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: Mar 26, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2011 9:44 am

The Daily Shoutout

Here's an idea.  Maybe save some of the money that you made during your playing career to make retiring at 32 years old a little bit easier on you.  Maybe you could even use the college degree that you should have earned from your free education and start a second chapter in your life.  Cry me a fucking river.  Unless you give every one of these guys a blank check to fund the rest of their lives, there is gonna be somebody bitching about it. 

Since: Apr 8, 2011
Posted on: July 19, 2011 9:31 am

The Daily Shoutout

People throw around the $9.5 B like it's a number that the owners are putting into their pockets.  The expenses that these owners incur to opperate these teams is staggering. Not just the players, but also the coaches, front office, vendors, maintenance, etc. You can't just take all revenue and assume that you can divide that up. Also the owners are the ones risking their money (not unlike and investment) and therefore should be entitled to the financial benefits.  Also, most of these players got a free college education, worst case scenario you could apply that like the rest of us.

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 8:49 am

The Daily Shoutout

The owners treatment of players, IMO, is akin to how Michael Vick, his "associates", and others in the dog-fighting "game" treated their "fighters". 

You increase the "player pool" to accomodate training...those that are not regarded as "elite" are retained/recruited to take part of the training process, including fight exhibitions...and discarded when they've served their usefulness, or can no longer participate.

Even the elite are discarded/killed when their earning power has rehab, and insufficiant aftercare, if any at all.

Yes, there is obviously a difference in that humans have a high level of reasoning, but IMO individuals also have a tendency to fool themselves into thinking "that won't happen to me", when considering (if even considered at all) the long term consequences of this profession.

I'm not advocating that former players receive compensation beyond thier playing days, but rather that they do receive the medical aftercare resulting from their injuries, and to receive that without an inordinate amount of red tape designed by owners to "contain" those costs.

I'm not certain that the players of the 40s, 50s, 60s...had the body of evidence available today, underscoring that professional football impacts the lifespan of former players to the tune of 10-15 years or so.  Certainly they didn't have the earnings opportunity to pay for the post retirement medical treatment resulting from their playing days.

To so easily shrug them off, as some commenters have done...I'd like to say "hard to believe", but realize there's an "a$$ for every seat".

I don't see how anyone could be on one side of the Vick issue, and his treatment of fighting dogs, but the opposite side with respect to owners treatment of former players regarding post-retirement after care.  Not that that been explicit's more my take on the overwhelming disregard for Vicks actions, and the much lower regard, in public opinion, for the issues former NFL players have communicated.

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 8:15 am

The Daily Shoutout

Unfortunately you and the people you've met would be entirely wrong since the $620 million is over a 10-year period, while the NLF is a $9.5 billion PER YEAR business.  You might want to think things through before you attempt to call people out.

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 8:11 am

The Daily Shoutout

Except that the retirees that are being discussed didn't earn millions of dollars playing football.  Some of them barely earned thousands, and had to work regular jobs in the offseason just to pay their bills. I'm not saying that they deserve to live like kings off of their pensions for the rest of their lives, but at the very least the NFL should pay for their hospital bills for football-related injuries, which hasn't happened in the past.  Some of the old timers have a very valid complaint, and you seem to be arguing solely from the point of current players.

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 8:00 am

The Daily Shoutout

Thanks for typing the words I was thinking.  To many people wanting something for nothing.

Since: Aug 11, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 7:48 am

The Daily Shoutout

I think the biggest problem I have with this statement from the retired players is the fact they believe, based on their work previously they are entitled to a portion of the pie.  In what industry do the former employees have a seat or consideration in a current labor CBA?  To say that they built the league is to say that auto workers of the 30's and 40's did so they should have been included in the UAW labor negotiations and I don't believe they were.

What makes football players so deserving of being cared for the rest of their lives?  Sure it's a dangerous sport and DESTROYS a body but they played and knew the consequences.  They didn't plan ahead, but they're the first to tell you they played for the LOVE of the game and weren't concerned about money back in the day.  Well you can't have it both ways, you either played for love or money.  You can't say you played for love and then demand a portion of the revenue that you say you built.  It's pretty disingenious, but when you're talking about me first people what do you expect.

Players, the NFL, owners all offer platitudes on the game's lack of affordability for the blue collar fan, yet all their actions show they're doing everything they can to squeeze every red cent out of the golden goose.  Here's an idea, why don't you put HALF as much effort into caring for yourself as you do trying to FORCE other people to.  The NFL is beginning to learn that the problem with the socialist model is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money.  Well, the TV deals will stay working but I don't know how long we can sustain these ticket and merchandise prices, we'll see, I could be totally wrong.

Since: Jul 19, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 7:28 am

The Daily Shoutout

So these guys earn millions of dollars playing football and then retire when they're 30-35 years old. Then they want retirement money from the NFL. First, save your money when you play instead of wasting it on expensive cars and homes. Invest it. Secondly, when you retire from football, go get a real job like 99% of the rest of us. Stop crying about not getting retirement money from the NFL.

Since: Jul 19, 2011
Posted on: July 19, 2011 6:22 am

The Daily Shoutout

Maybe he's one of the smartest people you'll ever meet, Freeman, but I & many of the people that I've met would know that 620 million is actually a little more than 6.5% of 9.5 billion.

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