The Retired NFL Player Movement and You
For the past 5 years, I have been writing articles on numerous retired player issues and posting them on NFL Retired Players United, Fourth and Goal and now the NFL Alumni website. I have also posted information from other writers that have different opinions and positions on the issues.
Communicating with each other and sharing information has become a powerful force in educating and uniting retired players…….but it can also be used as a tool to divide us. Separating fact from fiction is not easy – and discerning the truth is even harder.
The most important aspect of what I call “The Retired NFL Player Movement” is that we have the capability – through the internet and social networking – to voice our concerns and share our ideas on what we think should be done to help former NFL players.
If there were any doubts about the power of communication, all you have to do is look at what recently happened in Egypt.
I wonder what the former President, Hosni Mubarak thinks about Twitter, Facebook, Google, AOL, email systems and the blogosphere. By using these powerful communication portals, the people of Egypt organized mass protests in Cairo and other cities that toppled a corrupt dictatorship in just 18 days.
Bill Gates, Co-founder and Chairman of Microsoft once said “I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.”
I’m not suggesting we start a retired player revolution and take to the streets, but to a certain degree our collective efforts have now received the attention they deserve. When the media – TV and cable networks, newspapers and on-line reporters talk about the CBA – they almost always include the fact that retired player Pension Plan increases, Disability Plan reforms and medical benefits are major items of discussion in the negotiations.
I think the lesson to be learned here is that we have a tremendous amount of power in communicating with each other…….. and then uniting in ways that get our message out to the public, government officials, the news media and the people that hold appointed and elected positions in the NFL, NFLPA and the NFL Alumni.
When George Martin asked me to moderate this blog on the NFL Alumni Association website, he made it very clear that he did not want me to hold back any legitimate criticisms that I might have in regard to the way the organization was functioning, or in the way it was providing advocacy for retired players. I won’t….. and if you are an NFL Alumni member, you shouldn’t either.
In today’s world of politics, it was refreshing to hear him say this. Especially, when most leaders – whether they are in government or private business – are so concerned that their members are only using the “Talking Points” that have been handed down to them.
If our leaders are afraid of constructive criticism then they do not deserve the position they have been given.
At the NFL Alumni Winter meetings, George Martin said he was relying on the Chapter Presidents and the NFL Alumni members to hold him accountable. He asked Carl Mauck, Rod Smith, Vince Papale, Brett Weise and other elected leaders to let him know what they want him to do. Likewise, he said he can’t do it alone and that he will need the active participation of all members to move the organization to the next level.
I know there are still some former players that are skeptical of the NFL Alumni and they are taking a wait-and-see attitude before they become involved. Unfortunately, if we adopt that mind-set, we will not achieve our higher goals. If the people of Egypt took that attitude, they would still be ruled by a dictator.
I encourage all retired players to become members of the NFL Alumni and be part of the solution. Years from now, you will be able to say that you were part of the movement that swept across America and helped the organization fulfill its mission to assist former players and help our communities through the ‘Caring for Kids” program. We all need to lead by example.
Today we are led by a retired NFL player and we are governed by a Board of Directors composed exclusively of former NFL players – making the NFL Alumni the only organization wholly organized, governed, managed and led by its retired player members.
We are beginning to see the first fruits of the work that has been done by Mr. Martin and his staff. They have recently entered into contractual agreements with some prominent businesses that have good track records of increasing company revenues.
As a retired NFL player, what can you do to contribute to the success of the organization?
Hall of Famer, Joe DeLamielleure was the one that initially referred Stoneacre Partners, LLC to the NFL Alumni. That simple suggestion from a former player has now led to a partnership that will provide more marketing opportunities for retired players.
I know there are companies in your own communities that you have personal and /or business relationships with that would jump at the opportunity to affiliate with the NFL Alumni. You could be the catalyst that brings the two organizations together. By increasing our corporate sponsorships, we will continue to reduce our reliance on NFL owner funding and the perception that they influence the decision making at the NFL Alumni.
In closing, I want to remind everyone that this is an open forum for NFL Alumni members to share their thoughts, ideas and opinions. All I ask is that you keep your comments as civil as possible and that you refrain from “overly” personal criticisms and statements that are not supported by facts.
Please feel free to leave a comment here, or contact the NFL Alumni office directly at:
1 Washington Park
1 Washington Street, 14th Floor
Newark, NJ 07102
Phone: (973) 718-7350
Toll Free: (877) ALUM-NFL (258-6635)
Fax: (862) 772-0277
Fort Lauderdale Office
3696 N. Federal Highway, Suite 202
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
Toll Free: (800) 878-5437
Fax: (862) 772-0277