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11/16/2020
Dear Friends,
 
Giving Tuesday is just around the corner, and I'm asking you not to turn away from my urgent request.  In order to continue to help athletes, especially retired NFLers and their families, I need your support.  Advocacy for Fairness in Sports is a legitimate 501(c)(3) charity (EIN 83-4527989) and all donations are tax-deductible.
 
I know you get bombarded from organizations seeking donations all of whom probably seem worthwhile, and it tends to get overwhelming.  I hear you.  But I'd like to explain why I believe you should consider making a donation to Advocacy for Fairness in Sports.  First of all, this is for all practical purposes a solo endeavor, focused on a relatively small population, and therefore, the scope of potential donors is small.  No one else to my knowledge is advocating full-time for retired NFL players but there is much important work to be done.  
 
In the last newsletter, I introduced you to a project in which I am very proud to have participated (off camera).  I'm referring to the documentary, "Bloodsport".  If you joined Advocacy for Fairness in Sports for the Zoom a couple of months ago, then you met the director, Isaac Solotraroff who was my guest.  Bloodsport details the ordeal of a widow whose husband succumbed to CTE without receiving a dime in the settlement.  The film looks at race norming and exposes the NFL's efforts to persuade doctors to change diagnoses.  If you haven't seen it yet, you can view it on  You Tube.
I am very proud that Advocacy for Fairness in Sports participated in the making of this documentary.  Feel free to share the links far and wide.  We hope to follow up with a full-length feature film focused on the many issues impacting players of all races in the concussion settlement and possibly touching on disability, too.   

I am currently working on some action projects related to NFL disability including an amicus brief in a recent disability case on appeal.  If the district court ruling holds, many players stand to benefit, but if it is overturned on appeal it will be difficult for players to challenge disability determinations in the courts effectively in the future.  There is a lot riding on this one but I am doing everything within my power to see that the appellate court sees the truth and chooses to do the right thing and upholds the district court in its condemnation of the many blatant abuses that were uncovered in Michael Cloud's case.  Click the image below to access the full court opinion
Expect to see some national coverage of this case and the settlement in the near future.  I am working with those in media who have a broader reach to bring as much attention to the issues retired players are dealing with as possible.

In January 2024 two major changes to Inactive A disability are scheduled to occur as a result of the 2020 CBA.  The changes are offsets in the amount of the amount a player receives from Social Security Disability deducted from his NFL check, and even more concerning, the elimination of qualification through a Social Security determination and retesting of those who qualified through this method.  As you probably know, that is how most current recipients have qualified for their NFL disability benefits, and often the player applied to NFL disability first and was denied, but later approved due to the Social Security award.  I expect to see many players cut from the program if this is allowed to go into effect.
 
Due in large part to our efforts, which resulted in the filing of two lawsuits, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to postpone the offsets that would have taken effect in January 2021 to January 2024.  I am currently working on a three-pronged plan to put the brakes on again before these changes take place in 2024.

Many of you have a lot to gain should I succeed and much to lose if I fail.  I am happy to discuss this in person with retired players who may be affected but I'm trying to keep things low profile so as not to alert the NFL, giving us the best chance of succeeding. You can reach me at defendersheilla@gmail.com.and we can schedule a time to talk, or if you want to organize a small group, set up a Zoom conference.  I am also available to help individual players and their families, so don't hesitate to reach out in that regard either.
 
Since most of my work is now done behind the scenes donations have been scarce.  Instead of a pool of thousands of people to ask to support us, it comes down to the few hundred who receive this newsletter or follow me on Twitter.  There is not enough money to get through another month without donations.  I have set a goal of $5,000 that will cover most expenses through at least the first half of 2023 and allow me to concentrate on the important work I'm trying to do.  I don't have time to fundraise and do the real work too.  Won't you please help?
Best regards,

Sheilla






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Advocacy for Fairness in Sports · 943 E Main Blvd · Church Hill, TN 37642 · USA

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