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Retired players make power play against NFL, current players

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In what arguably amounts to a concession that their current lawsuit against the NFL is borderline frivolous at best, a group of retired players represented by the same lawyer who filed the retired players’ initial lawsuit has filed a new action against the NFL, the current players who have filed suit against the NFL, and NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith, according to Judy Battista of the New York Times.

Well, at least someone involved in this mess was working on Fourth of July weekend.

The lawsuit claims that the NFL and the current players are violating antitrust laws by negotiating a settlement that would bind the interests of the retired players.  Among other things, the retired players claim that the current players “are conspiring to depress the amounts of pension and disability benefits to be paid to former [NFL] players in order to maximize the salaries and benefits to current [NFL] players.”

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

But when it comes to retired players, that’s how it always has been.  They have no standing; they are former employees who get whatever the current employees and the employers choose to give them.  Besides, the current employees have every incentive to take care of the former employees because the current players eventually will be former employees.

The lawsuit seeks a court order forcing the two sides to stop negotiating the issue of retired-player benefits absent their involvement in the discussions.  As Battista points out, the actual goal is to persuade Judge Susan Nelson to include the retired players in the ongoing mediation, which resumes today.

Though we realize that the NFL and the current players must, from a moral standpoint, make good on their promises to take care of the retired players, the retired players have no real legal rights here.  They have been paid for their service, and if they wanted better retirement packages they should have negotiated better retirement packages when they were current players.  After the retired players filed their initial lawsuit, both sides opted to be courteous and respectful to their legal claims, especially since both sides at the time were hoping to get the current players on their side.

With the settlement talks at a critical juncture, the NFL and the current players can’t afford to be distracted by this apparently toothless power play from the former players.  And if that means no longer being courteous and respectful to the former players’ legal claims, so be it.

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31 Responses to “Retired players make power play against NFL, current players”
  1. britishraven says: Jul 5, 2011 7:51 AM

    This has got to be the most ridiculous lawsuit of all time.

    The retired players have absolutely zero leverage in this, the NFL and NFLPA* could completely ignore them if they wanted to, and although perhaps morally questionable, they wouldn’t be in the wrong at all.

    As you say, if they wanted a better retirement package, they should’ve negotiated a better one when they were playing.

  2. djstat says: Jul 5, 2011 7:53 AM

    The retired players do not deserve a seat at the table. In NO OTHER INDUSTRY, do people who have retired have the ability to come in and renegotiate there pensions and benefits. Just because these men laid the foundation for the NFL does not make them entitled to more money today. No business works like this. You do not get a seat at the table. Hell, most of us do not have pensions at all. We have a thing called a 401K that we have ti fund with a percentage of our paycheck. So be thankful you have something. I do not believe today’s players owe anything to the players of the past. It may seem heartless, but its true.

    If you work for the Comcast, do you deserve to get a better pension now that Comcast offers cable, high speed internet and phone service because you worked for the company when just cable was offered? NO

  3. canetic says: Jul 5, 2011 8:16 AM

    I don’t understand this entitlement attitude of former players that they should be set for life once they’ve played a couple of seasons in the NFL. If you are worried about getting hurt, do what the rest of us do — buy disability insurance. Save part of your ridiculous salaries knowing that you can’t play football forever. When your NFL career is over, get another job. That’s the path to financial stability, not lawsuits.

  4. jimmysee says: Jul 5, 2011 8:16 AM

    My group, the NFLFA* (NFL Fan’s Association) is also filing a suit today against the players, the league, and the retired players.

    We want better conditions in which to watch games — plusher seats, cheaper beer, upholstered seats, and warmer weather in December.

    ““We feel we have a seat at the table, but we’re having the chair pulled out from under us,” reader jimmysee told PFT. “Both sides are saying, ‘We’ll decide what’s in your best interests.’”

  5. vtsquirm says: Jul 5, 2011 8:21 AM

    i say lock out the retired players.

  6. Knightlines says: Jul 5, 2011 8:21 AM

    Everyone in the world thinks they are entitled, lmfao, gees….when will the greed end? NEVAH!

  7. jw731 says: Jul 5, 2011 8:21 AM

    I have nothing against the retired players, hell if they can get something, then it matters not to me…But, they act as if when they were playing, they were playing for future generations, and not for the money they were paid. Every athlete is trying to get as much money as possible, no matter what the generation. They act as if the NFL is the only business in history that has experienced growth and huge profits, and seem a little pissy it didn’t happen when they played. Do they think say, a 21 yeard old kid, a first round draft pick, about to cash in, really cares about a retired 65 year old offensive lineman?…..Did they when they played?…..

  8. Knightlines says: Jul 5, 2011 8:23 AM

    Also, you think this is the worst lawsuit of alltime? Watch Hot Coffee, then come back here and see if you say that. I love uneducated comments, lol.

  9. realtimeeyes says: Jul 5, 2011 8:27 AM

    Not all retired players had a union negotiating for them..Before the union, owners manipulated players contracts and they payed them as little as they could. There are so many sad stories of retired players dying in their 40s and 50s from ailments that are undeniably the result of playing professional football. They deserve a fair piece of the pie; they won’t get it if the don’t have any representation at the negotiations. I love the NFL; however, I have alway felt that retired players are not compensated well enough. Anyone who as ever read “Ball Four” knows that before unions in sports, most owners seriously took advantage of the players.

  10. okieplus4 says: Jul 5, 2011 8:32 AM

    Any professional athlete now shouldn’t have to worry about life after football. Invest a fraction now, and you should be set for life..

  11. dangeralert says: Jul 5, 2011 8:43 AM

    So you mean the players who blew through millions of dollars worth of salary now want more money to continue living their cushy lifestyle where they never have to lift a finger? Give me a break. This whole thing is absolutely absurd.

  12. waccoforflacco says: Jul 5, 2011 8:44 AM

    Oh Great…another bunch of A-holes suing somebody. I guess the lawyers know their gravy train is coming to an end with the REAL parties involved in playing football again and will accept a FEE from ANYBODY.

  13. twitter:Chapman_Jamie says: Jul 5, 2011 8:45 AM

    British and DJSTAT said it perfectly…

  14. waccoforflacco says: Jul 5, 2011 8:51 AM

    If Joey Chestnut can scarf down 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes…these knuckleheads should be able to split up $9 billion in less than 5 or 6 months.

  15. jimmysee says: Jul 5, 2011 8:59 AM

    “Anyone who as ever read “Ball Four” knows that before unions in sports, most owners seriously took advantage of the players.

    That’s not limited to pro sports. Is your workplace union?

  16. melonnhead says: Jul 5, 2011 9:01 AM

    Not all retired players had a union negotiating for them

    ————————————————————

    True, but the NFLPA was founded in 1956 so anybody that’s still around would have to be like 75 or older. There can’t be that many of them.

  17. vetdana says: Jul 5, 2011 9:05 AM

    An esteemed coworker, lawyer and friend once made this statement to me ” You can sue anybody for anything….but whether or not you collect any money , now that is a different matter entirely” !

  18. MichaelEdits says: Jul 5, 2011 9:13 AM

    My heart is very much with the crippled old players that this game was built on.

    But I was injured on the job in the late 70s, on a different job in the early 80s, and on yet another job in the late 80s. Can I go sue those employers for more money now?

    And no, you can’t ask if I’m accident-prone or just stupid. :-)

  19. spartyfi says: Jul 5, 2011 9:19 AM

    knightlines: if you watched that movie then you should be educated and understand why the “coffee” lady was awarded so much money by the jury. Because McDonald’s was breaking the law to make more money and she got the ill-begotten profits.

    Talk about uneducated!

  20. xxwhodatxx says: Jul 5, 2011 9:29 AM

    Tell me again why they are “owed” anything.

  21. realitypolice says: Jul 5, 2011 9:34 AM

    dangeralert says:
    Jul 5, 2011 8:43 AM
    So you mean the players who blew through millions of dollars worth of salary now want more money to continue living their cushy lifestyle where they never have to lift a finger? Give me a break. This whole thing is absolutely absurd.
    ==================

    I do not support the ex-players in this and agree that this lawsuit is absurd.

    But so is this comment. You do realize that the average NFL salary in 1975 was $51,000, don’t you?

  22. jdjoe22 says: Jul 5, 2011 9:36 AM

    @Knightlines

    Also, you think this is the worst lawsuit of alltime? Watch Hot Coffee, then come back here and see if you say that. I love uneducated comments, lol.

    And I guess using two words at once such as “alltime” makes you the most educated man in here.

    Before you know the players still in college will start to file lawsuits against the nfl and nflpa* saying its unfair for someone to decide the fate of the rookie wage scale without first consulting them.

  23. dan39564 says: Jul 5, 2011 9:39 AM

    The best thing Retired players can do to insure a decent pension is run for Congress, it doesn’t get any better than that!

  24. bluefan204 says: Jul 5, 2011 9:48 AM

    “They have no standing; they are former employees who get whatever the current employees and the employers choose to give them. ”

    Which is precisely why they, and their lawyers, should be laughed out of the courtroom and slapped with hefty fines for filing a lawsuit with an idiotic, arrogant premise.

    With all due respect to these guys, enough is enough. Now you just look like a pack of morons

  25. bubbabart says: Jul 5, 2011 10:14 AM

    Well, the NFL is screwing it’s former players royally….greedy SOB’s…oh, just like the rest of corporate America, geez!

  26. realitypolice says: Jul 5, 2011 10:32 AM

    There is a reason lawyers are often referred to as “counselors”. They are supposed to “counsel” their clients.

    That includes telling clients when they have no legal case, as these clients clearly don’t.

    Instead, Hausfeld pushes this case forward, no doubt racking up hourly fees while raising his own profile, which is his intent all along.

    There should be penalties for lawyers who do this. When the judge dismisses a frivolous suit like this, which will inevitably happen, they should have the power to immediately sanction the attorney for failing to provide proper counsel to their clients.

    At the very least, the judge should have the power to declare null and void any fees due to the lawyer.

    See how quickly these types of suits disappear when the lawyers realize there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

  27. GIBoxer5 says: Jul 5, 2011 12:17 PM

    Wow, all the lawyers fault?? Ummm, you clearly have no idea how the legal system works. Players go to the lawyers and sign their name on the dotted line. The lawyer is representing the player’s interest, not his own. Blaming the lawyers for this shows how stupid you clearly are. When lawyers do things outside of what is wanted by their client, they get into a lot of trouble. That certainly is not the case here. DeMo better sign WHATEVER is currently on the table. It’s about to drop by 25%..and it should.

  28. macgee10 says: Jul 5, 2011 12:20 PM

    Are you serious? I could have swore that I just saw an article on here about the retired players getting like $82 million in pensions and benefits or whatever over the next 2 years. Trust me both sides are aware that retired players should be getting better benefits and pensions but don’t make them mad by filing a law suit against them because then you’ll get pretty much nothing.

  29. GIBoxer5 says: Jul 5, 2011 12:20 PM

    If I were King Roger, I would say enough is enough. Disband the nfl, tear up every contract. Rename it and start over. The minute DeMo starts calling potential players..do it again. F@#K Unions!!!

  30. tommyf15 says: Jul 5, 2011 12:38 PM

    GIBoxer5 says:
    If I were King Roger, I would say enough is enough. Disband the nfl, tear up every contract.

    Right, because all one has to do to get out of their agreed-upon obligations is to tear up a piece of paper.

    Seriously, how old are you?

    F@#K Unions!!!

    Just remember that the 32 owners have their own little union.

  31. realitypolice says: Jul 5, 2011 1:43 PM

    @GIBoxer5:

    So when a retired player, who has very little understanding of the legal system goes to a lawyer and asks if he has a case, and that the lawyer says that he does and he should sue despite the fact that he has to know that it isn’t true, said lawyer has no culpability?

    If you go to a high profile lawyer and ask if you have a case, and he ensures you that you do, are you going to not believe him?

    I don’t think anyone said the lawyer was acting against his client’s wishes, we are merely questioning what role the lawyer had in shaping was those wishes were.

    Does that clear it up for you?

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