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Dear Friends:
 
Sometimes things seem to be moving very slowly and then, BAM!  Something happens that speeds the pace.  That's where we're at right now.  I'm thrilled to be able to inform you of the benefactor I spoke of who has the back of disabled players and I'm also pleased to report that he has an outstanding legal team on the job!  That man is none other than free-agent safety, Eric Reid, who probably knows as well as anyone the dirty tricks the NFL and NFLPA can play.  
The event that accelerated the wheels already in motion that I spoke of in our first newsletter, was an unauthorized amendment to the newly ratified 2020 CBA. In fact, the CBA that players voted on was amended and replaced only a day after voting.  When the legal team became aware of the amendment and realized that it is in violation of Article 6.5 the NFLPA's own Constitution, things began moving very quickly.
Today, the legal team of  Ben Meiselas of Geragos & Geragos, and Ray Genco sent a 4-page letter to DeMaurice Smith demanding answers. 
I'd like to express thanks to the legal team that has already spent many hours looking at various aspects of what it will take to invalidate the offsets as well as other detrimental aspects of Article 60 --and now--this could invalidate the entire defective CBA.  And much gratitude to Eric Reid for daring to care and go the extra miles.  In case you haven't seen it, Reid, did an interview with Chuck Modiano of Deadspin entitled, "The NFL is Trying to Screw Retired Players in the New CBA," published two days before voting concluded.
Now it's time for us to do our part.  
 
Some of the wives in our group have been working over the past week or so to identify active players and other allies who are sympathetic to what the CBA does to disabled former NFLers and their families.  You can access that list as well as some of the NFL's sponsors and affiliates here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15Kdn56EaHk_mlbrl76Jze16uNddVkb1hmcLIlQIUAF0/edit?usp=sharing

Now that our arsenal of allies and sponsors is loaded, players, wives, and allies need to start using that ammo.  Use it the same way you did during the week before CBA voting took place.  It's time to set Twitter ablaze.  Call our allies' attention to this blatant abuse of power. Active players who opposed the CBA can't be too happy about this either.  Use Eric Reid's article and/or the link to the letter: 
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6821355-2020-03-30-Letter-to-De-Smith.html  Tweet and ask the sponsors how they can support the NFL when it tramples over its disabled retirees and even illegally circles back after the CBA is ratified to steal the meager SSDI checks that will cause families to lose homes and severely disabled players to go without medical care.

We also have this very pressing need--

And that is volunteers to talk to media as Ed and Keith O'Neil did last week.when they spoke with Ken Belson of the New York Times.
 
This isn't a time to sit and wait for others.  Keth and Ed broke the ice and now we need to burst the dam and start a flood that can't be ignored.  There's strength in numbers and if everyone sticks together with one voice and mind there is nothing we can't accomplish together.

I know people worry about retaliation, and that's fair and legit but think of it this way.  Unless people stand together, first they're going to take away the offsets which for many is about 1/3 of your income.  Then in 2026, you'll probably lose another 20% due to the Circuit Breaker clause in Section 10.
Then there's also the new "Whole Person" exams that will replace SSA determinations and be used to reevaluate those who qualified for disability through SSA.  Does anyone really want to be forced to take their chances with Plan doctors when the intent of cutting benefits couldn't be more obvious?  Now is the time to stand up and fight for your rights because the CBA already spells out a disastrous outcome if it's allowed to stand.

We need to attack this like players did prior to the concussion litigation, The one thing the NFL hates more than paying disabled retirees is bad PR, and losing one of their major sponsors would cost them a lot more than paying disability claims.  We need to force their hand to invalidate the CBA and then take disability cuts completely off the table.  Even if you're only willing to speak anonymously, enter your info and note that in the comments field. To those who will come forward and help to educate people as to what disabilities are like, and put some pressure on the NFL and NFLPA, I thank and salute you in advance.


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Fortune Favors the Bold

Right now Eric Reid and the attorneys are doing the heavy lifting and so far I've seen articles on ESPN, Yahoo, Fox, and Pro Football Talk, but the next round, as well as the Twitter push, is on us.  Please consider being part of the media pool and prepare to amp up your social media blitz!

Here are a few words of caution.  Please don't engage with Trolls on twitter, even though it's hard to ignore them sometimes.  That's when the mute function comes in very handy.  One of our attorneys noted "Mike" who responded to me on Twitter (and my response to him)  and used him as a specific person and example of who not to engage with--especially if it's a new account with few followers.  Sometimes the NFL or NFLPA will plant trolls to try to provoke, trip us up, and make us look bad.

I'd also like to caution you with regard to Facebook.  There are a number of Player pages and groups, but not everyone in those groups has your best interest at heart.  The NFL Women's Page is one where you don't want to breathe a word about any of our plans.  Some of the women there have strong ties to the NFL and/or NFLPA, and you can bet what you say will be used against players when it's posted there.  DAF is a public group.  Anyone can see what takes place there and I've been informed that there are some NFL friendlies in the new men's group that's formed because of the disability cuts.

There are some people who are truly naive and don't realize how much harm the NFLPA under DeMaurice Smith does to retired players.  His public talk is much more tactful than Gene Upshaw, but both view the disabled as parasites sucking money away from active players.  Some are drawn to the prestige of hobnobbing with NFLPA, but the bottom line is NFLPA wants to kick players off of disability.  They try divide and conquer tactics to make people doubt other retirees' disability as well as telling active players that there are lots of guys obtaining benefits fraudulently, but that is blatantly false.  It's difficult to qualify for SSA Disability but not as near impossible as qualifying under the plan.  If there is someone who is not disabled collecting, you can bet it was a political move.    Bottom line is be careful who you trust

Roxanne and Antoinette are in the process of creating a secret group for members of this mailing list only.  It will be primarily for supporting one another.  It will be exclusively for players and wives or a combination of both. We'll update you when it becomes available.

Let's do this!

 
Best regards,

Sheilla
Copyright © 2020 Advocacy for Fairness in Sports, All rights reserved.


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