DeMaurice Smith serves active players first…. and foremost!
DeMaurice Smith tells us he represents both active and retired players.
Here is a quote that I believe is pertinent to that statement.
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other.”
I try to refrain from using the bible to make a point, but you have to agree, there are some very nice quotes in the “good book” that hold true in both the religious and secular world.
For the record, I don’t think DeMaurice Smith hates or despises retired players, but in the end he can only serve one master – the active players. If retired players aren’t smart enough to see that, then they will be fooled again into believing that the Union cares as much about them as it does the active players.
The former players that have aligned themselves with the NFLPA and the active players need to understand one important point:
Without the “external pressure” that some former players and advocates have brought on the NFL and the NFLPA, it is unlikely that any changes to the Pension or Disability Plan – or other benefits, would have come about.
Instead of hanging retired player “malcontents” in effigy for daring to speak out against the Union and the NFL, they should be thankful that some of the former players have questioned their leadership. Their voices have been instrumental in bringing about additional benefits, Congressional hearings and class action lawsuits against both the NFLPA and the NFL.
Does anyone think that the 215 NFLPA members that attended the Former Player Convention on Marco Island are going to be critical of NFLPA? Of course not! You don’t bite the hand that feeds you……and from what I’ve been told, they were fed quite well.
I remember the 2006 NFLPA Retired Player Convention, when Doug Allen the NFLPA Assistant Director at that time, boasted to me that the NFLPA spent $500,000 on the Convention and we should be grateful for what the Union is doing for us. All I could think of was how much that money could have helped former players that were in dire need because of medical bills that forced them into bankruptcy, or caused them to lose their homes.
I can only imagine what the NFLPA spent at this exclusive resort in Florida. Don’t get me wrong, I think retired players are worth being treated like kings, but are we being fattened for the kill?
The problem, as I see it is this: DeMaurice Smith has some retired players believing that the real enemy is George Martin…… and that’s sad, because anyone that really knows George Martin understands that he is fighting with all his power to get the owners to do the right thing. He has already taken steps to wean the organization off the tit of the owners.
There are some retired players that still claim that he is a “shill” of the owners because the NFL Alumni receives a measly 1.6 million from them. Heck, the NFLPA probably spent that in just two weeks at the Marco Island Resort.
Keep in mind, some of the money the NFL Alumni receives comes from licensing, marketing and the sale of merchandise. How do those same retired players feel about the fact that the NFL owners give the NFLPA and 1,700 active players approx. $43 Million annually to market them? Are they “shills” of the owners. Of course not, and neither is George Martin.
If anything, the NFL Alumni should also be getting $43 Million annually to market 13,000 former players!
Speaking of marketing and licensing, why did the NFLPA stop their Group Licensing Program with retired players? In part, because they were sued and lost and had to pay out 26 Million for not distributing any of the licensing money to former players. DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA settled that lawsuit, but that doesn’t mean it never happened.
DeMaurice Smith is the Chairman of NFL Players (the marketing company) and is in a position to influence who does – and who doesn’t – get paid for meet and greets, endorsements, card shows etc. That’s a powerful incentive for some active and retired players to just shut up, mind their own business and not say anything critical of the Union.
I am still amazed that active and retired players don’t see the conflict of interest in having the head of the Union as the Chairman of this business entity that markets active and retired players. This organization pays approximately 11 million to 110 employees. As far as I could tell, none of the employees of this organization are active or former players, which is rather astounding when you consider that all of the money they generate for their salaries is derived from marketing the players.
As you can see, George Martin has a long way to go to compete with the NFLPA – and the hearts and minds of former players. Many are taking a wait and see attitude, which is preferable to the attack dog mentality that I have seen from some of the membership.
George inherited a real mess from Frank Krauser – the previous NFL Alumni director – and it wasn’t easy dealing with some of the Board members that were resistant to the changes he proposed. At the meeting in Marco Island, one of the Board members actually questioned Mr. Martin’s employment decisions at the NFL Alumni and criticized him for letting certain people go. I wonder if that same member has ever questioned Mr. Smith’s employment decisions at the NFLPA.
There are some NFLPA members that say George wasn’t disrespected at the Convention. All I can say is there has been a consistent pattern of “documented” disrespect that has come from DeMaurice Smith and some other top NFLPA representatives since day one of his appointment by the NFL Alumni members.
Upon leaving the NFLPA meeting room, George Martin was met by a security detail that escorted him off the property. Tell me that wasn’t blatantly disrespectful.
I hope that some of the NFLPA former player members and Chapter Presidents will give George Martin the same chance they are giving DeMaurice Smith.
They want DeMaurice Smith to get more money from the owners for the Pension Plan.
Well, the NFL Alumni wants George Martin to get more money from the owners too!
George Martin has already brought home the bacon for thousands of players that will qualify for the Long Term Care insurance program with Transamerica. The NFLPA said they would not agree to split the cost of that benefit program because it didn’t cover every retired player. Well, what alternative plan did the NFLPA present? Zero!
Speaking of benefits, DeMaurice Smith recently made the following statement on WFAN radio “How much money do the NFL teams provide to the former player pensions? The answer is zero.”
He also had 10 NFLPA former player members issue a statement last year that said “Individual owners and teams have spent exactly nothing on retired player benefits.”
Why aren’t they telling the truth on this issue?
I’ll tell you why, because some players won’t take the time to investigate issues like this for themselves and therefore they will believe what he and other retired players are saying. It’s a way of rallying retired players to unite behind the NFLPA – but it is based on a lie.
DeMaurice Smith used this same tactic when he was first appointed to the NFLPA. If you remember he told retired players at the 2009 NFLPA Former Player Convention that all of our benefits would be eliminated in 2010 if the owners opted out of the CBA. It scared many retired players that didn’t know any better and feared that their retirement benefits and supplemental disability would be cut off. He made that statement knowing full well that retirement benefits could not be reduced for former players that had already earned those benefits and that the owners had already agreed to continue the supplemental disability payments.
All retired players want better benefits, but to deny what is already being done, and lie about it, should make a lot of retired players, the media and the public start to question the sincerity of other statements Mr. Smith has made.
The truth is, NFL owners are paying for numerous benefits – including the Pension Plan and Disability Plan. Most of the “big” benefits are paid as a direct result of Collective Bargaining, but there are also many other benefits that the NFL owners are paying for that are not required under the CBA.
Thousands of former players are receiving these benefits annually, but that still hasn’t stopped the NFLPA from making this false accusation.
DeMaurice Smith can deny that the NFL pays any benefits to retired players until he is blue in the face, but I’d like to see him tell that to players and families that actually receive those benefits!
- Tell that to the 3,154 retired Players that receive a pension for a total annual distribution of $63,774,329
- Tell that to the 176 widows and surviving children of deceased Players that received a total annual distribution of $9,809,661.
- Tell that to the 289 Players who applied for NFL disability in 2010 and were approved.
- Tell that to the 836 retired Players that currently receive NFL disability for a total annual distribution of $43,195,441.
- Tell that to the 247 Players that received financial aid through the NFL Player Care Foundation totaling $2,340,000 in 2010.
- Tell that to the Players, their wives and their dependents that received $18,734,549 for medical, dental and prescription drug insurance claims and administration in 2010.
- Tell that to the 151 players that are covered by the 88 Plan was established in February 2007 to assist retired NFL Players with forms of dementia, Lou Gehrig’s Disease or Alzheimer’s disease for a total of $10,582,765.
- Tell that to the 167 Players that were approved for the Joint Replacement Program and received $309,968 for out-of-pocket expenses associated with joint replacement surgery.
- Tell that to the 410 retired Players that currently receive a $100 per month subsidy through the Medicare Supplement Program for an annual NFL contribution of $450,000.
- Tell that to the retired players that had 40,094 prescriptions filled by using the NFL’s Discount Prescription Drug Program.
- Tell that to the 8 retired players that had their surgeries completely covered by the NFL Player Care Foundation, because they had no insurance.
As I mentioned before, the NFL owners just added Long Term Care insurance to this long list of benefits for retired players.
Long after the dust has settled and a new CBA is signed, sealed and delivered, George Martin and the NFL Alumni Board of Directors will still be fighting for additional programs and services for retired players.
Like many former players, I want an organization that serves me first…and foremost!