June 9, 2009
"ONE TEAM, ONE LOCKER ROOM, ONE VOICE"- Dee Smith, Palm Springs Convention 2009-promising to place active and retired players on the same team, addressing retiree's issues with the same vigor as active player's issues.
June 9, 2009 Fellow NFL retirees and wives, Talk about Gonzo journalism....here I am, Brent Boyd, one of the most vocal critics ever of the NFLPA- I (with DC lobbyist Jim Green) actually placed a Senate hearing on the calendar, (no easy chore!!!) subpoenaed Upshaw and Goodell; and I testified both there and at House Judiciary against the corrupt practices many of us have endured from this NFLPA.
Yet, there I was, attending the annual NFLPA Retired Players Convention in Palm Springs. so bizarre, so bizarre...
.I came to REPORT, not SUPPORT. But that changed.
In 2000/2001, I came up with the slogan- and we- including my lawyers, friends and family, began using the phrase "DELAY, DENY, AND HOPE WE DIE" as I waited and waited and waited for a corrupt, oft-"tabled" and long-delayed disability decision. (I was pleased to see that slogan used prominently in the Vegas summit)
Having said all that, with the arrival of new executive director DeMaurice (Dee) Smith, I am here to report a new wind blowing. Smith is genuinely concerned with removing the plights of NFL retirees, there is REAL hope for retirees. We have great expectations from what we heard from DeMaurice Smith.
Even in my jaded prejudiced opinion against the NFLPA- I must report the Palm Springs meetings a huge success.
Any and all issues were open for discussion, Smith answered any questions from guys lined up behind 2 microphones on both days. He answered every question, until there were no more questions. No tempers flared, though the issues discussed were very contentious, it was a HARMONIOUS meeting from beginning to end. No fighting or yelling, just 200+ retirees and the steering committee and Exec Dir all working together to find solutions to difficult, emotionally charged problems.
But definitely, Smith's commitment to these fixes seem sincere, and I whole heartedly support him...
Now, I'm not naive..when Goodell first took over he said all the right things but has since disappointed retirees beyond all belief. (thus, Goodell has an 8%-EIGHT- approval rating among polled retirees).
A word to the wise Mr Smith...we want ACTION, not more empty words. This honeymoon will be very short if changes (such as firing Groom Law) are not immediately taken. (Groom Law Group is inconsistent with the new "change" era with Obama and Dee Smith- Groom represents corruptions, good ol boy network, and DeMaurice, Groom Law, who is in charge of our retirement/pension and disability disasters, are inconsistent with your new administration and your claims of "change". FIRE GROOM LAW TODAY! Groom and Doug Ell are more consistent with the corrupt Bush/Upshaw era than your new administration's start. As Mike Ditka says..."Do the right thing."
Why is Groom Law still associated with the "new" NFLPA?
Goodbye, Groom! Groom's practices and history do not match the image or goals of Dee Smith's new NFLPA.
Andre Collins opened the convention by saying change in NFLPA was here, "like changing into new clothes, the NFLPA has changed into a new state of mind"
A short video tribute to the late Mr. Upshaw was played, but I can't report on it because I walked out in defiance. I pray for his family. but, How can you pay tribute to a man who caused so much unnecessary suffering?
Then, DeMaurice Smith was introduced, and my brothers and sisters, Mr. Smith was terrific beyond my ability to describe. Full of hope, change, and energy, he made it clear as day that he , unfortunately, admired him, Smith made clear he was NOT Upshaw, who said he didn't and never would represent retirees. ( mostly legally true, but not entirely- there are many areas- selection of retirement board, CBA benefit improvements, etc., that Smith can make changes, including in the mindset of the union itself- hey phone calls are returned now!)
In short, finally we have an ADVOCATE! Moral expectations are sky-high for you, Mr. Smith. And a personal note, I value our friendship and open communcation.
some random notes and details----
-Smith, friend of Pres. Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder and Holder's 1st choice for Deputy AG, in charge of overseeing anti-trust issues (how ironic- had he not taken NFLPA job, Smith would now be overseeing our country's anti-trust laws) had this to say- "Anti-trust may be good for active players, but are these gifts being used for the best interest of retired players?"
- 3 year vesting across the board, no matter what years you played, was a hot topic that has legs.
-WSJ reports NFL defies recession, TV contract up $4 Billion, there is a 43% increase in revenue over the last 5 years. -Individual team values are up 400%!
-NFL has been operating as a NON-PROFIT 501(3)6 for last 4 years---how many of you knew the NFL was non-profit? NON-PROFIT NFL? wow...
-Smith agreed we should have 2 retired players on the executive committee, with full voting rights.
-Because of non-profit status, THE NFL PAYS NO FEDERAL TAXES!! ( yet, taxpayers build stadiums in which they themselves can't afford to go see a game
- Because they are non-profit- how can we NOT know their profit/loss for each team (in questioning, I told Smith we want financial transparency from not just NFL, but from NFLPA too- he said- "yes, consider it done") this includes side letters, attorney fees, etc he promised
- NEW STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS Cornelius Bennett and Levi Johnson are out, newly elected members are MARTY AMSLER AND TONY BOUIE- Nolan Harrison was re-elected.
That's it for now. We have great hope and should rally behind DeMaurice Smith if we want faster improvements, he is for real.
Dividing and reinventing the wheel is futile at this point- my family and 100's or 1000's of others need relief NOW, not years from now. Sorry for the week's delay in reporting, my '98 truck's transmission went out on the drive back to my Reno NV home
I hope you all are well, and now we can come together and work out solutions to our problems- pensions, disability, 3 year vesting across the board was discussed much, 2 voting retired players on exec committee, possible anti-trust action, etc.
UNITE AND FIGHT! WE WOULDN'T BE WHERE WE ARE TODAY WITHOUT UNITING, SUCH AS IN 2007, AND MAKING NOISE- KEEP IT UP!
Thanks for your time and reading,
Brent Boyd 775-560-7746