Blog Entry

The Daily Shoutout

Posted on: July 19, 2011 5:31 am
THE TANGLED WEB OF THE RETIREE ISSUE: In its new collective bargaining agreement the NFL has added hundreds of millions of dollars for retired players. I wrote about the news. To me, it's simply an incredible achievement. But to demonstrate how toxic the issue still remains, I wanted to run the email I received from George Visger, a critic of the NFL and union for its handling of retired players. He is, well, unimpressed.

"I am glad to see the NFL adding to the Legacy Fund, and $620 million is certainly not chump change, but it still is less than .75 of 1% of their $9.5 billion industry," Visger, a former NFL player, wrote to me late Monday night. "The NFL has talked a good game up till now but never delivered, and I truly believe this is more of a publicity stunt than anything else.

"Show me the money NFL and shut your mouth.Otherwise they can take their bull---- talk and shove it where the sun don't shine. We discarded players are not asking for anything other than our earned benefits."

I love Visger. Respect him greatly. He's one of the toughest, smartest people you will ever meet. But I have to disagree with him. What DeMaurice Smith has done in getting these extra monies for retired players is a big deal. A very big deal.

Many former players will discuss the new benefits in the coming days. I'm not sure how many will feel the same as Visger.

See you Wednesday.


Category: NFL
Tags: Lockout

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 12:16 pm

The Daily Shoutout

Based on the numbers listed in the current edition of this article, $620 million out of $9.5 billion is about 6.5%, not .75 of 1%.  Maybe if Visger  were aware of the true math he might be a little more satisfied.  And we need more people with math skills in this country.

The $650 million is over 10 years.  So its $650 million vs $95 billion - which I think is about .68% - less than 1%.

Since: Jun 29, 2011
Posted on: July 19, 2011 12:07 pm

The Daily Shoutout

As an aside, Visger’s math as quoted by Freeman is wrong and I find it interesting that no one at CBS pointed it out, nor any posters to this point. 

Based on the numbers listed in the current edition of this article, $620 million out of $9.5 billion is about 6.5%, not .75 of 1%.  Maybe if Visger  were aware of the true math he might be a little more satisfied.  And we need more people with math skills in this country.

Since: Jul 21, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 12:00 pm

The Daily Shoutout

I am a military vet who did over 20 years of service.  I was promised free health care and dental care for me and my family for life.  The health care is not free, although it is much cheaper than many people pay, and the dental costs so much that I opted to pay for and obtain dental insurance through my employer.  We are not getting the benefits promised.  I do get a retirement check but it does not increase every time the military gets a pay raise.  We are eligible for a COLA but that has not happened in a number of years.  When you leave the military and enter the workforce, most of the time you start behind your peers who did not go in the military.  The retirement check helps offset this.  However, I made the choice to go in the military and I do not regret it.  It was my choice and fair/not fair/indifferent I must now live with the benefits obtained. 

Mr. Visger also made a choice.  He chose to play professional football.  One could almost make the argument that he did not play enough games to be truly vested in the retirement plan.  I could understand Visger complaining if they did not get what they were promised.  But I do not understand how a former player expects the NFLPA to negotiate new benefits on their behalf. 

I do understand benefits for things that have now been validated.  Vietnam Veterans are just now getting treatment and some compensation for exposure to Agent Orange.  Most of those veterans are now in their 60s since it has taken nearly 40 years for the issue to be validated.  If you are going to add monies for conditions you now know are directly related to playing professional football, I can understand it as the right thing to do.

However, if retired players are getting the benefits promised to them, I do not understand much of the complaining. It seems that many of the former players want to use the "paved the way" argument.  The players that went on strike, the players that sued for what has become free agency, the owners and former commissioners that negotiated the TV deals, started Monday Night Football, etc. financially paved the way. 

Let's quit confusing the right thing to do with the legal obligation or entitlement. I understand the right thing to do and would not argue against it.  Be grateful that someone (NFLPA in this case) negotiated the right thing to do. 

Since: Jun 29, 2011
Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:58 am

The Daily Shoutout

@RaiderDuck  Hey there - No disrespect but you could have searched a little harder.  George Visger's story can be found through a google search.  He experienced many, many, concussions playing high school, college, and pro football, ultimately resulting in him not being able to have a pro career because of the severe symptoms.  He was a member of the 1982 champion San Francisco 49'ers even though he didn't play.

The NFL probably bears little responsibility for Visger's injuries as he probably experienced extensive head trauma before the NFL.  However, as an older man facing a high likelihood of oncoming dementia he is probably a bit bitter at his experience.  The 49'ers doctors probably did misdiagnose his symptoms at the time, although again it is hard to put much of the blame on the NFL regarding something we are only learning a lot about the last few years (severe physical concussion effects).

You don't have to agree with the guy, but personally I would cut him a break regarding how he feels.  He is probably 5x tougher than anyone posting on this board today.

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:47 am

The Daily Shoutout

You know what's really amusing about Visgar's comments? In the early 80's (around the time Visgar played his 3 games) the Union had a strike...much worse than the one we are seeing now. So guys that actually played with Visgar (maybe even Visgar himself) voted on the agreement then and how much did those players vote for player pensions etc? Almost nothing. They voted in their own pay increases, etc. Maybe this guy should look in the mirror and ask how much HE fought for retired players when it was his and friends turn to take the NFL to task.

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:27 am

The Daily Shoutout


Since: Jan 20, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:15 am

The Daily Shoutout

Somebody tell Visger to quit whining. While the retirees may be owed a great deal morally, they are owed nothing extra legally, and $620 million is a lot better than what they had.

And who the hell is George Visger, anyway? He has no Wikipedia entry, and reveals his entire NFL career to be a whopping three games (none of them starting) with the 1980 49ers. That's it. Three games with a 6-10 team.

Methinks Visger needs to sit down, shut up, and quit the jock-sniffing.

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:14 am

The Daily Shoutout

Here's the problem, the way I see it. Many of these retired players were making thousands, amybe a few hundred thousand, at the zenith of their careers. I'm not exactly sure what they expect for pay in retirement. If you played in the 70's and made $80K, and are now getting $90K as a pension, that certainly seems fair to me. Sure, you helped "pave the way" for the next generations to come along and make more money, but the money that is made now is just the changed economics of today's sports world. The NFL is a business, not a pyramid scheme. You don't have down line that give you residual income. Hopefully, the players today will learn from your example, and put money away for the later years.

Since: Mar 26, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:06 am

The Daily Shoutout

apparently you're not aware of the graduation rate for scholarship athletes

Yes, I am very well aware of that.  Tell me though why that should be a concern of the owners and other players who took advantage of a great opportunity.  Stupidity and ignorance isn't a free ticket to a carefree life.  I know that is not the case for all parties involved, but for the ones that are... sorry.  I don't have a lot of sympathy for you.  I doesn't work in the real world, so why should this guy who blew millions of dollars, and a free education expect to be felt sorry for.

Since: Jul 19, 2011
Posted on: July 19, 2011 10:58 am

The Daily Shoutout

@geofrancis...why should the NFL pay for healthcare??  These players made their money and during those times made much much more than the average worker.  If they failed to get a health plan due to their shortsightedness, that problem is on them, not the NFL!  The NFL gave advise and training back in the day, just as they do now, to players on how to survive when they are no longer a football player.  Just because some of these guys failed to protect themselves from ruin by getting something as simple as a healthcare plan, doesn't mean the employer must now pick up the tab.  Your socialism views suck.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or