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Retired NFL Players Newsletter – July 2019

Dear Retired Players and Families,
It’s been a fast-paced time for Advocacy for Fairness in Sports and it seems the month has flown by.  We’ve produced quite a bit of content over the past month and have launched a couple new projects that I’ll tell you about later.  But first, there’s some settlement news that you need to be aware of. This is detailed in our most recent article on the settlement.  On July 2, Lead Counsel Chris Seeger sent a letter to the Class.  In it he announced that he is the lone attorney (or firm) representing the class as a whole.  I wrote about the dismissal of other Class Counsel and addressed that issue in last month’s newsletter.  If you missed it, you can read about it here.

In addition to his normal recitation of dollar value of claims approved and number of BAP appointments attended, Seeger departed from his normal PR path and issued an alert that class members should take very seriously. I believe the reason for the alert is another pending NFL objection in which they seek to permanently disqualify players from participation in the settlement should they be found “guilty” of any “misrepresentations” in their claim. We all know that the NFL will look for any reason to deny a claim and their definition of “misrepresentation” is as off-base as their definition of “integrity.” You can read more here:

 

More NFL Dirty Deeds Alluded to in Chris Seeger’s Letter to Retired NFL Players

On July 2, Chris Seeger sent an emailed letter to the class of retired players. In emphasized text, Seeger tells class members, “All the information you provide in your claim package must be absolutely complete and accurate.”  While my long-time readers know I’ve disagreed with Mr. Seeger on numerous issues, I am in complete agreement with him here.  Some examples he gives include employment history, driving, and daily activities, as well as complete medical records. Take this as a Miranda warning, “Anything you say can and will be used against you.
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Over the past couple of weeks or so, Judge Brody has been issuing orders labeled “implementation decisions.”  The orders relate to claims of individual Class Members, not identified in her orders, but as “implementation decisions” the issues decided will be precedential for the Class.  Of the four issued so far, for the lone ruling in which her decision was favorable to the player, she attached prior briefing on the matter.  In the three in which she ruled against the Class Member, she did not include any of the underlying briefs.

Shortly after the first batch dropped on the docket and I wrote an article about the rulings, I was contacted by Kendra Stabler Moyes, who informed me that the first denial I’d written about was her dad, Ken Stabler’s claim. I updated my article to reflect what she’d told me and then  Dom Cosentino at Deadspin did an excellent job in really bringing the Stabler family’s story to life.  If you missed it, you can read it here: Football Destroyed Ken Stabler’s Brain. Why Isn’t His Family Getting A Cent From The Concussion Settlement?

Just after Judge Brody’s cryptic July, 2 ruling came out, I was contacted by Roxanne Gordon, wife of Amon Gordon, who was the subject of Judge Brody’s latest denial.  She sent me the underlying documents to their thrice approved and then denied settlement award, and I wrote about it along with the repercussions for the Class as a whole.  Be sure to read Roxanne’s letter to Judge Brody.  I think she very eloquently expressed what so many feel.

Roger Goodell happy dance NFL Concussion Settlement

NFL’s Latest Dirty Deed Exposed

If there’s one thing consistent about the NFL, it’s their passion in denying benefits to former players. Roxanne Gordon described how the NFL fought and fought until her husband Amon’s thrice approved claim was denied when the NFL was given a fourth bite at the apple, and then backed up with a final denial by Judge Anita B. Brody on July 2. Judge Brody’s order was cryptic at best, alluding to references that were nowhere to be found until Roxanne Gordon filled us in on the missing details.
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I think those stories cover the most important updates for Settlement Class Members, but if you read the first article, breaking down Seeger’s letter and what I’ve been able to learn about the latest NFL objection, you may have noticed a reference to the NFL’s litigation with its insurers regarding what they knew about brain injury and who will be liable for paying the cost of settlement claims. For an update there, you can check out, Will the NFL’s Insurers Obtain the Discovery that Evaded Players in their Litigation?

There are also some new articles on other settlement developments and some disability lawsuits current being litigated. If you check the main page to our site you’ll see those articles posted. You’ll also notice a couple of new projects that Advocacy for Fairness in Sports has underway. The one that will probably be of most interest to retired players and their families is the Document Cloud Project.

This will be an ongoing project so check back frequently. We currently have most of the more relevant documents filed in the NFL Concussion Litigation/Settlement. Over 10,700 documents have been filed to date! Because of the large volume, we’ve only added the ones that we feel are most relevant, omitting attorney liens, short-form complaints and such. They’re organized and broken down according to the year they were filed, and we’ve organized a few by subject, such as opt-out filings. As new documents arrive on the docket they will be added to the “cloud.” We hope this will make it easier for Class Members and the general public to have access to the actual documents in this and other cases.

We’ve also uploaded, some of the disability lawsuits, the painkiller lawsuits, plus the NHL concussion litigation and some of the NCAA brain injury cases and more including the NFLPA’s 2019 financial report! If you have any difficulty navigating the cloud, or would like to learn more about the features and how you can use it, we’ve written a tutorial.

Another new project is our Event Calendar. Most of the events listed so far are sports law symposiums, however, I plan to add important hearing dates for the concussion case and other cases we’re tracking should anyone be interested in attending. It’s an interactive calendar, so if you’re aware of events of interest such as alumni meetings and such, please feel encouraged to add them. The calendar is available in 3 different views and is searchable by date or keyword such as state or city on the large screen of a laptop or pc, however, the mobile screen has only the more basic features.  Feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.

One last thought….

Many of you received our fundraising letter sent a couple of weeks ago. Sincere thanks to those who contributed. Investigative journalism becomes rarer with each passing year. It’s expensive and time-consuming, and often the first thing cut from a newsroom budget, not to mention purposefully avoided by many major outlets with links to the sports leagues. That’s one reason I’m so determined and passionate about the work we do. These stories need to be told and leagues held accountable for the damage they’ve done. With your help, we are going to continue doing just that!

Advocacy for Fairness in Sports is happy to work with any news organization or media outlet to help in sharing and developing information to help get the stories out there. We’ve made some headway, but there’s a long way to go and a formidable adversary to overcome. As our operating expense account becomes self-sufficient, we hope to branch into direct assistance to players for MAF exams, but this will likely require applications for grant funding. If anyone has time to volunteer in researching what may be appropriate grants and/or writing proposals, please let us know as adding some labor to our small volunteer base would help considerably.  Or if you enjoy writing and would like to help with reporting, let us know that too.  We realize that many retired players and their families are financially stressed, but if you are in a more fortunate position, donations are always appreciated.

Until next time,

Sheilla Dingus signature
Sheilla Dingus, Founder, and President
Advocacy for Fairness in Sports

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