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Open letter to Sen. Sherrod Brown and Sen. Rob Portman
The NFL and NFLPA have conspired to prevent retired players from getting the health care they have earned and deserve.
The NFL has falsely assumed that the NFLPA represents both current and retired players. That is not the case at all. The NFLPA has made it very clear by words and actions that they could care less about those no longer in the game. Given the opportunity to grant more money to retired players or the current players, they have chosen to screw the retirees and get more for the active guys.
By allowing the NFLPA to represent the retired players, the NFL has turned it back on those that need help the most. The NFL finally agreed to give the thousands of former players suffering from concussion syndrome a total of 765 million dollars for health care. That is not nearly enough given the skyrocketing cost of health care. The judge in the case has indicated that amount is likely not nearly enough to solve the health issues of the players involved.
Those that are particularly at risk are the players that retired before 1993. While the restructured program did a little more for those that retired after the implementation date of the CBA, those that retired before it went into effect are no better off. It has to be remembered that prior to 1993 players were paid much less than those that have played since.
I had a Hall of Fame player on my radio show last year that receives a “pension” from the NFL of less than $500 per month after more than 10 years of playing. The retirement was based on a percentage of the salary of the players which were considered to be “part time” jobs. Those that played in the 1960’s averaged $30,000 per year. By 1992 the average had grown to around $400 K but a few highly paid players skewed the average. In 2013 the average had grown to 1.9 million dollars.
Former Raider Dave Pear was on my show last week. He said the goal of the NFL and NFLPA in handling claims is to “deny until they die.”
Like most other players that retired before the 1993 CBA, he had to depend on the taxpayer via the workers compensation fund to get any help whatsoever. It is hard to believe that a Billion dollar a year business can force the taxpayers to fund those injured in the course of their uniquely dangerous employment.
The question now is what can the Federal Government do to solve these issues? First, the Attorney General needs to investigate the validity of the NFLPA to negotiate on behalf of the retired players. They also need to examine the amount of money set aside for retired players. Because the retired players had no representation in the negotiations, the existing agreements need to be struck down and restructured by a mediator.
The Labor department should also investigate how the NFL and NFLPA is allowed to under-fund health benefits and push the health costs to the taxpayer. While workers comp funds handle “normal” workers, dangerous professions like the police and fire departments are covered by special departments in most states. The same should be done for NFL players. Special risks demand special units that understand the issue that those people face.
Senators, we need your help in this. There are two teams in Ohio and thousands of retired players that are voters and that deserve your protection. Please help them with their issues not only for their sake but for the sake of taxpayers in the state. You both have the power to get this started and I have faith that if you do, you will be successful.
Thank you in advance for your help.
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That is what I think. Tell us what you think.
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Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on .
He also edits .
To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.