Retired Players Need A Bullet Point!
In a March 19, 2011 letter to Roger Goodell, the former Executive Director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith responded to the owner’s final proposal to the active players.
That’s right, I said former NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, because he – and the now defunct NFL Players Association – no longer represent active players. As he states in the letter, class counsel in the Brady litigation now represent the players, with the NFLPA and its Executive Committee serving as advisors to any settlement discussions.
Shouldn’t DeMaurice Smith be saying that the NFL Players Trade Association is serving as an adviser, and shouldn’t he be writing his letter on NFL Players Trade Association letterhead, instead of using the NFLPA letterhead?
I guess the urge to continue representing the active players will be a difficult habit to break.
You may have noticed that the letter says nothing about representing retired players. In fact, there is not one mention about retired players in any of 14 bullet point statements he makes in his letter to Roger Goodell.
For the past two years, DeMaurice Smith has been telling us that he represents us at the bargaining table, so why wouldn’t he give us at least one bullet.
Goodell and the owners gave a simplified version of their final proposal to the NFLPA and one of their bullet points said:
- Owner funding of $82 million in 2011-12 to support additional benefits to former players, which would increase retirement benefits for more than 2,000 former players by nearly 60 percent.
Last Friday, DeMaurice said “…do you have a deal if you don’t like half the points that have been presented to you? You don’t. It’s not even probably, you don’t.”
DeMaurice Smith does not like the owners overall economic proposal, but shouldn’t he at least say what he DOES LIKE about the NFL’s proposal – if anything? Is there something he DOESN’T LIKE about the NFL’s proposal to boost retired player pensions?
There are some things I don’t like about it.
I don’t like the fact that it doesn’t cover all pre-1993 vested players – something that both the Union and the Owners said they were committed to doing. The proposal said that more than 2,000 former players would be covered by the increase. That is far short of the 5,551 vested players that have at least one credited season before 1993.
When the retired players hold their NFLPA sponsored convention in Florida this week, they need to ask DeMaurice Smith if he will honor the retired player resolution that stated the following:
RESOLVED, that the NFLPA Former Player membership expresses its full support for the active NFLPA membership in their demand during their CBA negotiations that the NFL and its member Clubs establish a Legacy Fund for Former Players to be funded by 2% of the profits generated by the NFL and its member clubs each year; and that the Legacy Fund be used to increase the pensions of all Former Players who have a credited season before 1993 and who are currently receiving a pension by an additional $2,000 per month.
For many retired players, the wording of the resolution made it sound like the pension increase would only be given to retired players “currently” receiving pensions.
I was assured by Ray Schoenke – the retired player who proposed the original motion for the resolution – that the intent of the resolution was to provide increases for all pre-1993 vested players. In an email to me, Mr. Shoenke said that “Prior to attending the Convention, I did a fair amount of research on this subject, having discussions with DeMaurice, NFLPA staff, and league officials. The motion was unanimously supported. As the process moved forward the minutes of the Convention were published, along with the Legacy Resolution. The qualification criterion was different than what was proposed. The motion qualification criterion that I made was for “pre ’93 vested players”. At my insistence, follow up conference calls with Chapter Presidents were held to clarify the motion as well as to discuss follow up steps for the Resolution. “
I posted this information in a Fourth and Goal article that can be read at this link: NFL Legacy Fund Resolution is “Resolved”.
After clarifying that issue, I conducted some research and found that there were 5,510 vested players that had at least one credited season before 1993. Here is a link to the article where I discuss this issue: How many former NFL players would receive the proposed increase in Pensions?
So why does the owner’s proposal only cover 2,674 players? What about the other 2,877 retired players who have at least one credited season before 1993? Did DeMaurice Smith tell the owners that this was unacceptable?
The big question for retired players is this: Will DeMaurice Smith fight as hard for our benefits as he will for active player benefits?
I certainly hope so.
I would probably have more faith in him if – during the convention – he made a public statement supporting a $2,000 increase in all pre 1993 retired player pensions.
Unfortunately, the last time he said something about this, it was not even close to what the retired players asked for in the resolution.
In an interview with SB Nation Mr. Smith said “I’ve said every team should make a contribution of at least a million dollars a year for a total of $32 million a year for what I would call the legacy fund. That legacy fund should go to all the player’s pensions who played prior to 1993 and that would increase all their pensions by, get this, $1,000 per month.”
That is only half of what was called for in the resolution. Needless to say, that statement did not sit well with a lot of retired players.
As I mentioned before, DeMaurice Smith did not mention retired players even once in his letter……. but he did talk about rookies and said “As our player leadership told you and the owners time and again during the negotiations, the current players would not sell out their future teammates who will be veterans in a few short years.”
I hope the NFL and the active players don’t sell out the retired players either……..especially since we have already donated our blood, sweat and tears to a game and a business that has brought both of them considerable wealth and prosperity.
Posted on March 20, 2011, in NFL Alumni News and tagged demaurice smith, National Football League, National Football League Players Association, nfl, roger goodell, SB Nation. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.