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Eller plaintiffs not going away quietly

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Though they didn’t get in the way of a new labor deal, the class of players led by Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller isn’t getting out of the way completely.

A major dispute lingers between Eller’s faction of retired players and the NFLPA.  Last week, a website with close ties to the NFLPA wrote an item in which other retired players, including Hall of Fame defensive end Jack Youngblood, complained that their names had been added without their knowledge or consent to a letter seeking support of retired players as the CBA process approached its conclusion.  Over the weekend, Eller and NFLPA senior director of retired player services Nolan Harrison traded barbs over Eller’s allegation — possibly stirred up by the NFL — that the NFLPA redirected away from the retired players an extra $500 million.  (The full article from Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times is worth a read.)

Now, Judy Battista of the New York Times (via SportsBusiness Daily) reports that the Eller plaintiffs, through lawyer Michael Hausfeld, have sent a letter to the National Labor Relations Board complaining about the manner in which the NFLPA negotiated on behalf of the retired players, despite the NFLPA not being a union.

“The Carl Eller class has learned that despite its representations to the contrary, the union bargained away significant and substantial retired player issues without any input from the retired players,” Hausfeld’s letter alleges.

The point that the Eller class continues to forget is that, if they secure the ability to negotiate directly with the NFL, the NFL simply can shrug its shoulders and say, “You’ll get whatever we choose to give you.”

The time for retired players to cut a deal for retirement benefit was when they were (wait for it) active players.  Retired players have no legal right to ongoing benefits beyond that which they negotiated while playing, and they now have no leverage to get more, since they can’t go on strike.

Still, it’s an argument Hausfeld was advancing in the final days of the labor dispute, and it’s now clear that Hausfeld and Eller won’t be going away voluntarily.  They need to be careful, or the fans may ultimately decide that they want Eller and the retired players to just go away.

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17 Responses to “Eller plaintiffs not going away quietly”
  1. captainwisdom8888 says: Aug 1, 2011 10:59 AM

    I’m officially over any court-related football articles…

  2. vbe2 says: Aug 1, 2011 11:07 AM

    So what? We have football back. Who cares anymore?

  3. andrewfbrowne says: Aug 1, 2011 11:13 AM

    Turnabout is fair play, NFLPA sues NFL in court for lockout insurance and now retired players are walking down that same path on the NFLPA. When money is involved no one is clean.

    I wonder if they went to court as opposed to going through the NLRB if Doty would give the reitired players the same type of treatment.

  4. broncosaddict says: Aug 1, 2011 11:13 AM

    ” They need to be careful, or the fans may ultimately decide that they want Eller and the retired players to just go away.”

    Too late, made that decision a long time ago.

  5. realitypolice says: Aug 1, 2011 11:16 AM

    As long as Hausfeld is billing by the hour, this will never go away.

    He will keep finding ways to spin it and keep finding new baseless motions and suits to file until whoever hired him fires him.

    Looking at you, hall of famer with the snappy hat.

  6. evrybdyhas1 says: Aug 1, 2011 11:19 AM

    As much as I feel the retired players deserve something additional the real world screws retirees. Economic reality has destroyed pension and retirement benefits for many Americans.

    The retirees of the NFL will be better served to negotiate rather then litigate otherwise they may lose the big battle forever.

  7. daudi88 says: Aug 1, 2011 11:26 AM

    Football is back! This is a tree falling in the woods…

  8. rugdog100 says: Aug 1, 2011 11:29 AM

    Mike, I’m not interested in their “legal rights”, but rather ‘doing what’s right’ for the retired players. You write about them doing something when they were active players… lol. When most of these guys were active players, the NFL was in its infancy, financially. The owners were not bringing in 9 Billion Dollars per year. To suggest that they could have done the same thing the current NFLPA just did, is ludicrous… totally apple and oranges.

  9. duanethomas says: Aug 1, 2011 11:32 AM

    You would think since DeMaurice Smith and Eller shop for hats at the sameplace they could come to some accord on this issue.

  10. hobartbaker says: Aug 1, 2011 11:39 AM

    Eller should take that evil scowling gargoyle dressed by the blind haberdasher directly to the dump.

    Mo sold out the children and the old folks to put more fat on the prime hogs. Bald, blustery, little bastard that he is.

  11. lilrob10201 says: Aug 1, 2011 11:49 AM

    What does this mean ?

  12. southcakpanther says: Aug 1, 2011 11:58 AM

    Just retire guys. I’m not happy with my retiement package either. Vegas, TV network coverage, the internet, and fantasy football have done a hell of a lot more for today’s game than you old timers did 40 years ago.

  13. vikingdoode says: Aug 1, 2011 12:00 PM

    I think todays player realize the risk about playing football. I would think its pretty obvious that the players from pre-mid 90’s on down really don’t know the casualties of playing for a long time. I think there’s a obligation.

  14. realitypolice says: Aug 1, 2011 12:23 PM

    rugdog100 says:
    Aug 1, 2011 11:29 AM
    Mike, I’m not interested in their “legal rights”, but rather ‘doing what’s right’ for the retired players. You write about them doing something when they were active players… lol. When most of these guys were active players, the NFL was in its infancy, financially. The owners were not bringing in 9 Billion Dollars per year. To suggest that they could have done the same thing the current NFLPA just did, is ludicrous… totally apple and oranges.
    ================================

    Why do we constantly expect pro athletes to treat their profession differently than any of us do ours.

    If you were in a union that was negotiating with your boss on a new contract, and they came to you and said, “now that our company is huge and thriving, we think it’s only right to take some of your money away and give it to people who worked here when the company was smaller and less profitable”, what would your reaction be?

    People are always most charitable with other people’s money.

  15. illiniftw says: Aug 1, 2011 12:32 PM

    I’m going to laugh if a new CBA is signed in like 30-40 years that increases salaries enough that today’s players come back crying that they “only made 3-4 mil a year” when they played.

  16. joe6606 says: Aug 1, 2011 1:12 PM

    “Why do we constantly expect pro athletes to treat their profession differently than any of us do ours.

    If you were in a union that was negotiating with your boss on a new contract, and they came to you and said, “now that our company is huge and thriving, we think it’s only right to take some of your money away and give it to people who worked here when the company was smaller and less profitable”, what would your reaction be?”
    ———————————————
    Exactly.

    It’s unfortunate that many former players are in bad shape both financially and medically, but they simply have no legal right to extract better retirement benefits.

    From a moral standpoint, the owners, many of whom are the sons/relatives of the owners who screwed these ex-players out of decent retirement packages, owe them compensation IMO. But the current players????

    Give me a break.

  17. dlr4skins says: Aug 2, 2011 12:07 AM

    See the look on that ugly mug?

    I would sign him tomorrow and I bet he doesn’t “tweet”. Today’s players are so soft its pathetic.

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