Blog Entry

Retired players file lawsuit against NFLPA

Posted on: September 13, 2011 9:39 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 10:15 pm
Carl Eller is one of the plaintiffs suing the NFLPA (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Just because the NFL lockout is over and the owners and players have signed a new CBA (without, mind you, agreeing to HGH testing), that doesn’t mean the lawsuits have stopped.

No, not in regards to the former NFL players who believe they helped make the current NFL what it is today and also feel like they’re getting screwed in the aftermath.

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel reports the latest, as a group of 28 former players, including Hall of Famers like Carl Eller (pictured at right), Chuck Bednarik and Elvin Bethea, have filed a lawsuit against the NFLPA, union executive director DeMaurice Smith, and Tom Brady and Mike Vrabel, two of the plaintiffs from the lockout lawsuit.

The suit -- filed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis -- states that when the NFLPA decertified last March, the players were in no position to bargain for and agree to the benefits for the retired players, and as Wetzel writes, the players want a declaration that “the ‘right to negotiate with the League the rights and benefits for NFL retirees’ rests with the Eller plaintiffs.”

The veterans’ attorney Michael Hausfeld said this lawsuit does not affect the current labor peace but that the former players want to readjust the benefits they’ve received in the new CBA.

Said Hausfeld: "The retirees rights were sacrificed for the benefit of the active players.”

Why this continues to come about, I think, is a general feeling of disrespect from the current players to those who came before them. That’s the sense I got from former Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini when spoke to him recently. Even with the $620 million Legacy Fund created by the NFL and the NFLPA in the new CBA, the players obviously feel that doesn’t adequately compensate them for their sacrifices in the past.

“I think it’s a travesty the way they treat the older players,” Pastorini said. “I’m part of that group. They’re throwing us a bone with the $620 million. By the time they get to a new CBA after 10 years, they won’t have to worry about us pre-(19)93er’s. It’s sad, but it’s their M.O. They want to wait for us to die.

“What they’re talking about now is to give us a bone and to shut us up. It’s just wrong. It’s damn wrong. And the players association is just as greedy as the owners are, if not more so. The players don’t go to bat for us, which makes us ashamed.”

Although some current players, like Saints quarterback Drew Brees, have advocated for the retirees, the general feeling of discontent still lingers. Now, the former players are hoping the court system will bestow upon them the relief they feel the NFLPA hasn’t given to them.

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Since: Apr 1, 2009
Posted on: September 14, 2011 8:49 am

Retired players file lawsuit against NFLPA

  One thing to add. I wonder if the retirees realize by saying the players had no right to negotiate the settlement that gave them 620 million in the first place could actually backfire. You see they said because the players were de-certified, no agreement is legal. Well, why should the League honour its obligation to pay you then?

   Its that old saying looking a gift horse in the mouth. They really should shut up and be happy with what they got or it could be worse.


Since: Apr 1, 2009
Posted on: September 14, 2011 8:37 am

Retired players file lawsuit against NFLPA

   I made parts for a Toyota car years ago, and also for Ford. I worked at an assembly plant making the #1 tractors on the market today. I wonder what I can get from them? Nothing!! Rick made a good point that the Eller boys should also be willing to cough up to the people before them, but even though its a good point, its wrong.
   What era you play the game, or work in, or whatever it is you do, dictates the compensation, or salary you receive. Getting a law suit filed and going public, shows the greed, stupidity, pre-school type behaviour of the retirees and their lawyers. Only in the sue happy USA (where you go and order a hot cup of coffee and then sue them for the coffee being hot, and winning) would this stupid idea even make it to court. 
   There is one thing that I would hope for and that is that their medical bills are taken care of. Other than that to receive 620 million to split does not seem like a small bone. Remember it is only my opinion.

Since: Dec 7, 2009
Posted on: September 14, 2011 7:51 am

Retired players file lawsuit against NFLPA

Carl Eller? Somehow he got to be the president of the retired NFL players? They couldn't find anyone else? He was a drug and alcohol conselor who got 2 DUIs...
By their own logic, don't these old timers all owe something to the guys who came before them? The guys who started the union? Like Shula and Gifford and the 1956 Packers & Cleveland Browns?

Since: Dec 23, 2007
Posted on: September 14, 2011 6:05 am

Retired players file lawsuit against NFLPA

Yeap.. everyone step up to the trough for your share of the fans errr. taxpayers hard earned money...

Since: Aug 20, 2007
Posted on: September 14, 2011 5:34 am

Retired players file lawsuit against NFLPA

Well said, I agree on every point. Well that's about it...all I got.

Since: Feb 22, 2010
Posted on: September 14, 2011 2:23 am

Retired players file lawsuit against NFLPA

I agree with the examples shown below, like the example of the telephone operator being part of the telecommunications industry.  Almost all jobs of yesteryear can claim this fact.  Does this mean they should be sharing in the high prices and salaries we have today?  No.  The continued growith in the industry of their long years of work is what continues to pay for their pensions today.  If their industry had not grown I seriously doubt that their pensions would least not indefinitely.

Football is great entertainment and I love the NFL, but simply put, it is a job.  These older football players were paid a high salary (some say ten times more than the average Joe) that was the "market rate" at that time in history.  The fact, like most say, some squandered their money, is of no fault of mine, nor of the current NFL players.  It was their personal responsibility and those that did probably are not interested in this lawsuit. 

Are NFL player greedy?  I would say so, but it is the basic assumption that in a capitalistic society, you, me and those NFL players try to get the highest salary that the owner or company will pay for their services.  Plain and simple.  The fact that their "working life" is on average 6-8 years and ours is 40-50 years makes us average people jealous, but it is the nature of the risky hard hitting business they signed up for.

I don't think the older NFL players have a legal leg to stand on.

Since: Sep 5, 2009
Posted on: September 14, 2011 2:12 am

Retired players file lawsuit against NFLPA

@football guy- Perhaps if the players from 50 years back had been paid better salaries, they would have had more money to make the investments you speak of.  Chuck Bednarik got his nickname "Concrete Charlie" not from his bruising play on the gridiron but for the fact that he was a concrete salesman in the offseason.  Many of the players from those days had jobs in the off-season to help make ends meet.  To act like their contributions meant nothing and it was all due to Rozelle and Tagliabue is very short-sighted.  Yes, I give credit to these commissioners for their foresight and marketing skills but there would have been nothing to market without the players who gave their all and then some on the field.



Since: Sep 14, 2011
Posted on: September 14, 2011 1:24 am

Retired players file lawsuit against NFLPA

I'm sorry, but most of the players that played before NFL contracts became so lucridive are not owed anything! These players didn't sacrifice anything! They were paid to play a game and they were very happy to do it! Now players are getting payed millions doing the same job and they want a piece! They are not owed anything! The only people that sacrificed are the owners, that saw something that they thought they could brand, invested their money into it and took all the risk hoping to turn a profit and be successfull! The players should have been like every other person that wants to be financialy secure at retirement... saved money, invested intelligently and lived modestly! Did they do that? No! Most of them were hard on their bodies outside of football, pissed their money away on nonsense, chose not to work and like any other person that chooses not to work and make bad decisions, wants a hand out! It's sad when people don't look out for their own futures, but that is not the responsibility of others to pay for it!

Since: May 29, 2007
Posted on: September 14, 2011 12:37 am

Retired players file lawsuit against NFLPA

I agree. Those players did what they did and knew what it meant. Companies have retiree benefits, and others do not. Whatever the NFL said it was going to give you if you got hurt or retired in your CONTRACT is all the NFL is required to give you. Honestly, they have gotten more than what they "deserve." I am really glad that they "made the game what it is today," but since when does the old guy who had a decent idea, or even a great one and then retired keep getting paid, if it was not originally agreed too? The real probelm is the former players are mad that this business has grown the way it has, and want some of that "good money" players get now. It is not the retired players money, though, and these youngsters are getting just what you got: they are signing contracts to get into a series of car accidents every Sunday (and at practice) and getting what they can while they can. Speaking of car accidents, what's up with this other suit about how the NFL knew the dangers to the brain and knowingly put players at risk? Sorry, if you don't know that ramming your head up against someone/something repeatedly for years, you've already got brain issues. The players in all eras of the games have knowingly put themselves at risk to get more than most of us will ever make. Not including the ones way back when who had real jobs, and played football for a supplemental income. But, they knew the risks, too. Just so happened they liked the "gladiator" aspect of football.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: September 14, 2011 12:31 am

Retired players file lawsuit against NFLPA

And stop with this, "they played 50 years ago" crap; that's b.s. and you know it. We're talking about guys who played in the last 10-30 years, so quit acting like these men played ages ago. That being said, it doesn't mean that a retired NFL player who played in the 1960s doesn't deserve a little something either. 

What exactly do they deserve? And why do they deserve anything above and beyond what they received when they played?  Last I checked nobody put a gun to their head, they weren't forced to choose the NFL as their way to make a living.  They knew the risks when they played and they knew what their benefits were going to be while they played and what would happen to their benefits after they retire.  The owners didn't break any agreement or void any agreement.  They paid those players every nickel they were owed according to the deal they had.

If I was an NFL owner CBA or no CBA if the courts rule for the retirees and try and force the NFL to compensate them for hundreds of millions, I'd shut the league down.  The owners can't be touched on a personal level, they are corporations and all their personal assets and other businesses are protected.  The CBA they signed means nothing...... I'd shut down the league so fast it would make the players heads spin.  A ruling in favour of the retirees would mean that every NFL player in the history of the NFL including today's NFL players can sue the NFL at any time if they suffer injuries that end their career.  The lawsuits will never end.... it's 28 retirees now and hundreds more coming up. And after today's players retire even though they have medical benefits they can sue for damages as well...

Like I said, if I was the owners I'd shut it all down..... I love football but the second NFL players no longer take the risks associated with playing in the NFL it's not going to be make sense being an owner of an NFL franchise. The risks will far outweigh the rewards.... don't forget, these owners have successful businesses outside of football.  Regardless of what fans on these boards think, the owners don't need the NFL.  Sure, it's a profitable business but for 90 percent or more of these owners the  NFL is a hobby, nothing more nothing less.  The second there is even a chance they can lose money you'll see heads spin.

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