July 4, 2008

from Brent Boyd

  Fellow Retirees, your wives and loved ones,

  I guess it's time to come out of my months long silence/hiatus.

  I would like to wish you on behalf of myself and Dignity After Football a wonderful Fourth of July, and the best to all of you.  

Remember, this holiday symbolizes a fight for RIGHTS..a fight fought by men against incredible odds against a HUGE power, even greater than the NFL. Yet, our Nation's forefathers, ( yes, shamelessly flawed as they were in   slavery), they did show us the way to fight for our rights against a greater, wealthier.  better organized  and unbeatable foe. Right beats Might.  

They had realistically no right to think they could win in 1776, just as in 2007 we thought we had no business taking on BOTH the mighty NFL AND, in my opinion a corrupt  NFLPA regime that has long ago, from top to bottom, outlived their reason to hold power  

We knocked them on their heels in both the U.S. House Judiciary AND the Senate Commerce in 2007!  

We have the U.S. Senate Leader, Sen Harry Reid, on our side, making public speeches promising drastic improvements in our plight, or else drastic penalties for the NFL/NFLPA..

The House Judiciary still aggressively pursues a solution for our woes under leadership of John Conyers and Linda Sanchez. They will NOT abandon us.  

So, today, July 4th, is a day to celebrate liberation. And to ponder how to complete  our fight for dignity.

  Imagine if we,as NFL retirees, UNITE AND FIGHT,  just for a while, and run Upshaw and his entire staff out of town ( but remember,  if only Upshaw leaves, we still get crapped on just the same, only from a different pair of cheeks- so current players, CLEAN HOUSE TOP TO BOTTOM - there is NO ONE to trust for your future in Upshaw's line of seniority in the NFLPA),

  And we will force the PR machine of the NFL New York office, including a supposed TOUGH Commissioner who cracks down on corruption and malicious or detrimental acts (unless committed by a NFL guy in a suit, not a young black player).....

Roger, do you have the balls? If not, these changes will be enforced upon you by Congress.   I sat just a few feet away from you and gene in the Senate hearings as you looked the Senators right in their eyes and promised the Commerce committee you would do everything in your power to improve our conditions and the manner  in which you work with retirees...days later the "Truth Squad" was launched, attacking mainly myself, and nothing you promised the Senators ever happened.

Conditions for retired players are worse now than ever.  

 (remember Credence Clearwater song - "I ain't no Senator's Son"-  well,both  Goodell AND his wife's fathers were Senators, making them feel smug that we won't get an honest deal - but we will, we have an HONEST and courageous Senate leader and many senators now willing to act in our favor, to  take away the NFL's anti-trust exemptions, as the House Judiciary and Chair Linda Sanchez and  Chair John Conyers are ahead of them on this issue)----Roger's silver spoon upbringing is why he can't feel our pain and doesn't make anything more than cosmetic PR changes with a fake "Alliance")  

Please take no comfort in any announcement by Goodell, Upshaw,, and this imaginary "Alliance."

The alliance has done far more damage than good.  

History will record Goodell (along with Tagliabue, Groom Law, Tom Condon, Upshaw and NFLPA and alliance) as the ones responsible for the most heartless of all acts in NFL history, along with our pitiful pensions...the despicable removal of retroactive benefits for those who have been fighting for disability for years. we have been fighting for the hope of security, many for decades...perhaps for a simple down payment on a home, a car that runs reliably, and most importantly--proper medical and learning care for our children. (they are behaving like a beaten Army burning all resources as they retreat so the victors will be left with nothing.)  

Instead, Roger and Gene would have us continue living in the dirt, as me and my then-elementary school age son were forced to even AFTER TWO NFL doctors approved my claim!I  How the hell can they apologize for those 10+ years of my son's stolen youth, as has been the case for countless other retirees besides the Boyd's...they cannot...this is criminal.

  I fight not for myself or my ego- but passion for my son and the thousands of other NFL retirees who have also been affected and suffer from this corrupt system and heartless greedy men, both NFL (office and owners), and NFLPA and current players who allow this to continue on their watch.

I fight because I know first hand how these other families feel,for I too have suffered personally from these bums.  

I may forgive once justice is served but I will NEVER forget.  

HOWEVER....  

We have the great fortune to have some leaders who are in this fight for selfless reasons --take Mike Ditka, he's got the world by the tail and doesn't need the headaches involved with this, but he leads with honor and dignity. We have others, Abner Hayes, Jon Arnett , Mercury Morris and Dave Pear for example, and many more.  

It's not just our leaders or famous names who have put us in position to win our  rights...over 600 of YOU emailed to me your powerful letters, for me to give to the appropriate members of Congress at the appropriate time. I thank you for your trust in me, those letters from YOU have been a very powerful weapon for us. I hope, if the need arises again, you will answer the call again.    

We have some with extensive  experience now on Capitol Hill, a successful track record there. We have veteran lobbyist Jim Green, who has been lending his expertise and tireless big heart to guide our actions (pro bono); as well as Bob Schmidt, who in addition to being Willie Wood's guardian was a founder of C-SPAN and knows the language spoken in the halls of our Capitol. These are remarkable men and miraculous resources for our side. I know, I have had the honor and privilege of working extensively with them and witnessing them in action in Washington.

  There are a wide variety of opinions on Bernie Parrish's style, but, however you feel about that, you can't deny he has spent decades fighting to improve our lives. The lawsuit he and Herb Adderly are carrying against the NFLPA and Players Inc will be very revealing...

  And, as Dignity after Football has always maintained, we MUST include our wives and loved ones in this fight. They are effected just as much as we are, and once we get the women involved- look out- the ballgame is over!  

For the record, I am NOT suggesting I be the leader or Dignity After football the lead group. We do not seek that.

One word of warning...We have to guard against the few who might be in this for ego or personal gain, that could be our only pitfall...we are fighting a dictator in the NFLPA, we sure don't want to create our own version. Let us beware of that danger.

  Thankfully, we are smarter than that, because our collective anger also translates into collective wisdom.

We will be calm and kind towards each other, even thru differences of opinions, and care for each other as family.  

Save our energy to fight our opponents, reach out and help each other  

Other than that, let's get united and fight...at this  point, it's our game to lose. The mood in Congress is already on our side, so we need to keep with those who have experience and got us to this point  , (dance with who brung ya), and to follow those who lead not with ego but with  dignity and selflessness.  

together, keep positive and aggressive and we cannot fail.  

Happy 4th, and let's rally together for our own victory!  

Brent Boyd

www.dignityafterfootball.org  

PS- a personal note of thanks to Gridiron Greats for their help and support - for my family and so many others. Please visit www.gridirongreats.org