NFL Players NFL Teams Retirement

Blood Equity / No Forgotten Legends (NFL)

There are many players who suffer after their days of playing professional sports are over. The extreme cases come in the form of being paralyzed or having extremely damaged brain tissue (ex: Andre Waters). Instead of forgetting about our clients once they are through providing us with the big-time commissions, we should uphold our fiduciary duty and aim to protect them for their entire life. Along with the huge rewards that follow with representing football players sometimes comes the tough reality of what we all have to deal with once their careers come to an end. – The Tough Part Of Representing Football Players

I wrote that paragraph back on January 21, 2007 and still believe every word of it today. As agents, it is not only our responsibility, but it should be demanded that we look out for our clients on the field/court and off. It goes beyond searching for potential jobs after our clients retire from the professional sports they play. It starts with protecting them during their playing years. All of us can do our clients a favor of lobbying their unions to provide additional support for retirees. NFL veteran, Roman Phifer wants to help.

Blood Equity is a documentary produced by (Discernment Films) Roman Phifer and his partners (Rico McClinton and Joe Ruggiero). The documentary covers issues and the struggles regarding lack of support for disabled, disadvantaged and disenfranchised retirees of the NFL/NFLPA.

Production for Blood Equity began in June 07′ approximately the same time John Conyers and Linda Sanchez convened their first hearings on the issue in Washington D.C. Prior to its completion, Blood Equity and Roman were the Cover Story of then HBO’s Inside the NFL (WK#13) with Bob Costas. Post-production was completed in early January 08′. Blood Equity interviews include Sylvia Mackey, Mike Ditka, Harry Carson and Tony Dorsett, Willie Wood and others.

Roman was very moved by all he heard and saw while attending a 2007 NFLPA retiree meeting in Atlanta. 15 years of suiting up and being part of winning 3 Super Bowl championships has afforded this Gridiron Warrior with many privileges in life. He decided to take advantage of the opportunity to give back to the “Game” that he loves.

Blood Equity and the No Forgotten Legends initiative provide the footings for a long overdue bridge for communication and information dissemination to be built. For retired players, it is a platform from which their allegiance, contributions and sacrifices can be acknowledged. For active players, it is a platform they can utilize to gather together to give back to their fraternal predecessors and acknowledge the benefits and privileges provided to them. Working together as a cohesive united collective exponentially increases the opportunity for positive change for both active and retired players and their families.

2Way Mirror Media joined the project this past July, to coordinate, facilitate and manage disseminating, marketing and promoting the project. Part of the multi-tiered strategy for Blood Equity and the No Forgotten Legend initiative include;

  • securing a distribution deal or funding for a tour to disseminate Blood Equity I;
  • funding to produce 2-3 more video installments as part of a series;
  • assist/support existing efforts of retired NFL/NFLPA elder statesmen;
  • reach out and enlist 25 active and 25 retired players to commit to be a part of core planned/proposed activities;
  • identify, reach out and enlist support from other stakeholders and significant strategic allies;
  • secure corporate sponsors and/or underwriters to support interactive community information dissemination and outreach activities;
  • coordinate/convene meetings where both active and retired players can speak openly about the (past, present and future) issues affecting them;
  • writing and publishing a book.

Commitment, courage and equity has been paid for with the blood and sweat of every player who has suited up for every game since it’s beginning. This is what forged the foundation for the popularity and profitability of America’s favorite professional spectator sport. There is an undeniable bond that ties the youngest to the eldest member of this unique fraternity. Player compensation today is at a record high. However players are not acknowledged or considered equitable stakeholders in the governance or business of the game. This disparity has contributed to the challenges faced by some of the games greatest stakeholders. Being disabled, disadvantaged and/or disenfranchised is not a choice. It is a choice to fight for the right to live your life with dignity. Every person who is disabled should have the right to feel secure and safe wherever they are. For instance, this website can show the various accessibility equipment that can be installed in homes and commercial areas that can help them get around in the best way possible.

Blood Equity is a series, but No Forgotten Legends (NFL) is the vehicle which will be built concurrently and parallel to the series that is designed to have no end point. We should all be committed to NFL. Contact us if you are interested in getting involved with either project.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.