday and have made some editorial changes as marked in our post below along with important questions that continue to go unanswered. Read the new post with the letter from Gustafson Gluek by clicking HERE. . 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 directly involved 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 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is going into its third year. How has it worked out for you and your families? How will some of the most recent disability rulings affect future cases? And just how did that Legacy Fund work out for each of you? John Hogan has been advocating for a total reform of the current NFL/NFLPA Disability Plan and has been successful in many of his cases representing retired NFL players in their Disability and Social Security Disability cases. In this session, John discusses some of the most recent cases and their impact on all retired players. We were hoping to have Jimmie Giles join John on stage but his health and upcoming surgeries kept him at home. John discusses some of the strange details of how the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan and its Board actually runs under the dominant hand of The Groom Law Group with absolutely no checks and balances nor oversight from a so-called Board. If you have never had to apply for disability benefits from the NFL, this discussion is an eye-opener. And if you’ve applied for benefits, most of this information will sound eerily familiar. (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. .
Dr. Bennet Omalu was the first pathologist to uncover the presence of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in the brains of retired football players. It all started when Mike Webster’s body ended up on his examination table in Pittsburgh in 2002. As assistant coroner in Pittsburgh at the time, Dr. Omalu sought permission to examine Webster’s brain. In the years following, several more retired football players bodies arrived in their morgue including Andree Waters. Since then, Dr. Omalu has become the chief coroner in San Joaquin and has continued his work on CTE and advancing the study of brain trauma in society in general and football in particular. The NFL has been trying to discredit Dr. Omalu for over 10 years. Dr. Omalu is probably on the NFL’s Top 10 Most Hated List with the NFL. You can read his biography by clicking HERE. . 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. .
With last-minute itinerary changes and arrivals, we’ve been juggling our Conference schedule to accommodate everything. And we’ve also made some minor additions to our schedule as well in order to cover some very recent events that we believe most of the retired player community will want to hear about. . Here’s a list of our Panelists with biographies: . Dr. Bennet Omalu . Dr. Omalu received his MB, BS [M.D.] degree from the University of Nigeria in 1991. He received his MPH [Masters in Public Health] degree in Epidemiology from University of Pittsburgh in 2004. He also received his MBA [Masters in Business Administration] degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008. Dr. Omalu holds four board certifications in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, Forensic Pathology and Neuropathology. Dr. Omalu is also board certified in Medical Management and is a Certified Physician Executive [CPE]. .continue reading »
Wow! A lot has happened in the past week as we’ve been preparing for our upcoming Conference! We’re edging closer to the vote on AB 1309 in California which will disqualify most professional athletes from Workers Compensation claims in the state.(ClickHEREto read the actual bill that’s coming up for a vote as early as next week.) . More news is coming out about Riddell’s prior knowledge about helmet safety and real their lack of protection from concussions.(ClickHEREto read the latest piece from PBS Frontline.) . And the behind-the-scenes story is also now emerging about the fight for Junior Seau’s brain after he committed suicide.(ClickHEREto read that article also on PBS Frontline.) . Then we have the NFL Alumni pushing a wide press release about a new miracle drug that will not only be an antidepressant but also possibly heal your brain with new stem cells. Only problem is that this drug is from a relatively new company that’s only beginning early-stage trials that only require a few participants and not the thousands that the Alumni (NFL) seems to be wanting to enlist for some strange reason. Retired players will need all the information they can get if they’re to make an informed decision on whether or not to participate in this – or any drug trial – as we continue to move forward with the concussion lawsuits. . And the NFL Films lawsuit will now be moving into the notification stage to all players involved in the class. We’ll be having representatives from both sides of the Settlement Offer to present their arguments on Saturday so you can make an informed decision. . We’ll be covering each of these new topics with experts from their fields at our IFV Conference. Watch for live posts and videos during the two days of discussions. And if you can make it down to Las Vegas, we can promise this will be the most informative two days that retired football players won’t want to miss. . Watch this Blog for more details. .
With all the chest-thumping going on out there, many of you may not know that my attorney, Jason Luckasevic, from Goldberg Persky & White was not only the first attorney to file a concussion lawsuit on behalf of retired NFL football players after several years of research and lobbying with his senior partners (all you need to do is check the dates on the suits that have been filed) but his litigation also included helmet manufacturer Riddell from the outset. Over the years, we’ve written about Riddell’s ongoing paid sponsorship to the NFL as “The Official Helmet of the NFL.” While their sponsorship was worth millions in revenue to the League, the illusion of helmet safety helped Riddell to dominate the helmet market in amateur sports from Pee Wee through high school and on to college football. You’ll also recall that Riddell has been in a court battle with their insurance carriers who have been quickly jumping ship in an effort to avoid the ensuing megamillion dollar settlements sure to follow a successful round of liability lawsuits. Wonder who’s going to have to pay this one?(Click HERE to read that earlier post.) . We have news from last week of an $11.5 million award out of Colorado in a suit initiated by the family of a young man brain damaged and partially paralyzed in a high school football game. Riddell was held responsible for $3.1 million of that award. . . April 14, 2013, 11:08 PM
Colo. court finds Riddell negligent in helmet suit
. Our Third Annual Independent Football Vets Conference is set for May 3 – 5 at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas! When you book your Conference weekend, please follow these steps: .
Book your room using the South Point Reservation link (clickHERE) or by calling them Toll Free at (866) 791-7626 and use Group Discount Code INDO0502;
Book your flight as soon as possible to get the best advance ticket rates;
Then sign in with that information on our Registration Page(clickHERE) so we can have your admission badges ready when you arrive (all retired players and families, panelists and invited media are welcome but you will need an admission badge to be admitted to all events).