“The NFL and the union are no longer adversaries but instead complicit.” When the owners gave the players the power over the money, that took the responsibility away from the owners and put it on the players.
Morris says, “So the first thing a player does is act like an owner. Putting the NFL and particularly the NFLPA and its trustees in charge of the welfare and benefits of the retired players is like putting the Klan in charge of civil rights. It fundamentally cannot work.”
Tony Davis (No. 25 Huskers in ’74!) sent in additional comments on key points in the proposed NFLPA Disability Plan:
Not only does the NFLPA feed informaton to the Active players that is inaccurate. (You’ve heard Upshaw say that the benefits WE get come out of the pockets of Active players.) That is a lie and he knows it, although he can also say, “he meant that any moneys allocated for the Retired Players come out of the Active players’ share.” Again BS, because those same Pension allotments and the Disability Plan are all a negotiated settlement made by Upshaw in the last CBA and are for the Active Players as well. All this does not even take into account how Upshaw has the conventions separated for Active and Retired Players. (What is the reason for not having your experienced Retired Players at the same table as your Active Players?) This goes against all conventional wisdom and there are definitely reasons why Gene Upshaw and the NFLPA Board want to keep Active Players away from Retired Players. This culture of “Separation and False Dichotomy” has got to stop.
We just received a letter from Fredia Jackson, a close friend of Dwight Harrison. As most of you know, Dwight played in the NFL for 12 years with the Denver Broncos, the Buffalo Bills, the Baltimore Colts and the Oakland Raiders during the old glory days when OJ Simpson was a rising star. Dwight was in the news video with Mike Ditka.
A letter about my friend, Dwight Harrison.
I am writing this letter to highlight the struggle Dwight has had attempting to get compensation from one of the world’s largest networks. As many of you know, Dwight played professional football for 12 seasons and he currently suffers from multiple illnesses. He has no income from the NFLPA and has run into endless objections from the Social Security Administration.
John Hogan – an Attorney who specializes in Disability for over 25 years – asks: What is a promise?
Subject: Commissioner Goodell’s Alliance 2/29/08
In June of 2007, NFLPA representative Doug Ell testified to the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law ( Washington DC) that the NFL and NFLPA, “recently agreed to immediately grant T(otal)&P(ermanent) disability benefits to players already receiving social security disability”. However, this has not been the case. More than 7 months have passed and we are still waiting. This is contrary to what was promised to Congress. My suggestion is, “make your yes mean yes and your no mean no”.
The Lowell Sun covered the public panel that John Hannah and a group of former NFL players held on March 4th at UMass’ Lowell Hall. The two-hour meeting publicized the ongoing battle between an increasingly vocal group of retired injured players who have been consistently ignored and sidelined by their former teammates and union reps who now oversee the distribution of assistance funds. Gene “Hog” Upshaw (as John Hannah and several other players now call Upshaw) was a no-show and was the subject of much discussion regarding his $6 million salary and his lack of concern for the very players he’s supposed to be representing. Read the article HERE.
NFL great John “Hog” Hannah is transferring his name over to Gene Upshaw so we can now officially refer to him as Gene “Hog” Upshaw.
In a scathing interview by Bill Burt of the Eagle Tribune, Hannah talks about the never-ending injuries that continue to plague him and a countless number of his former teammates in their lives after football. He also announced a media event that was hosted at University of Massachusetts Lowell Hall with other panelists that included NFL Hall of Famers and ex-Patriots John Hannah and Andre Tippett, ex-Patriots Don Hasselbeck and Ted Johnson, ex-Seahawk and Redskin Peter Cronan and ex-Colt Bruce Laird. Read the rest of the story HERE.
RetiredPlayers.org has done an analysis of the upcoming Expanded Disability Plan that was apparently hashed out on February 2008 with the NFL, the NFLPA and the NFL Alliance. From their post:
“The National Football League and National Football League Players Association announced an “expanded disability benefits program” through a press release on February 29, 2008. A copy of the release may be viewed by clicking HERE.
The changes to the disability plan were reviewed at a downtown Washington law office during a meeting of the NFL Alliance on Thursday, February 28, 2008. Ten “former players” attended the meeting, according to the press release, including Troy Vincent, who currently serves active players as NFLPA President. Other attendees included Roger Goodell, Gene Upshaw, NFL Alumni President Frank Krauser, and Pro Football Hall of Fame President and Executive Director Steve Perry.
Through the press release, the NFL and union announced four agreements which they claim would “significantly expand eligibility for disability benefits and increase the amount of the benefit paid to certain recipients.”
I DON’T KNOW ABOUT ANY OF YOU, BUT I CAN’T WAIT TO GET MY CHECK FROM PLAYERS INC.! OH — THAT’S RIGHT. WE DON’T HAVE CHECK COMING. OR DO WE…?
According to a news release from Players Inc. last month, the organization – formed in 1994 – handles $750 million in retail licensing business on behalf of all 1,800 current players as well as 3,500 retired players, generating more than $100 million in annual revenue. While no specifics were offered, it is common industry knowledge that the vast majority of the revenue derives from the use of the names and likenesses of active players.
On its website, Players Inc. describes itself as “a fully integrated marketing company for active and retired N.F.L. players. These activities generate guaranteed royalties to Players Inc. and the players, in addition to providing financial support to the N.F.L.P.A.”
The NFL Alliance, comprised of the NFL, NFL Players Association, Pro Football Hall of Fame and NFL Alumni Association, announced today a further series of improvements to the NFL disability benefits program as part of the Alliance’s continued commitment to address the medical and disability needs of retired NFL players and their families.
“Continued commitment”? Sorry, but this action was the result of continued pressure applied by Retired Players, not a continued commitment to address medical and disability needs of retired NFL Players and their families.
We got this terrific commentary from another NFL great – none other than Thomas ‘Hollywood’ Henderson. His letter speaks for itself:
An Open Message from Hollywood Henderson to Roger Goodell and Gene Upshaw on the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan
In 1987, Gene Upshaw convinced me to accept the lesser non-football disability benefit. He told me that Darryl Stingley was the disability standard for the league. I broke my neck in a Miami Dolphins uniform. I broke vertebrae C-1 with a burst and cracked C-2. He said the Board was not gonna give me the FOOTBALL Benefit. So at that point, I was afraid an arbitrator would deny me everything. So for 18 years, I collected the non-football disability benefit. It averaged around $1,200.00 a month. My rightful benefit should have been $4,000.00 a month.
The problem has always been that my disability was FOOTBALL. I still remember the day I BROKE MY NECK AT THE ORANGE BOWL on a tackle against the Chiefs in a pre-season game wearing a Dolphins uniform in August 1981. I was never hurt anywhere else. I never played another down of football. I deserved that $4,000.00 a month benefit then and still do now. I’m still disabled. On top of it all, my insurance company calls my neck injury a pre-existing condition and doesn’t cover my neck at all.
Never one to pull any punches, Cleveland Browns’ all-time great, Bernie Parrish, calls it like it is in this e-mail I received just last week:
The Pellman-Aon Corporation (Bears owner Patrick Ryan’s company our retirement plan actuary) Alliance meets again today. Elliot Pellman who falsified his medical resume and got caught by the NY Times saying he had a degree from SUNY Stony Brook that made him qualified as an expert on brain injuries when he did not. Dr. Pellman is a rheumatologist with a degree from Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Mexico not from SUNY Stony Brook appointed by Paul Tagliabue to be the NFL’s concussion expert. Elliot Pellman heading up another NFL PR farce is a cruel joke. He knows too much for the owner’s or their current puppet in the Commissioner’s office to fire him so they created a joint replacement scam to fit his degree, if in fact he really has one. Though almost any full service hospital in America have doctors who can replace joints. This new Goodell sham limits disabled players to 14 hospitals around the country who give the Pellman-Aon Alliance Program a special deal after you, the disabled retired player put up the first $5,000 for your surgery.
When I was building hotels, office, medical buildings for the government, and college dorms and other institutional buildings around the mid-West, the South West in my general contracting company I carried disability insurance, even though the premiums were high. When one of my workers was injured he went to the nearest hospital or one of his choice and got the treatment he needed and my disability insurance carrier paid for it. That might have been in Chicago, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Indianapolis, St. Louis, San Antonio, Galveston or Atlanta or wherever else I was completing a construction project. All NFL Clubs should be carrying their own disability insurance paying their own premiums like every other business in America; not dumping their employee’s disability insurance on those employees retirement plan to escape the cost as well as avoiding paying any disability insurance premiums.
Goodell’s Pellman-Aon Alliance allows them to get part of the expense from NFL Alumni and other entities thus reducing the cheap skate NFL owner’s costs even further.
Last Friday, February 29th, I made another attempt to get some clarity and answers to a few questions regarding my NFL Retirement Plan. I’ve been careful to document and note each of my calls and faxes so you’ll see my notations on the copy of my original request letter to the Retirement Board. I sent the details over to my friends at Gridiron Greats with a cover e-mail:
Dear Gridiron Greats,
When I called our Retirement Board today at (1 800 638-3186) requesting administrative answers they hung up on me. Please read my attachment which I fax to Sarah Gaunt (I asked for her email but I was denied) and let me know if – in your opinion – she is following the terms of the Bert Bell Plan. My opinion is, “No, she is not.”
Now the Union Review’s blog has picked up on our plight and covered two recent stories in their synopsis. Gene Upshaw (and hi new protegé, Domonique Foxworth) looks to be among the very few people who still just don’t get it. Unions are supposed to repreent their card-carrying, union-dues-paying members!
Maybe it’s just too simple for you but even the other unions agree: We’re all getting screwed! We need better representation now. (Hey – did anyone else notice that Domonique is actually normally spelled ‘Dominique’? But I guess knowing how to read and spell is a prerequisite to be head of the NFLPA, right? My spell checker keeps trying to correct it.)
Last Sunday (February 24th) in The Denver Post, the Bronco’s Domonique Foxworth chimed in with his comments on what he calls Gene Upshaw Bashing. It didn’t take long for Fourth and Goal’s Bruce Laird to post a response to Foxworth’s idiotic statements (see below). Having personally known Dave for several years now and watching his dramatic deterioration over that time, I also couldn’t stop myself from adding my two-bits worth as well. Guess this guy wants to be Gene Upshaw’s protegé when he leaves the field (some other players might call it something else…). I can’t wait to see what HE looks like in 20 more years.