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Retired players lawsuit against NFLPA is dismissed

eller_62428 Getty Images

When it comes to the courtroom, the NFL Players Association has had a good few days.  Last week, a judge dismissed a claim brought by former players who alleged that the NFLPA had an obligation to market the licensing rights of all retired players.  On Tuesday, the judge who presided over the 2011 antitrust action against the NFL threw out a lawsuit against the union regarding the benefits ultimately given to former players as part of the new labor deal, according to the Associated Press.

Judge Susan Nelson found that the NFLPA has no legal duty to maximize the money that will go to the former players under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Lawyer Michael Hausfeld plans to appeal.

The retired players, led by Hall of Famer Carl Eller, also joined NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and retired NFL linebacker Mike Vrabel as defendants.

The outcome highlights the reality that former players are legally entitled only to retirement benefits that they successfully negotiated for themselves while playing.  Anything above and beyond those amounts representsan act of charity by the NFL and the NFLPA.

That dynamic also may help explain why so many former players are suing the NFL for concussions suffered during their careers.  With the league having no legal obligation, but arguably a strong moral duty, to take care of the men who helped make the game what it now is, plenty of former players may be relying on the concussion litigation as a way to obtain indirectly those additional benefits that aren’t directly available from the NFL.

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18 Responses to “Retired players lawsuit against NFLPA is dismissed”
  1. bhindenemylines says: May 29, 2012 7:47 PM

    Thank God. At least there is a little common sense still left in this world.

  2. everydayimfumbilin says: May 29, 2012 7:47 PM

    Don’t use that goddamn picture. Reminds me of labor dispute.

  3. DCBlueStar says: May 29, 2012 7:49 PM

    They’ve got to change the system… I’m not saying that because of the subject at hand… but every appeal, lawsuit, hearing… etc… Whatever you want to call them.

    There is no reason that the person who made the final call should be allowed to be the same person who rules over an appeal.

    Yes, I know this particular case is a lawsuit… but this just brings to mind how Goodell is the one to hear all appeals.

    The NFL has some reorganization to do.

  4. packfaninvikeland says: May 29, 2012 7:49 PM

    hmm, I smell something fishy here.

  5. jwayne111 says: May 29, 2012 7:51 PM

    Bitter Sweet – you want to see players taken care of, yet you cannot set a precedent to overturn previous agreements.

    Step up NFLPA

  6. thegreatgabbert says: May 29, 2012 7:56 PM

    Sleep with one eye open, NFLPA. Carl Eller is still alive, and he’s out there somewhere.

  7. thraiderskin says: May 29, 2012 9:04 PM

    I wonder if this has any other effect on things agreed to during the former players CBAs. If the players representation and protections ended, are players retroactively owed money for use of their images post career (like in a video game)? I know this has nothing to do with the story, but for some reason it makses me wonder that.

  8. cwwgk says: May 29, 2012 9:06 PM

    The ruling illustrates the judicial restraint courts will exercise when a binding collective bargaining agreement exists. Would not seem to bode well for Vilma’s libel suit or the NFLPA’s collusion action.

  9. ramitbaby says: May 29, 2012 9:11 PM

    It shouldve been dumped the minute the punter signes on.

    There is such a thing as “assumed risk”. Boxers, racecar drivers and bullriders know it…as do pornstars for that matter.

  10. FinFan68 says: May 29, 2012 9:24 PM

    It’s sad that these guys thought they were entitled to a cut of the new deals made after they left the game. You or I would not expect additional compensation from former employers long after we moved on, why should they.

    As for the game licensing, if the NFLPA has no obligation to get a better deal for the retired guys, maybe the individual players would have a better chance fighting against the Madden regime on their own. I would think that the NFLPA would need authorization each time a new deal is made unless the players signed that away previously.

  11. dryzzt23 says: May 29, 2012 9:25 PM

    The courts decided in favor of another UNION, why does this not surprise me?

    The retired players should form their own organization and fight for their own licensing rights and see to it that the NFLPA does not infringe upon them.

  12. ksm31311 says: May 29, 2012 10:02 PM

    Unions – corrupt since… well forever…

  13. pickelback says: May 29, 2012 10:36 PM

    To finfan68: What chance do you think individual former players have in an American court against a multibillion dollar corporation like the Madden Football Borg? Your libertarianism is naive at best…

  14. pickelback says: May 29, 2012 10:40 PM

    To ksm31311: Unlike multinatinal corporations, yes?…

  15. larryjames836 says: May 29, 2012 11:10 PM

    The team owners and players didn’t read the fine print of the collective bargaining agreement. That gives NFL commissioner Roger Goodell full control and power but everybody were Goodell fans in punishing the New Orleans Saints. But didn’t read that fine print on that collective bargaining agreement to busy helping dig a hole for another NFL team to fall in to me the Saints not that dumb they are fighting for the truth to be known. The NFL going to run things the way they want to run it but not with the New Orleans Saints because they are not afriad of Roger Goodell. If it weren’t for the NFLPA helping the players fight with the NFL a lot of coaches and players will be suspended without pay like the Saints. The New Orleans Saints took the fall for all NFL teams to be and example for the whole public to see there only one way to stop Roger Goodell all teams must work together.

  16. FinFan68 says: May 29, 2012 11:19 PM

    @ pickelback,
    “If” isn’t a big word and it does change the meaning…
    Libertarianism? Not really. With the ruling, the players have exactly ZERO chance collectively so separately they would have an equal or better chance, wouldn’t they?

  17. mjkelly77 says: May 29, 2012 11:53 PM

    larryjames836 says:May 29, 2012 11:10 PM

    The team owners and players didn’t read the fine print of the collective bargaining agreement. That gives NFL commissioner Roger Goodell full control and power but everybody were Goodell fans in punishing the New Orleans Saints. But didn’t read that fine print on that collective bargaining agreement to busy helping dig a hole for another NFL team to fall in to me the Saints not that dumb they are fighting for the truth to be known. The NFL going to run things the way they want to run it but not with the New Orleans Saints because they are not afriad of Roger Goodell. If it weren’t for the NFLPA helping the players fight with the NFL a lot of coaches and players will be suspended without pay like the Saints. The New Orleans Saints took the fall for all NFL teams to be and example for the whole public to see there only one way to stop Roger Goodell all teams must work together.
    _______________

    Did you eat lead paint chips or live under power lines when you were young? That might explain it.

  18. granadafan says: May 30, 2012 1:00 AM

    Money makes people do crazy and stupid things. The former players are like the family members who always have their hands put to the one guy who made it big or lottery winners just because they are blood. The NFL is always warning roomies to beware of greedy family members, possess, entourages, and unscrupulous associations. They should heed their own advice when it comes to the former players.

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