DIGNITY AFTER FOOTBALL

Mission:

“DIGNITY AFTER FOOTBALL” is an organization committed to giving a voice to past heroes of the NFL and to finally restoring dignity to the lives of thousands of disabled and under-pensioned former players. We are working with Congress and hopefully current players. We plan to compliment Fourth and Goal in Baltimore, and Gridiron Greats in Chicago, and to give a rallying banner and public forum for thousands of yet-unheard from former players in the western half of the U.S.  


 

Objectives:

To “SHINE THE LIGHT” on the problem the NFL pays millions a year to keep in the dark, the suffering of the men who built the league. The one thing the NFL cannot endure is the light of day shining on their shady benefits operations! The best way to shine the light is to keep telling our truths, tell ALL our stories en masse. DAF will be a grass roots effort, encouraging local chapters and your own activity with legislators and media.

Too many men are suffering today, the NFL’s “Delay, Deny, and Hope We Die” strategy is not just a motto, it is the truth. DAF seeks to find the quickest solution to this problem, to reverse unjust disability claims denials. And to dramatically increase pensions that are below poverty level.

Dignity After Football!!!!


 

The Boyd Plan

STEPS TOWARD FIXING THE NFL DISABILITY “PROCESS”

BY BRENT BOYD

AUGUST 6, 2007

IN RESPONSE TO CHAIRWOMAN LINDA SANCHEZ’ WRITTEN FOLLOW UP QUESTION RELATED TO JUNE 26TH,  2007

“HEARING   ON THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE’S SYSTEM FOR COMPENSATING RETIRED PLAYERS: AN UNEVEN PLAYING FIELD?”

SUBCOMMITTEE ON COMMERCIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY

THE QUESTION FROM CHAIRWOMAN SANCHEZ WAS:

“HAVING GONE THROUGH THE NFL’S RETIREMENT PROCESS AND SEEING HOW OTHER PLAYERS HAVE BEEN TREATED BY THE SYSTEM, HOW CAN THE NFL RETIREMENT PROCESS BE IMPROVED?”

  

My answer follows:

“THE BOYD PLAN”

BRIEF OUTLINE:

 

  • FIRE GROOM LAW – THERE CAN AND WILL BE NO TRUST UNTIL GROOM IS REPLACED. GROOM LAW IS A SYMBOL OF YEARS OF TOO MANY UNFAIR DECISIONS, QUESTIONABLE TACTICS, DOCTOR SHOPPING, NEEDLESS SUFFERING, NEEDLESS HOMELESSNESS, NEEDLESS DEATHS, NEEDLESS SUICIDES – GROOM LAW MUST GO BEFORE ANY HEALING BEGINS!
  • ELIMINATE THE “FULL DISCRETION” WORDING OR IMPLICATION IN OUR PLAN; INVESTIGATE ETIOLOGY OF “FULL DICRETION” INTO OUR PLAN;  FULL DISCRETION EQUALS ABSOLUTE POWER; ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS – AND PREDICATABLY WE HAVE SEEN THAT ABUSE AS THE OUTCOME OF ALLOWING FULL DISCRETION TO NFL DISABILITY BOARD. WE NEED CHECKS AND BALANCES.
  • DEFINE THE PLAN’S DEFINITION OF “DISABILITY” IN TERMS SET IN STONE AND EASILY UNDERSTOOD BY ALL, IN DEFINITIVE TERMS THAT WILL BE EASILY INTERPRETED THE SAME WAY BY PLAYERS, THE BOARD AND EVERY COURT - NOT OPEN TO GROOM’S MANIPULATION (FULL DISCRETION – AND GROOM - WILL BE GONE SO THAT WILL HELP) AND REMAKE THIS NEW DEFINITION OF DISABILITY SO THAT IT IS NOT SO OVERWHELMINGLY PROHIBITIVE TO APPROVAL OF CLAIM – DON’T CONTINUE WITH GROOM’S EVER CHANGING AND IMPOSSIBLE TO MEET DEFINITION.

CURRENT UNWRITTEN BUT STRICTLY ADHERED TO DEFINITIONS OF DISABILITY INCLUDE THE INFAMOUS “CAN HE SELL PENCILS ON THE STREET CORNER” QUOTE OR “WASH WINDSHIELDS”  CRITERIA , WHICH ARE OBSCENE AND MUST BE ELIMINATED ALONG WITH ALL THOSE WHO SUPPORT THESE DRACONIAN STANDARDS.  THE MEN WHO BUILT THIS MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR LEAGUE DESERVE DIGNITY IF NOT WEALTH.

AND ELIMINATE THE “15 YEARS AFTER PLAYING” LIMIT FOR FULL BENEFITS, MOST DISABILITIES DON’T DEGENERATE INTO FULL DISABILITIES UNTIL LONG AFTER THAT PERIOD.  IT IS WHEN GUYS ENTER THEIR 50’S AND BEYOND THAT THESE DISABILITIES BECOME DEBILITATING AND THEY CAN’T LIVE ON THE LESSER BENEFIT AMOUNT… AND REMEMBER, OSHA SAYS NFL LINEMEN LIFE EXPECTANCY IS 52 YEARS.

 

  • ENSURE TRANSPARENCY – SHINE THE LIGHT! PRINT THE MINUTES OF BOARD MEETINGS, RECORD ALL DEBATES, REPORT EACH VOTE – ALLOW CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES TO SIT IN ON ANY MEETING AT WILL. THE NFL DISABILITY BOARD SHALL NO LONGER ACT AS A SECRET MEDIEVAL ORGANIZATION.
  • TREATING PHYSICIAN RULE- GIVE MORE WEIGHT TO OUR OWN DOCTORS WHO TREAT US REGULARLY FOR YEARS THAN IS GIVEN TO OPPOSING DOCTORS WHO SEE US FOR 30 MINUTES. REIMBURSE THE PLAN FOR ALL FEES PAID TO GROOM LAW WHEN THEY COVERTLY HELPED REMOVE TREATING PHYSICIAN RULE FROM ERISA – BY JOINING NON-FOOTBALL RELATED COURT CASES (e.g., Nord v Black & Decker in Supreme Court) THOSE FEES PAID TO GROOM WERE  TAKEN OUT OF OUR OWN PENSION FUNDS - USING OUR OWN MONEY TO TAKE OUR OWN RIGHTS AWAY, ALL WITHOUT OUR KNOWLEDGE!
  • IF NFL’S OWN CHOSEN PHYSICIANS AGREE WITH A PLAYER’S CLAIM, SO SHOULD THE DISABILITY BOARD.
  DOCTOR SHOPPING CARRIES “DEATH PENALTY” – SIMILAR TO NCAA FOOTBALL PROGRAMS IN VIOLATION OF CERTAIN RULES - OR GAMBLING IN NFL –
 IF NFL’S OWN CHOSEN DOCTOR AGREES WITH PLAYER’S CLAIMS, NO MORE IGNORING THAT DOCTOR AND SENDING PLAYERS TO ENDLESS DOCTORS UNTIL FINALLY ONE SUPPORTS DENIAL. IF BOARD CLAIMS A DOCTOR TO BE “EQUIVOCAL’, SIMPLY PICK UP PHONE AND CLARIFY INSTEAD OF DELAYING FOR MONTHS AND DOCTOR SHOPPING.

 ANY KNOWLEDGE OF OR CONNECTION WITH DOCTOR       SHOPPING OR FRAUDULENTLY DENYING A PLAYER HIS RIGHTFUL BENEFITS WILL RESULT IN NO FURTHER ASSOCIATION WITH NFL   IN ANY CAPACITY, EVER  –THIS MUST BE CONSIDERED A SACRED  INTOLERABLE OFFENSE!

  • LET RETIRED PLAYERS SELECT OUR OWN 3 ADVOCATES TO THE BOARD, NOT SELECTED BY NFLPA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. REPLACE ALL EXISTING BOARD MEMBERS.  ACTIVE PLAYERS’ AGENTS AND ACTUAL OR DE FACTO EMPLOYEES OF NFL ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE AS PLAYERS REPS BOARD MEMBERS, THEY HAVE BLATANT CONFLICT OF INTEREST.
  DESTROY THE LONGSTANDING MENTALITY OF BOARD THAT DEFINES “FIDUCIARY DUTIES” TO MEAN ONLY TO PROTECT THE “POT OF MONEY”. PLAYERS RIGHTS AND DISABLED PLAYERS RECEIVING THEIR RIGHTFUL BENEFITS HAVE EQUAL OR GREATER WEIGHT TO THE FIDUCIARIES AS DOES THE “POT OF MONEY”.

THE BOARD MUST LOOK EQUALLY AS HARD FOR REASONS TO APPROVE A CLAIM AS THEY LOOK FOR REASON TO DENY A CLAIM. “FIDUCIARY DUTIES” DO NOT MEAN SOLELY TO AUTOMATICALLY REJECT A PLAYER’S CLAIM AND SAVE THE PLAN’S MONEY.  GIVE PLAYERS’ RIGHTS EQUAL ATTENTION, EQUAL RIGHTS, AND EVEN MORE PROTECTION THAN THE “POT OF MONEY.”

  • ALLOW PLAYERS AND/OR REPRESENTATIVE TO ATTEND BOARD MEETINGS – THAT’S NOT CURRENTLY ALLOWED (AT LEAST NOT AT TIME OF MY CLAIM) – ESPECIALLY ALLOW THEM TO ATTEND THE FINAL APPEALS MEETING.

 

    STOP HOLDING BOARD MEETINGS AT 5-STAR RESORTS, MEET AT MORE PRACTICAL LOCATIONS SO PLAYERS CAN AFFORD TO ATTEND; ALSO IT WILL STOP WASTING OUR PRECIOUS PLAN MONEY! (AREN’T THEY CLAIMING WE ARE SHORT ON CASH?)

 

  • ADD 3 MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS TO BOARD, NOT JUST TO EXPLAIN COMPLEX MEDICAL ISSUES TO THE OTHERWISE ALL-LAYMEN BOARD – BUT GIVE THESE DOCTORS VOTES! THIS WILL ELIMINATE THE 3 TO 3 VOTES THAT LEAD TO DOCTOR SHOPPING.  PAY THESE DOCTORS OUT OF A BLIND TRUST FAVORING NEITHER SIDE, ROTATE THESE DOCTORS OFTEN TO PREVENT THE BUYING OF DOCTORS BY THE LEAGUE THAT HAS BEEN SUSPECTED IN THE PAST.

THE DOCTORS ON THE BOARD SHALL HAVE NO INFORMATION AS TO THE FINANCIAL HEALTH OF THE PENSION FUND, AND SHALL LEAVE THE ROOM WHEN ANY ISSUES OTHER THAN MEDICAL ARE DISCUSSED.

 

  •   WRITE THE RULES. ONCE AND FOR ALL. THIS SOUNDS SIMPLE BUT HAS NOT HAPPENED SUCCESFULLY. CURRENTLY GROOM LAW UNILATERALLY MAKES UP OR CHANGES RULES ON THE FLY TO SUIT THEIR NEEDS, AT THE EXPENSE OF PLAYERS’ RIGHTS. RIGHT NOW RULES AND REGULATIONS ARE A MOVING TARGET
  •  NO MORE LENGTHY, STRATEGIC, AND PAINFUL DELAYS. KEEP THE CLAIMS PROCESS AND VOTING A FLUID PROCESS

 HOLD MEETINGS MONTHLY INSTEAD OF EVERY 90 DAYS – MORE OFTEN USING MODERN TECHNOLOGY. SEND PLAYER TO A DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY AFTER HE FILES A CLAIM. SEND ALL DOCTOR’S REPORTS IMMEDIATELY TO PLAYER/ATTORNEY TO ALLOW SPEEDY RESPONSE. USE TODAY’S TECHNOLOGY TO KEEP THE PROCESS MOVING.

 

  • THE CURRENT SYSTEM OF TWO “GATEKEEPERS” WAS NOT IN PLACE AT TIME OF MY CLAIM, BUT LIKE MOST ELEMENTS OF GROOM LAW’S CHANGES TO OUR PLAN, ALL WITHOUT VALID PLAN PURPOSES, THIS ONE DOESN’T PASS THE “SMELL TEST” EITHER. A ONE TO ONE TIE MEANS DENIAL? THIS IS OBVIOUSLY DOUG ELL’S IDEAL VISION OF A PLAN, THE PLAYER HAS NO CHANCE FROM THE GET-GO.
  • THIS ONE IS FOR CONGRESS ONLY – REMOVE “FULL DISCRETION” AND “DEFERENCE” FROM NOT ONLY THE NFL PLAN BUT FROM ERISA; SIT IN ON NFL DISABILITY BOARD MEETINGS AT YOUR PLEASURE;

SET GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS FOR THE DISABILITY BOARD TO MEET ANNUALLY IN ORDER TO KEEP ANTI-TRUST AND OTHER CONGRESSIONAL GIFTS, WITHOUT WHICH THEY COULD NOT EXIST.

DO NOT ALLOW CERTAIN DISABILITIES – ESPECIALLY CONCUSSIONS! –TO BE CONSTANTLY DENIED AS DISABILITY CLAIMS. CONGRESS MUST STEP IN TO PERMANENTLY PROTECT THE BRAIN DAMAGED PLAYERS.

 FOR THE SAKE OF ALL AMERICAN WORKERS EVERYWHERE, REWORK ERISA! ERISA IS A MESS.  ERISA IS A DISASTER FOR AMERICAN WORKERS, A GOLD MINE FOR ATTORNEYS.

KEEP CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT AND PRESSURE ON THE NFL DISABILITY BOARD…PLAYERS DESPERATELY DEPEND ON YOUR PROTECTION!

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Hosted by Brent Boyd, Kenny Easley, Big Ed White, Delvin Williams, and Col. Jack Kelly USMC Retired

(c) 2007 Dignity After Football. All rights reserved.