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June 13, 2021
Dear Retired NFL Players, Families, and Friends,
For the first time in a very long time, I feel that momentum is FINALLY AT LONG LAST, on the side of retired players!  Recent and ongoing media exposure of the loathsome race norming that has been taking place in the Concussion Settlement has made an impact.  Public sentiment is definitely with retired players now, and especially Black players who've been victims of race norming.  In order to reach as many folks as quickly as possible, I've combined the newsletter to Retired NFL with our General Interest newsletter group, as I'd love to see both groups participating in the social media challenge you'll read about shortly.

As a result of some harsh press, the NFL, Chris Seeger, and even the courts have been trying to put out the fire and shift the momentum back to their favor.  The NFL announced (without an apology) it would discontinue race norming and is looking for another protocol to use.  Translation:  They're looking for a new way to deny players of all races since they got caught perpetuating systemic racism.  We cannot let this happen.

Chris Seeger has embarked on a PR tour billing himself as the "fix-it man," and issuing a rare apology on ABC NIteline.  I'm sure he is sorry that he got caught but I'm not buying what he is trying to sell.  He also appeared on Andrew Brandt's podcast, and somehow convinced Mike Freeman of USA Today to write a piece that reads like an infomercial.  Fortunately, most media has not been as gullible as Freeman, but we do need to continue to keep them interested and informed.

Even Judge Brody's court and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, above her, seem to be getting nervous and antsy. The first clue came when Judge Brody granted the Henry/Davenport motion to intervene in the race norming mediation she ordered after first saying she would defer ruling on it.  Her next order came a few days later when she ordered Magistrate Judge David Strawbridge, who is presiding over the mediation, to file a progress report.  Oddly, the report was due on Friday, June 11, but nothing has appeared on the docket as of yet.  

Odder yet, even the Third Circuit seems to be reacting to media attention and pressure.  I've written several stories on Amon Gordon's thrice approved and then denied without explanation claim and his subsequent appeal.  In case you missed it, this is my first article on his case, and this is the most recent one:

NFL Concussion Appeal Argues One Door For White Players, Another for Blacks


As it turned out, the excruciating delays for Gordon and his family turned out to be a gift in that all of the lag-time allowed Fleishman to investigate and find her own answers as to the question of “Why?”  since the Claims Administrator, Special Master, and Court refused to provide the basis of their denial. Perhaps now we know why they evaded– because the explanation is highly disturbing.

Short answer.

Amon Gordon is Black.

Continue reading
To bring you fully up to speed on the Gordon appeal, the Third Circuit had requested oral arguments, scheduled for June 22.  Last Thursday, without explanation, the court notified counsel for all parties that oral arguments were canceled and the appeals court would rule on the briefs.  While it's not all that unusual for an appellate court to rule on briefs without an oral argument, it IS QUITE UNUSUAL for a court to request oral arguments and then cancel them.  The most likely reason for this is that members of the media had been calling the court for credentialing to attend and cover the hearing.

Brain injury historian Stephen Casper, tweeted a long thread about race norming and how it is embedded into torts by insurance companies and, as a result, compensates black victims on a lower scale than whites. "Sweet Lord! In 2021, finally, a big picture. The American justice system promotes racial injustice in torts," he said.  He also summed up the legal quagmire at the Third Circuit.

Speaking of Twitter, it's one of the most powerful tools at our disposal.
Monday, June 14 is #Seegerlied Day on Twitter
Advocacy for Fairness in Sports is proud to support #NFLWivesForChange in their plan to call Chris Seeger on his deception and attempt to make #Seegerlied a trending topic that will bring additional media scrutiny.  If you're receiving this newsletter, you're invited to join in.

In order to make a topic or hashtag trend on Twitter, you need at least 5,000 tweets. That means, "all hands on deck."  If you're already a Twitter user, please help us to reach the goal.  If you're an NFL retiree or wife of one, and you feel you were lied to or deceived regarding the concussion settlement, here's your chance to sound off amid a group of many.  If you're a more passive voice you can still help by following,  monitoring, and retweeting from the following Twitter accounts:
There are obviously many more accounts well worth following, but this is a good start, especially if you're new to Twitter.  If you're not on Twitter and would like to participate, it's very easy to set up an account and you can do it under an avatar if you're not comfortable in revealing your identity.

I've sent this to our General Interest newsgroup (please accept my apology if you are on both lists and receive this twice) because we would greatly appreciate the support of people outside the NFL, just as in the petition. 

If you're a white retiree or wife of one, please don't sit this out thinking it's a "black issue."  I've seen some former players express dismay that they haven't heard much out of a lot of white retirees.   Let's change that perception now, and show your former teammates and fellow NFL brothers a little love.  You'll also be doing yourself a favor since, as I mentioned earlier, the NFL plans to implement some new race-neutral protocol, and if we don't stop them in their tracks, your benefits may be on the line next.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
~Margaret Mead
Margaret Mead was right. 

Neither the NFL, nor Seeger, nor Orran Brown, nor anyone else is invincible even though it may seem so at times.  We've already had an impact.  Let's keep the momentum rolling on the side of retired players until we reach the goal line.

As Dom Cosentino wrote, "Race Norming Isn't the Only Problem with the NFL Concussion Settlement."  There are many problems that need to be addressed such as the changed MAF Rules and unreasonable functional barriers that bar many legitimate, deserving claims.

Dave Zirin wrote in an op-ed for MSNBC, "You wouldn’t have hired Jesse James to stop train robberies. You’d never have turned to Bernie Madoff to clean up Wall Street. And this is why the National Football League’s contention that it will be a leading voice to stop the practice of “race-norming” used in the world of neurology and cognitive testing rings so false."  it's not JUST the NFL, though.  Seeger, and BrownGreer are the NFL's witting or unwitting accomplices in this and other shameful actions in the Settlement.  The settlement needs a fresh start with new player-friendly leadership and for the first time I feel there is a viable shot at seeing Chris Seeger replaced.  Maybe even BrownGreer.

We've just got to stay on course.
There's also NFL Disability. 

Offsets, elimination of Social Security determinations, and re-evaluation by Plan Doctors is coming in 2024 unless we stop it in its tracks.  Through two lawsuits now dismissed without prejudice meaning, they can be refiled if the NFL and NFLPA insist on following through with the 2020 CBA  changes, we were able to halt the offsets that were scheduled to start in January 2021. 

Once settlement matters are completely addressed we need to finish this job and make sure that no one has to worry about taking care of a family, losing a home, or foregoing medical care because of lost benefits.

In the words of Rosie the Riveter, "We can do it!." 
I did it again.  I hope you made it to the end of this rather long newsletter.  There's just one more thing--actually two things I want to quickly call your attention to.

First, our friend and Secretary/Treasurer of Advocacy for Fairness in Sports, Habiba Youssouf, who is now studying for the LSAT so that she can extend her advocacy to the courtroom took time out of her studies to write a very insightful article, "Protect your mentals and your chickens."  It addresses unrealistic and unfair expectations imposed on professional athletes.  I hope you'll check it out.

Finally, a quick reminder that the survival of Advocacy for Fairness in Sports depends on you, our readers.  While I've shifted gears a bit and am not writing as often as I once did, I'm now doing more behind-the-scenes work to advocate on behalf of retired players and their families.  In order to do this, I still need access to court documents and legal research tools that aren't cheap.  If you can spare a few dollars, I'd greatly appreciate your tax-deductible contribution.
Yery truly yours,


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