Blog Entry

Report: Retirees to file suit vs NFL, NFLPA

Posted on: July 4, 2011 6:46 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2011 8:35 pm
Posted by Josh Katzowitz

As the NFL owners and the NFLPA prepare to return to the negotiating table after the three-day weekend, it seems their lives are doomed to become more complicated. That’s because the The New York Times is reporting that the group of retired players involved in the Brady v. NFL case is set to prepare a complaint against the players and owners.

From the Times:

The class-action complaint, to be filed in Federal District Court in Minneapolis against the teams, the league, the players named in the Brady v. N.F.L. lawsuit and DeMaurice Smith, the head of the N.F.L. Players Association, asserted that the sides were violating antitrust laws by negotiating settlement terms that improperly encompassed the rights of retired players in the time since the N.F.L.P.A. renounced its union status.

The complaint says that the current players and the association, along with the N.F.L., “are conspiring to depress the amounts of pension and disability benefits to be paid to former N.F.L. players in order to maximize the salaries and benefits to current N.F.L. players.”
And it says that while the N.F.L. is willing to commit additional money to retirees from within and outside the league’s salary cap, the union “has insisted that the sum within the salary cap be given to current players instead.”

The complaint will ask Judge Susan Nelson to issue an injunction to halt the talks between the owners and players regarding retired players’ benefits, and it asks for a declaration that the NFLPA cannot represent those retired players in a new CBA settlement or for other litigation.

Basically, the alumni want to represent themselves in these talks.

“We feel we have a seat at the table, but we’re having the chair pulled out from under us,” Michael Hausfeld, the lawyer representing retired players, told the paper. “Both sides are saying, ‘We’ll decide what’s in your best interests.’”

As the Times points out, though, Nelson might be reluctant to add a third party to the mix so late in the negotiations, partially because it seems like the two sides might be closing in on a solution and partially because bringing somebody else to the table might make matters much more complicated.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.


Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: July 5, 2011 2:05 am

Greedy current players

The current players win lotto every bleeping year, but it isn't good enough for them.  Now, they want to steal money from those who paved the way for them.  They deserve to be locked out for three or four years and see how they like working at Mc Donalds for $10 an hour.

Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: July 4, 2011 11:12 pm

Report: Retirees to file suit vs NFL, NFLPA

And the stories of the NFLPA and the current players only in this to look out for the past, current, and future players begins to publicly unravel. From the beginning it was clear to those objectively looking at the actions of both sides that the words of the players and NFLPA were disingenuous. The fact that the Union, or players have never paid a dime toward their benefits, not so much as a 401k, or medical insurance...that might have been a clue. Everyone wants the owners to pick up the tabs for everything, blame the owners for everything, even exaggerate the few examples that are valid. Hopefully this new enlightenment will knock some sense into those blindly marching to the beat of the players drum. Because you've been lied to. The players want as much moneys they can possibly get now. And they don't care about anything else. Not even their future. It would only make sense if they were truthful that hey would want it set up so their future was managed by people that know how to handle money. Forget the 32 owners, the League, the NFLis the best entity to grow that money. Look at how well they've grown in the last 20 years..all the owners want to do, all the NFL wants to do is to continue to make these men very rich men. They encourage that to perform greatly, and be compensated for it. To decide their own fate and pay rate. To create a demand so great they will fight each to overpay them. They even will turn the other cheek and pay them a pension when they blow all their money, fail to secure a future beyond football, and need medical care they should have been able to secure if they managed their own vast amounts of money. There is no amount of spin. No risk their life myth. No worker man or partner angle that can make people more than happy to ensure all these things bad guys. If at this point you are still listening to the players you must like being lied to. To each their own.

Since: Apr 23, 2010
Posted on: July 4, 2011 10:42 pm

Report: Retirees to file suit vs NFL, NFLPA

For those confused as to why retired players are seeking this injunction, here's the gist of it.

As mentioned in a previous CBS article, many retired players have accrued significant medical bills as a result of onset chronic conditions that can be traced to their playing days. The most pressing concern is the various conditions and ailments resulting from concussions and other brain injuries. There are many symptoms of brain injuries  and other serious conditions are coming into light recently in some retired players. Obviously, this grab for cash has a serious undertone. and

The NFLPA has done little other than try to slip the concussion/brain issue issue under the rug. I figure that the courts will not permit the injunction, but this petition will be a success in that it will create a greater awareness of the severity of the situation. I wouldn't go as far as calling it a publicity stunt, but it kind of is.


Since: Feb 11, 2011
Posted on: July 4, 2011 10:38 pm

Report: Retirees to file suit vs NFL, NFLPA

This is the most cogent of the comments so far. A group of older former players began attacking the late Gene Upshaw about 5 years ago because, as noted, "they [themselves] didn't negotiate for benefits for retired players" when they had the opportunity. Even more, the Mike Ditkas et al never dared to confront the owners and strike for enhanced benefits and therefore had to accept the meager pensions and other benefits the owners offered. Contrast that with players who went on strike in both 1982 and 1987 and then--just as happened this year--decertified the union and became (yes) a trade association in 1989 and brought a series of expensive antitrust suits against the owners. And the players won those antitrust suits, culminating in the Freeman McNeil jury trial in 1992 which led to a class action (the Reggie White suit) and eventually creation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement starting in 1993 until the owners pulled the plug on it two years ago. THAT'S IMPORTANT: THE UNION WAS WILLING TO EXTEND THE 1993 SYSTEM. THE OWNERS WERE NOT!
In addition, the same lawyers who were involved in writing the CBAs in 1982 and 1993 are representing the players in the current Brady case. Finally, the 1993 CBA contained a clause allowing the NFLPA trade association in 1992 to become the bargaining agent--i.e., the union--for the players and, as well, contained another clause saying the NFLPA could return to the state it was--a trade association--upon termination of the ongoing agreement.

I won't stoop to the level of anti-worker idiots and their ilk who continually attack the players no matter what. 

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: July 4, 2011 10:26 pm

Report: Retirees to file suit vs NFL, NFLPA

>>>>You made at least 10 times the salary (the poorest among you, that is) that an average Joe makes in a year,

No they didn't. The "superstars" may have made that much, but the Average football player didn't make near that much, which is why they had to have jobs in the off season.

>>>>>but apparently you saved none of it and now want your own bail out.

They are just following the example set by the US government - bailing out the rich. Now that they - the middle class, want a bailout, they aren't entitled?

Since: Mar 20, 2009
Posted on: July 4, 2011 10:07 pm

Another handout

Bitter that they didn;t make the money that today's players make, the retirees file a lawsuit. I guess noone would have though bashing your head against another man's head repeatedly might cause long term injury.

Look, you old timers got to play a game while everyone else worked a regular job. Sorry, you don't need another handout. 

Since: Jan 24, 2007
Posted on: July 4, 2011 9:57 pm

NFLPA-thought it was a trade organization!

Retirees have exposed the fraud! I cannot wait to hear what Union Judge Nelson says about NFLPA or trade association or group of overpaid football players,etc!  NFLPA opened a can of worms by bringing Smith and union thugs back in!

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: July 4, 2011 9:39 pm

Report: Retirees to file suit vs NFL, NFLPA

That makes sense to me. If the players union is no longer in place then Smith shouldn’t be allowed to negotiate with the owners on benefits for former players. They should have a seat at the table and if that means the cancellation of the season so be it.
Without putting on my mind-reading cap, I believe the original poster was trying to point out that the retired players knew the (former) NFLPA was attempting to negotiate a settlement months ago.  To come forward now because they don't like the direction things are heading is a little overdue.  Legally, the retired players have standing but logically they don't.  It wasn't like they are just finding out that DeMaurice Smith has been talking to the NFL on their behalf.  The retired players knew the arrangements going into things three months ago and we haven't just unearthed this little nugget of information in the last week or so.

I'd actually take it a little further, DeMaurice Smith should not have been allowed to negotiate from the outset.  If we're going to follow the letter and spirit of the laws governing labor negotiations, then anybody other than players themselves should have been excluded from the table from the moment the NFLPA filed its decertification papers.  Multiple times I've called out for anyone with legitimate understanding of labor laws to explain how a decertified union can still allow a union representative to negotiate on behalf of the former members of that union.  It makes no sense to me.  However, the representatives of the retired players needed to come forward weeks/months ago when the negotiations started and demand a seat at the table -- not when the people who shouldn't be speaking for you in the first place end up doing things you're not happy with.

Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: July 4, 2011 9:39 pm

Report: Retirees to file suit vs NFL, NFLPA

I'm not sure your interpretation of what's happening is actually the case.  Since there is no NFLPA the former players may simply be filing suit to force allowing them a "seat at the table" with the intention of protecting what they had according to the last CBA and not wind up going backward. 

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: July 4, 2011 9:35 pm

Report: Retirees to file suit vs NFL, NFLPA

When these guys were playing, they didn't negotiate for benefits for retired players because they took more for themselves.  And now they want the current players to sacrifice for them.   I don't see how they think is fair.  It seems rather hypocritical to me.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or