Retired Players Class Action Trial to Begin Next Week

Posted October 15th, 2008 by RetiredPlayers

The NFLPA and Players Inc. have used their exclusive representation of NFL players to generate hundreds of millions of dollars through group licensing deals.  However, retired players have not received any of this money and active players have only received 31%.  The NFLPA and Players Inc., which have both been run by the same group of executives, have kept the remaining 69%.  Through this lawsuit retired players are seeking their fair share of group licensing revenue.

The trial is set to begin on October 20, 2008, in San Francisco.  Each weekday the trial is set to begin at 7:30 a.m. and is scheduled to run roughly five hours each day.  The location of the court is:

United States District Court,

Northern District of California

450 Golden Gate Avenue

San Francisco, California

The trial will be held in Courtroom 9 on the 19th floor.  The court is located less than 15 miles from San Francisco International Airport.  You are encouraged to show your support of the retired players by attending the trial.

A map of the location of the courthouse may be viewed by clicking HERE.

Players Inc. and Union Take 69% of Group Licensing Revenue

Posted October 15th, 2008 by RetiredPlayers

NFLPA rules mandate that an NFLPA certified agent may not charge more than 3 percent of a player’s compensation for contract negotiation services.  However, the NFLPA and Players Inc. kept 69% serving in a similar capacity negotiating group licensing deals for NFL players.

Dr. Daniel Rascher, a specialist in sports economics, wrote:

“From 2003-2005, the NFLPA/NFLPI(Players Inc.) kept 64% of group licensing revenues.  A change in how the NFLPA/NFLPI treated $8 million in licensing revenues resulted in an increase in the percentage kept by the union.  As a result, the NFLPA/NFLPI kept 69% of group licensing revenues in 2006 and 68% in 2007.  Figures for other sports associations, such as the NBPA(National Basketball Players Association) and MLBPA(Major League Baseball Players Association), as well as for third-party licensing entities, are typically between 10% and 40%, with levels around 25% the most common.  It is my opinion that the NFL’s 64%-69% share is outside of the customary range, and I know of no reason why it should be outside this range.”

The text from Rascher’s report may be viewed by clicking HERE.

The NFLPA website informs players that:

Marketing agreements are also very common. The fees for these services average about 20 percent of the marketing dollars negotiated by the agent, which is standard for that industry. Some players are paying as low as 5 percent, and a few are paying 25 percent.

Why are Players Inc. and the NFLPA charging nearly 70%?

Players Inc. Tells Licensee Not to Use Any Retired Players

Posted October 15th, 2008 by RetiredPlayers

Throughout the discovery phase of the retired players case against the NFLPA and  Players Inc. many documents have been uncovered which show that Players Inc. improperly represented approximately 2,100 retired NFL players who signed group licensing agreements.  One document in particular has received little media attention but may be one of the most revealing pieces of evidence in the case.

The document is an e-mail chain between Lashun Lawson of Players Inc. and employees of Electronic Arts.  Lawson was in charge of video game licensing at Players Inc. for ten years before leaving to take a position at AOL.  Electronic Arts(EA) is the creator of the Madden NFL video game franchise.

The first e-mail from Electronic Arts to Players Inc. states,

“I know that Players INC doesn’t want us to include any retired players ‘in the game'”

Later in the e-mail chain, in a message between Electronic Arts employees, it is stated that despite EA’s attempts to use retired players in the Madden video game, Players Inc. instructed them not to do so.

“They(Players Inc.) said ‘no’ to this despite my attempts to convince them otherwise.  They have taken a hard line on no retired players in the game in any form.”

A copy of the e-mail chain may be viewed by clicking HERE.

Players were told earlier that,  “Players Inc. licensees such as EA Sports are permitted to secure retired NFL player rights only from Players Inc, not from any other source, contrary to what others may have told you.  This offer will be your only opportunity to participate in NFL player video games and get paid.

Athletes Donate Brains to Aid in Study of Concussions

Posted October 8th, 2008 by RetiredPlayers

More than a dozen athletes, including nine NFL players, two NBA players, an NHL player, and a member of the U.S. national soccer team, have decided to donate their brains after their deaths to the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy.  So far six tissue samples acquired from deceased NFL players have been examined.  Five of the six tissue samples showed evidence that the players suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a type of brain damage commonly associated with boxers.

NFL Brain Donation

The Sports Legacy Institute acquired the six tissue samples already examined.  The Institute recently launched a brain donation program for athletes, current and retired, with and without a history of concussions.  United States military veterans are also being asked to participate in the donation program so that more can be learned about injuries sustained in battle.  It is hoped that the research will help millions of athletes of all ages in the future, along with military veterans.

The Daily Free Press recently covered the work of the Sports Legacy Institute.  The article shows visual evidence of the difference between normal 65-year-old brain tissue and the brain tissue of deceased NFL player John Grimsley who suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.  You can access the article by clicking HERE.

Visit the Sports Legacy Institute website to learn more about the brain donation program.

The Sports Legacy Institute is seeking donations from both active and retired athletes with or without a history of concussions.  If you are interested in participating in the Sports Legacy Institute brain donation program you can download the donation pledge form by clicking HERE.

NFLPA Hires Reilly Partners

Posted October 6th, 2008 by RetiredPlayers

Last week the NFL Players Association hired a firm to aid in their search for their next executive director.  Reilly Partners, a Chicago based search firm, will assist the NFLPA in finding Gene Upshaw’s successor.  Last year, Reilly Partners played an integral role in the search that resulted in the NHLPA hiring Paul Kelly as their executive director.

Current NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly was the assistant district attorney involved in a grand jury investigation into Alan Eagleson, the NHLPA’s first executive director.

Eagleson was indicted by a Boston grand jury and was fined $700,000.  Later that year, he pleaded guilty in a Toronto court to three more counts of fraud and embezzling proceeds from the 1984, 1987 and 1991 Canada Cup tournaments.

Reilly Partners Chairman Bob Reilly and Managing Director Dave Poulin handled the NHLPA’s search and will serve in the same capacity for the NFL Players Association.

Poulin is no stranger to professional sports.  He spent 13 seasons in the NHL, competed in three NHL all star games, and three Stanley Cup Finals.

The NFLPA also retained former NFL player Pat Richter to assist in the search.  Richter played eight seasons for the Washington Redskins from 1963 to 1970.  Richter and NFLPA interim executive director Richard Berthelsen both attended the University of Wisconsin while undergraduates and both also graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School.