NY Times: Baseball Has Lessons for N.F.L. Players Union

Posted November 21st, 2008 by RetiredPlayers

New York Times writer William Rhoden has written an article about the NFLPA’s search for a new executive director.  Earlier this week Rhoden interviewed Marvin Miller, the man who built the Major League Baseball Players Association into what is considered one of the strongest labor unions in the United States.  Miller was able to convince baseball players that “they were the game and that their power was in their unshakable unity.”

Miller says baseball players “were used to taking orders; they thought that management was God. I had to explain to them that all of these people — the commissioner, the owners, the general managers, the manager — they were all on the other side.”

The author of the article urges the NFLPA Executive Committee members to speak with Miller and his MLBPA successor, Donald Fehr, before selecting a new NFLPA executive director.

To read the full text of the article click HERE.

List of Class Members in Retired Players’ Class Action Lawsuit

Posted November 13th, 2008 by RetiredPlayers

There have been many requests for a list of the 2,074 class members in Parrish v. NFLPA and Players Inc. You can find the list below.  The list of names is in alphabetical order.

You may search the list by last name using the search field.

If the search field does not appear in your browser you can access it by clicking the button which is the second button from the right at the top of the list.

You can also enlarge the list by clicking the button at the far upper right of the list.


You can view a copy of the list in PDF form by clicking HERE.

Jury Awards Retired Players $28.1 Million in Parrish, et al. v. NFLPA

Posted November 10th, 2008 by RetiredPlayers

After three weeks of testimony a jury awarded over 2,000 retired NFL players $28.1 million in a lawsuit regarding the licensing of their images.  The jury said the union breached its fiduciary duty to the retired players and violated the terms of the players’ group licensing agreements.  $7.1 million was awarded in actual damages and an award of $21 million was given for punitive damages.  The purpose of a jury awarding punitive damages is to punish a defendant and to deter a defendant and others from committing similar acts in the future.  Punitive damages may be awarded only if defendant’s conduct was malicious, or in reckless disregard of plaintiff’s rights.

A jury comprised of eight women and two men listened to three weeks of detailed testimony regarding the operations of the NFLPA and Players Inc.  NFL Hall of Famer Herb Adderley served as the plaintiffs’ class representative and sat through five and a half hours of testimony each day wearing his yellow NFL Hall of Fame coat.  Herb is 69 years old.  Adderley’s teammate and fellow NFL Hall of Famer Bart Starr made the trip from his home in Alabama to hear closing arguments in the case.  Many other retired players attended court sessions to lend support to the plaintiffs.

“I won three Super Bowls and this feels better than all of them combined,” Adderley said immediately after the verdict was announced. “I always felt I had one big play left.”

Adderley was said to have wept as the verdict was read.

“This verdict is a great victory for the men who devoted their lives to building professional football,” said Lew LeClair, one of the attorneys for the retired players. “We are thankful the jury decided to right this wrong.”

Jeffrey Kessler, a lawyer for the union, said, “The decision is contrary to the law and it’s an unjust verdict and we are confident it will be overturned.”

Last month Kessler incorrectly predicted the jury would reject the plaintiffs’ claims.

NFLPA Interim Executive Director Richard Berthelsen said the union will first ask the judge to reverse the verdict and will appeal the decision if that’s unsuccessful.

“We felt we had to send a message that the union needs to represent and protect all its members,” said Susan Smith, part of the 10-person jury that voted unanimously in favor of the retirees. “We felt the players’ union didn’t do that.”

Closing Arguments Set for Friday in Retired Players’ Class Action Lawsuit

Posted November 5th, 2008 by RetiredPlayers

On October 21, 2008, a gag order was placed on the class action lawsuit regarding the licensing of retired players.  Since that time, little news on the case has left the courtroom.  A great way to get a summary of the case would be to attend the closing arguments which are set for this Friday, November 7, 2008.  Closing arguments will begin at 7:30 a.m.  The location of the court is:

United States District Court,

Northern District of California

450 Golden Gate Avenue

San Francisco, California

Closing arguments will be held in Courtroom 9 on the 19th floor.  The court is located less than 15 miles from San Francisco International Airport.

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

Former Bengal Reggie Williams Fighting to Save His Leg

Posted November 5th, 2008 by RetiredPlayers

Reggie Williams’ list of accomplishments is impressive even when you exclude his NFL career.  Born with impaired hearing, he attended the Michigan School for the Deaf.  He left high school with a 3.8 grade point average and graduated from Dartmouth College.  Williams was a member of the Cincinnati City Council and spearheaded legislation which helped end apartheid in South Africa.  He also served as vice president of Walt Disney Sports Attractions.

Throw in that Reggie Williams is the last Ivy League player to receive First Team All-America honors in football, played fourteen seasons in the NFL, competed in two Super Bowls, was named NFL Man of the Year in 1986, Sports Illustrated’s Co-Sportsman of the Year in 1987 and his accomplishments may be unmatched.

Williams traveled from his home in Orlando to New York for knee surgery and what he thought would be a brief stay in the Big Apple.  His brief visit has turned into a seven month stay while living in a studio apartment.  He has had nine surgeries since he arrived in New York and undergoes daily infusions of intravenous antibiotics.  Now Williams isn’t just hoping to walk again.  Reggie is fighting to save his right leg from amputation.

At 54 years old, Reggie Williams’ goals have changed.  The sky was the limit for his goals as a social reformer, but his current goal is something that is an everyday occurrence for most people.  Williams simply wants to be able to pick up and hold his two year old granddaughter.  He says that being able to do that will be his Super Bowl victory.

Reggie Williams has had both of his knees replaced and has undergone twenty knee surgeries.  However, the NFLPA and NFL Management Council denied Williams application for disability benefits.

Throughout his health problems, Williams optimism and will are seemingly unmatched.  He found inspiration in an e-mail he received from Bishop Desmond Tutu when his infection became so bad that he was quarantined in a New York hospital.

Click HERE for an inspiring video on Reggie Williams’ accomplishments and his current fight to save his leg.