The Lawfather Podcast: Damar Hamlin

Welcome to this episode of the Lawfather Podcast, hosted by William Franchi, of Franchi Law. In today’s episode, we’ll cover various topics, including politics, a recent football game, and the financial implications for Damar Hamlin, who suffered a personal injury during a football game. Stay tuned as we delve into the details and explore the legal aspects surrounding these subjects.

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Welcome back to the LawFather Podcast. As always, we are here in LawFather Studios, right here in LawFather Headquarters. And, uh, make sure you check out all the shows on Radio Influence and check out all of our social media, like, subscribe, follow, uh, do, do all of those different things, okay? And just make sure you check out Jason’s show on there. Check out Eon Show, check out Ian’s show. And, um, I know there’s other great shows in there, but I don’t know anybody else, but anybody else on Radio Influence? If, uh, you wanna get to know each other, just hit me up. Maybe, uh, yeah, you can be on my show. I can be on your show. We can go back and forth. Who knows, right? Um, so anyway, I know there’s some, some politics shows on there, so I’m sure that would be, uh, a great thing for me to jump on and do.

Yes, let’s talk about polarizing politics. Jason. Sounds wonderful. Um, I don’t know, maybe, maybe somebody can explain to me why, uh, why this McCarthy guy wants to be house leader so bad. And if, if you have to work that hard to get the votes, why are you still doing it? I don’t know. Like, maybe you should just chalk it up to you don’t have any friends, and just move on. That’s what I would do, at least, I don’t know. But here we go. Um, so let’s talk about Damar Hamlin today. I know there’s, you know, I’m sure everybody’s probably tired of the news and, and not tired of it, but look, you’re, you’re getting beat over the head with it from between ESPN and I basically everywhere you look, right, where, where they’re talking about sports. But I wanna look at it from a little different perspective because, you know, there’s, there’s some things that have been put out there and, and they’re just kind of put out there and, and that’s it with, with no explanation.

So, uh, what I’d like to do is, look, I spent, uh, a bunch of years as a licensed nfl, uh, player agent. So, uh, you know, feel like it’d be, I can give some good insight into what this looks like, um, and, and how that all goes. So, um, you know, we do run the live on Instagram. It looks like someone has chimed in and says that, uh, McCarthy may have more followers than me, that that may be, he may have more followers than I do. However, um, the people who really matter, like the people, oh, I don’t know that are in government with him, uh, seemingly a lot of them might not like him. I really, honestly know nothing about the guy other than the fact that most of his own party did not want to vote for him to be speaker of the house. Um, yeah, that’s, yeah, to me, um, I don’t know, anyway, not what we’re talking about today, because quite frankly, that’s the extent of my knowledge on it. But so, so let’s look at this. Those of you who were kind of unaware of what happened, uh, in the Bills game be a week ago now, a week ago today, we’re doing this show on a Monday. And, um, we didn’t have the show last week, but this happened, this would’ve happened after the show was recorded. Bills and Bengals,

And, uh, Damar Hamlin defensive player for the bills goes to make a tackle. Tee Higgins is running the ball after a catch. And, you know, simple kind of, you know, lack of a better term, a kind of no nothing football play, right? Just kind of running the mill. Um, you know, no one led with their head, no one did anything outta the ordinary. You, it just looked like it just looked regular, right? It just looked like a regular play. Hamlin gets up and then boom, falls out, done, um, CPR right there, uh, on the field. So, so let’s look at that real quick because, you know, we’re, we’re hearing a lot about how distraught, the Bills players were and, and you know, maybe some of the Bengals players, but it happened right in front of the Bills bench, so, you know, more chance that there’s more Bills players really close to it, and it’s their teammates.

So it’s a little bit different, but you looking go kind of on its face because, well, we’ve seen it on tv, right? We’ve all watched er, or some variation of, uh, er wow, Jason ER’s a really old show. I really meant Grey’s Anatomy, which is different than er, but kind of the same. But, um, you know, anyway, what I’m getting at is it’s not really like on tv, right? On tv, you see, they, they get little chest compressions, boom, boom, boom, boom. And it’s, you know, look, uh, having seen it, right, having been a deputy, having seen fire rescue, um, do CPR on somebody before, it’s, um, I don’t, I don’t wanna say it’s traumatizing, right? Because I was a professional, I was, that was my business, um, different from a professional football player. It’s, uh, it’s violent, okay? CPR is very, very violent. I mean, you’re talking about something that can break a sternum, that that middle bone in your chest can break ribs, right?

I mean, we’re, and you’re using your bare hands. So we’re talking about something that is a very violent thing to have happened. So there, there’s that aspect to it, right? So, you know, we can kind of get an understanding of why the players are so upset, probably not just because part of it, right? But not solely because, you know, their teammate went down just boom, kind of passed out, done on the ground. I mean, look, I think we’ve seen football enough that to see somebody get up and fall down is not truly outta the ordinary. I think the CPR aspect adds an entirely new wrinkle to it, right? And, and the violence that that is, and that comes along with that, you know, so then, you know, let’s look at what happens next, right? The, the game eventually gets canceled and there’s a lot that happened in between.
And keep in mind, right, there’s only so much in the decision making in the NFL that’s happening right there at the stadium level, right? With the officials on the field and the coaches, and, you know, if, if the team owners that are there have any say in it, right? Um, as we fast forward through, we, we know that the owners, um, end up having some say in, in how this turns out in terms of playoffs and, and everything else. But most of what we see happens there, decisions are being made in New York. It’s kinda like replay, right? NFL headquarters are in New York City, and that’s where a lot of the decisions in this instance were being made, right? And, and you know, I, I know there’s been some talk, Hey, you know, there was a couple minutes, uh, we’re gonna get everybody out and then we’re gonna warm up and, and be back to playing.

And look that, that may have been the original thought, right? Because look, as the officials on the field, you know, are they really going, do we really have the authority to shut, shut down an entire game because of an injury right now? Look, it is, it’s still, at the end of the day, it’s an injury. So I’m not minimizing it, but I mean, let’s call it what it is. It’s an injury. Um, and, and so whether or not the officials on the field, do they truly have the authority to go, yep, we’re shutting this game down. I, I mean, I can’t think of the last time I’ve seen a game shut down. Um, Jason, can you think of a time a game’s been shut down? Uh, yeah, outside of weather, I mean, while the game’s been playing to be completely shut down because of, like I said, poor choice of words, but because of an injury, no.

Right? So I don’t even know if the, if the NFL rules allow for the officials to make that. So what else are they gonna do to, other than to say, Hey, once he’s off the field, we’ll give you some time, then we’re gonna warm up, then we’re gonna play, right? Because you’re only dealing with the information that, you know, at that current second in time. Now, we fast forward and, and get to hear a lot of different pieces that, hey, new York’s on it right away. N F nfl, the F L P A look, the F L P A is a very, very powerful union, right? That’s what they are. So yeah, they got a nice little name, the NFL Players Association. Yeah, it’s all, you know, hugs and kisses and everything else. But no, it is a union. It is legitimately a union and quite frankly, one of the more powerful unions in the entire country.

Okay? So don’t lose sight of that. Let’s, let’s maybe understand a little bit about what the N F L P A is, and by its nature, and I never, it’s one of the things that kind of drove me away. There’s a few things that drove me away from being an NFL agent, primarily because, uh, I didn’t like the travel and I didn’t, I didn’t need to do it right? And I didn’t wanna be, I have young kids I didn’t wanna be away from, from the kids, right? But that was, that may have been the main thing, but you look at some of the other pieces and you go, why do I wanna work in a business where the union is fighting us all the time? Right? And, and it is, they’re just, it is a very, very powerful union, okay? And what we saw here was the union head, uh, I think, is it, is it still Dean Murray Smith?

Yeah, I think, I think it was Dean Murray Smith who was involved, the head of the union, right? The head of the Players Association, a former player, um, basically gets with the commissioner of the nfl, right? So the all powerful Roger Goodell and the all powerful head of the Union come together, right? And are figuring out what to do at the end of the day, right? Keep in mind the NFL can really go, this is what we’re doing. And if you don’t like it, tough because this scenario, and I can tell you this scenario is not in the collective bargaining agreement because I’ve r ead the collective bargaining agreement, and there’s not a space for this scenario, therefore, meaning that the NFL has control over what happens next. But the players’ association, the union is so powerful that the NFL would’ve, it would’ve been a whew, man, you wanna talk about a PR nightmare if they didn’t include the players’ association in that.

So anyway, long story short game ends up getting postponed, not po actually postponed originally, um, but does eventually get canceled, which turns out, I think the playoff implications really turned out to be anything. I think the way the games happened this past Sunday from, you know, my, I was a little busy, so I only saw a little bit, I saw the bucks played terribly, um, not terribly, but they played like a JV team, but so did the Falcons. So, uh, anyway, the Falcons played like a team that had nothing to play for the following week, and the Bucks played like a team who wanted to rest a bunch of people, even though we’re not a great team anyway. But anyway, um, well, I should not, I should not be that critical of them, but there we are. Um, but I don’t think, I, I don’t think any of the games had any bearing on, on the playoffs, uh, the, the cancellation of that game.

But what I wanted to really focus on, and, and that’s a really long explanation to get us to something that I saw as a, as a brief sentence somewhere, and it was that, uh, Damar Hamlin is getting his full game check for this coming week, and it was approved by the NFL pa, and it was approved by the Buffalo Bills and it was approved by the nfl, right? So I, but why, right? What, why, why is that? And what I mean by why is that, I guess I really mean the reverse, why is it that he would not have gotten his full game check, right? So let’s look at that cuz that like, at the end of the day, you go, okay, yeah, whatever, I don’t really understand what that means, or I don’t know what that means. Um, it, it is something that actually as, as having been an agent is kind of really ingrained because it’s part of the original negotiation process.

Uh, so here’s how it works in the nfl. When you get, when you are playing in the nfl, you only get paid for days that you are on the active roster, okay? Um, if you’re not on the active roster, right? You, you don’t get paid, um, unless you’re on the practice squad. Practice squad is entirely different, okay? So guys who are on the team, who are on the, on the, um, they, they changed the numbers in the last cba. Um, but those of those are the guys that, that are officially on the team, right? They have a jersey, not all of ’em are active, right? Come game time. And so if you’re not active, you don’t get a check right? Now, if you’re hurt there, there’s another piece that if you’re hurt, there’s something called a split contract, okay? And, and what it is, is this, you get paid, say what’s the minimum now?

About 500,000, you know, 500,000 divided by 18 games, right? Um, whatever, whatever the, whatever the math comes, you know what, we’re just gonna use a hundred thousand dollars, okay? Because the math is easy. So your game check, your regular game check is a hundred thousand dollars for playing in that game, okay? Now, let’s just say this, you’re hurt, you’re not able to play. So you’re not on the active roster for that day because you’re hurt.

Well, you’re a rookie and it’s usually rookies, rookies and kind of hangers on, um, will be on these split contracts, right? Because the team doesn’t want to have to pay out the full amount to you. So, well, because, you know, you’re not a, you’re not a big name player, right? You’re a guy that’s just happy to be there type of thing. And Hamlin was on his rookie contract, so it was a, it wasn’t a minimum deal from what I, from what I could tell, it looked like his deal was above the minimum, but it was a split contract.

And so what that says is, Hey, you would normally make a hundred thousand dollars per game. Your game check would be a hundred thousand, but you’re hurt. So you move over to the other bracket, which is the split side of the bracket, and now we’re only gonna pay you $50,000 for this game. I say only, but I mean, really that’s, you know, they don’t get paid any other time than during those games, during the season. So, um, you know, you get cut, you don’t get paid. Um, but so that’s what the split is. The split is a contractual agreement between the player and the team that says, my Ja game check is going to be reduced if I’m injured. Right? Well, that’s where we came up with Hamlin is, is Hamlin was injured, right? That’s what it was, is so whatever you wanna call it, at the end of the day, there’s, there’s only two boxes you can check.

You’re either not hurt or you’re hurt, right? Well, if you’re hurt, split check, right? And like I said, to use the other end of the spectrum, I I have not seen Tom Brady’s contract, okay? I would bet you pretty much any amount of money, Tom Brady not on a split deal in his contract, what happens? He’s getting his game check, right? Um, so, you know, that’s, that’s how that piece works. And so when, when you hear about that, that’s what it is, it was, it was it piece that was negotiated in his contract when he signed his rookie deal. And that is what the split is. Now, bill said, Hey, guess what? We don’t really wanna make him subject to the split, which it, for him it was a little over $20,000 is, was the difference between his regular game check and his split. So what the bills did, and, and I would imagine this was just a, like, we’re gonna rubber stamp everything, we’re gonna make sure our i’s are dotted, TSR crossed all the paperwork is right?

Because I, I can’t imagine anybody would ever have said no to this, but they went to the nfl, p a, went to the nfl, went to the nfl, P a, went to the NFL and said, look, this is what we wanna do. Got everybody to sign off on it and gave him his check. Okay? So that’s, that’s how that works, okay? And that’s, that’s what that little blurb was that you may have heard that, hey, the Buffalo Bills are going to pay Damar Hamlin his full game check. That’s what that meant. Okay? So let’s take a turn. Let’s speculate a little bit, okay? Um, I don’t necessarily like speculating on the show, but we’re on the topic, and, and it’s not, it’s not a topic that if and when it happens, it, it’s gonna lend itself to an entire show. So here’s, here’s the time to talk about it, right?

Um, you know, I I think, think it’d be very tough to sit here and go, Damar Hamlin’s gonna play football again, right? Uh, I, I just, I don’t know, I can’t see a scenario where that’s really going to be the reality. So you look at and go, okay, well what happens? What is this? And you know, he’s on his rookie deal. He was not, you know, 20 year vet in the league. It’s not as if he’s going to ride out into the sunset and not have to work a day in his life. Um, you know, after this. So what happens next? What’s the outlook for him? So here’s, here’s what’s likely to happen. He was just two years in the league. Two or three, two years, okay? So assuming he accumulated enough, and I don’t know how much he played and how often he was on the active roster, okay?

But assuming he accumulated, accumulated enough games, okay, on the act of roster, he actually could be eligible for the NFL pension, right? And that means he’ll get a paycheck on and on and on, right? He’ll essentially in perpetuity get a paycheck. Now, he may be kind of close because of, uh, being two years in into his rookie deal. Um, it, it’s, you know, you gotta put some, you gotta do, you do need to put some time in to get that. But you do, you know, he could be eligible for his pension, depending on where that falls, you know, that that’s all contractual, that is straight up, that is on, in the collective bargaining agreement. That has nothing to do with his deal with the bills. That is a hundred percent the deal between the NFL and the NFL Players Association. That’s how you come up with that aspect of it.

Now, there’s two other pieces to it for him, right? Because look, I don’t think he’s ever gonna play again. Now I, I mean, if he does, awesome, great, more power to him, but, um, you know, can’t, I don’t, I don’t necessarily see a scenario where that happens. So then what happens next, right? So the bills will have to do something with his roster spot, right? I mean, you can’t just have somebody fill a roster spot or a spot on injury reserve or anything. You know, you can’t, you can’t fill something where you gotta put somebody in, right? You’re gonna need somebody to fill that spot at some point, you know? So what happens next? Well, he’s injured. Did you know, did you know you can’t release an injured player outright? Okay. Or what you talking about, I hear injured players got released, all get released all the time, right?

This guy sprained an ankle and the team released him, whatever else, right? Well, that is a half truth, if you will. So in order for an NFL team to release a pla to release an injured player, and, and I believe the C B A is actually written that the c B A being a collective bargaining agreement, that it has to be a football injury, right? If you decide to go snowmobiling on your off day and you fall off and get hurt, different scenario, but a football injury, a lot of places in the collective bargaining agreement separate out between football injuries and non-football injuries, football injury team releases you, they have to come to an agreement with you. They call it an injury settlement. Um, I actually had a player that, that I had done this for, that I was playing for the bucks at the time, and, uh, tore his hamstring up and we had to negotiate an injury settlement.

And it’s based on a period of weeks and however long it is, and it’s based on the game checks and, and you, you know, basic, basic negotiation between the two sides. And once you ne once you negotiate that amount, the team is free to release you and you get your check and you’re off and running, you’re free to go sign with another club and that’s that, okay? But there’s actually, now remember, this is a legal show, so I am gonna bring it all the way back to the legal world, right? Yeah. You guys, I know you guys thought I was, uh, trying to, that I’m gunning for Stephen a Smith’s job, um, on espn, but, uh, yeah, no, I’m just gonna bring it right back to the legal side. You know what, he also has a worker’s comp claim because he most likely, even if he wanted to work, right?

Remember, football for these guys is a job, right? Yes. It’s fun, it’s whatever else. It’s a job beginning and end of the day, football is a job. Whatever the professional sport is, it is a job. And these guys are employees, right? They’re employees of the football club that they play for. That said he has most likely is going to have a worker’s comp claim, right? Doesn’t seem to make sense, but yeah, that’s, that’s actually, I I would fully anticipate there being a worker’s comp claim that can be filed and subsequently some sort of settlement or resolution on this claim because look, at the end of the day, he’s probably not going to be able to work again. His ability to make money is going to be reduced because the, how are you going to replace the money you make as an nfl, uh, an NFL football player in any other industry, right?

You just, you can’t, it doesn’t, it doesn’t match up, right? Um, and, and you look at education and you look at job skills and you look at job experience. I mean, look, he’s a young kid, so he is not gonna have a ton of job experience, right? There’s, I, I can’t imagine any other place that you could walk in and make the kind of money he’s making in the NFL in any other business, right? And I don’t mean that as a knock. I mean that to the look at when you’re doing these types of things, you look at it and go, this is what the person was making, this is what they can replace it at. And there’s a difference between the two and you kind of owe the money, owe the person the money. That’s the difference, okay? So long story short, lot of insurance things going on, lot of legal aspects going on a lot of contracts and, and different pieces to the puzzle, right?

Do we, do I think he’ll ever play football again? Probably not. Do I think because of all these legal things that he’ll be pretty set and, and, uh, you know, is not gonna be destitute and, and will be able to yeah. At least financially function. Yeah, absolutely. Because there are these protections and there are these avenues out there. So if you ever have any questions about this and, and anything for the law file, you just let me know. Find me on Instagram, send me a dm. I’m always looking at the, the dms answering questions I jump on, do lives, things like that. So you guys got plenty of ways to reach me. If you like the show, please like, subscribe and comment on it. I, I do read those as well. So, uh, I appreciate all of you. Make sure you check out all the other radio influence shows right here from Law Father Studios, Lawfather out.