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NFL Alumni warns NFLPA* not to disclose tape of George Martin meeting

George Martin

FILE - This Jan. 4, 2010, file photo shows George Martin, Executive Director, NFL Alumni Association, appearing during a House Judiciary Committee hearing entitled “Legal Issues Relating to Football Head Injuries, Part II” in Detroit. Martin has been elected chief executive officer and president of NFL Alumni, Inc. The announcement was made Wednesday, May 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)


Last week, NFL Alumni executive director George Martin attended the NFLPA* annual meetings in Marco Island, Florida. Since then, word has emerged that the session was videotaped -- and that a transcript and/or the tapes could be released publicly.

NFL Alumni apparently isn’t comfortable with that possibility. In a letter from a Washington, D.C. lawyer to NFLPA* general counsel Richard Berthelsen, a copy of which PFT has obtained, NFL Alumni explains that the meeting was private and confidential, and that Martin did not consent to the recording of the session.

Then, the lawyer rattles the sword. “Florida Statute § [934.03] prohibits the recording of any oral conversation without consent of all parties to the conversation,” writes George Constantine of Venable LLP. “This statute also provides that it is a crime for any party to disclose the contents of a conversation that was recorded without consent of all parties.”

In the end, NFL Alumni asks that the NFLPA* refrain from disclosing the tape or its contents, and that a copy of the recording be given to NFL Alumni.

The letter gives rise to several questions. First, did Martin not know or realize that the session was being taped? Second, does § 934.03 apply to meetings, or other to phone calls? Third, does § 934.03 permit a lawsuit to be filed, or does it merely set the offending party up for a possible criminal prosecution? Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, why does Martin not want the information to be disclosed? If, as Martin wrote to the group’s Board of Directors and chapter leaders, the meeting was “defiant, accusatory, and outright disrespectful,” wouldn’t Martin want the information to be available for the public to review?

Meanwhile, how can Martin claim that the meeting was confidential when he created a memo (that we obtained) regarding the meeting, and when NFL Alumni issued a statement essentially confirming that the leaked memo was legitimate and embracing its message?

Regardless of the answers to those questions, the heat is rising between NFL Alumni and the NFLPA*.