NBC’s Mike Florio “floors” retired NFL players
Mike Florio of NBC’s Pro Football Talk wrote an article today with a startling recommendation. He says that because Mike Vrabel has retired, the Brady plaintiffs’ should amend their complaint to include retired players.
Does he actually think that Mr. Vrabel can legitimately stand up in court and represent all retired players?
I wonder if Mike will decide to come out of retirement right out after the case is settled? That would be a “sham” wouldn’t it? That’s something Mike Vrabel and the NFLPA were accused of when they decertified the Union in order to allow active players to sue the NFL for anti-trust violations.
Whether it was a sham or not, it did give the Union more leverage in the CBA negotiations. Most retired players were ok with that -just as long as we had a voice in the discussions. Well, that hasn’t happened to our satisfaction, so we amended the Carl Eller complaint against the NFL to also include Mike Vrabel, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and the NFLPA – the organization that has boasted about giving retired players a voice.
They even went so far as to trademarked the saying: “One Team, One Lock Room, One Voice” as a way of rallying retired players to their case.
Here is what Mr. Florio said in his article: “Lawyer Michael Hausfeld, who represents the plaintiffs in the Carl Eller class action, explained on Friday’s PFT Live that his clients are in position to speak for the retired players because the Tom Brady class action has no plaintiffs who are retired players.
With one of the Brady plaintiffs — Mike Vrabel — reportedly retiring, the Brady class action now has that base covered.
And so the Brady plaintiffs immediately should file a motion for leave to amend the complaint to assert on behalf of Vrabel, and thus on behalf of all retired players, any and all claims that retired players may be able to assert.
Frankly, it’s still doubtful that retired players have any claims to assert. But to the extent that the Brady plaintiffs represent all current and former players, the Brady class can settle all claims without having to worry about the Eller plaintiffs screwing up the process.
Mr. Florio has written some favorable articles about the plight of retired players and he has been relatively fair and balanced in his coverage of the CBA negotiations, but there is one thing we must all keep in mind when we read the opinions of sports writers: They get paid for covering sports. If there is no sport, they have no job. Therefore, it doesn’t surprise me that Mike has turned against the retired players who have dared to fight a system that has rewarded the active players and the owners – at the expense of retired players.
Where’s my proof.
In 2010 the NFL Pension Plan was put on the endangered list because it wasn’t being properly funded. Meanwhile, the Union and the post-1993 players were putting millions of dollars in their own pockets by establishing other retirement type benefits to the tune of $736 million annually. A relatively small portion of that money covers pre-1993 retired player pensions and benefits.
Mr. Florio is encouraging the active players to abandon us. He says WE are screwing up the process.
No Mr. Florio…………it is WE who are being screwed!
Most retired players had no NFL Disability Plan, no Severance Pay Plan, no Health Reimbursement Account, no Tuition Assistance Reimbursement, no Player Performance-based Plan, no Minimum Salary Benefit, No Player Annuity Program, no Second Career Savings Plan, no five years of free medical coverage, no second medical opinion, no rules that protected players, no special helmets or special protective equipment, and no Pension for pre-1993 players with less than 4 years of service.
We played on crappy artificial turf that shortened our careers. We endured primitive surgical techniques and became the unintentional guinea pigs for today’s players. We were given drugs and treatments by team physicians that are now outlawed by the NFL and the AMA. We were denied water during practice and some players died of heat stroke. We had team physicians that were ordered to get us back on the field even though they knew we were injured and we were blackballed by the League for our union activities.
After being knocked unconscious, the team doctors held up three fingers and asked us how many we saw. It didn’t matter what we said. We read between the lines. We only saw the middle finger. That finger said get back in the game…….. or you’re screwed!
Mike Florio says we have no claim.
I just wish this jock sniffer had the guts to say something like that to the face of Conrad Dobler, Joe DeLamielleure, George Visger, Dave Pear, Elvin Bethea and the thousands of retired players that have given their blood for the enjoyment of the fans.
Because we played – writers like Mr. Florio have a job. Unfortunately, keeping that job may become more important to them then reporting the facts. In this case, the facts are very ugly, and the reporters and fans really don’t like to be reminded of the price we paid and the damage that’s been done to our bodies and minds. Mike Florio wants to put us in the junkyard surrounded by a high fence – out of sight out of mind. There is no “Cash for Clunkers” program for retired players.
Yes, I’ve heard the argument that this is a sport we chose to play. Does that mean we have to accept what has happened to many of us?
The pioneer players of the NFL have never received anything without a fight and we are not going to stop now just because some sports reporter thinks we are “screwing up the process”.
Now that Mike Vrabel has retired, Mr. Florio thinks he can be hoisted up as the representative of all retired players. I don’t like to swear, but you’ve got to be f***ing kidding me!
Here is what Mr. Vrabel will have when he retires:
- $600,000 in his Second Career Savings Plan
- $580,000 in his NFL Annuity Plan
- $300,000 in his Health Reimbursement Account
- $157,000 in his Severance Pay Account
- $45,000 in his Tuition Assistance Account
- $77,700 annually in his NFL Pension – $6,475 monthly at 55.
- 5 Free years of medical insurance coverage for him and his family after retirement
This doesn’t include his salary which has averaged out to over 3 million per year over the past 5 years.
Let’s compare that to many of the Hall of Fame players that are receiving pensions that, in some cases, are less than $200 per month. And as for compensation, the salaries they made were less than the cost of surgeries that many had to pay for out of their own pockets. Many of the reitired players had no disability plan to speak of and no post career medical benefits that helped them recover from debilitating injuries.
Does Mr. Florio really believe that Mike Vrabel would be a good representative of retired players, or is he just recommeding this legal manuever as a way of jumping this new “retired player hurddle”? I think we already know the answer to that question.
One last thing.
The United States Congress gave the NFL a waiver to act in violation of the anti-trust laws of our country. That gives Congress the right to take it back if they don’t like the way that retired player are being treated. We have a few former players that are in Congress right now and we have other advocates like John Conyers and Linda Sanchez that will carry our water. If you don’t think they have the courage to act on our behalf, then watch this video: Congressional Hearing on Concussions.
Some national sports writers, like Mike Florio have turned against retired players for selfish reasons. They are now trying to convince the public that we are nothing more than an “obstacle” to getting a final agreement. In their eyes, we are frivolous……and so is our lawsuit.
Some of the sportswriters are working within the insulated walls of power – working for the people that are really pulling the strings. They write and talk about this being a battle between billionaire owners and millionaire players, but no one is talking about the men behind the curtain – their bosses, the trillionaire corporations that have the greatest amount of money to lose if there is no agreement.
GE owns NBC – where Mike Florio works. If you want to see how deep the rabbit hole of ownership goes, just click on this link: Assets owned by General Electric Just look at how many of GE’s subsidiaries advertise their products on the networks and cable!
These companies have the largest vested interest in seeing the league up and running – fast. Sportswriters that work for them better fall in line before they find themselves in the unemployment line.
Let’s hope that others will find the courage to support what we are trying to accomplish for the men that have been forgotten by the League and the Union.
I have an email list of 4,000 retired players that will be receiving my rebuttal to Mike Florio’s article.
I would suggest that the next time Mike Florio is in the presence of older retired players, he wear a helmet………and not the flimsy kind that we wore that didn’t do much to protect us from the blows of the opposition.
Posted on July 10, 2011, in NFL Alumni News and tagged Carl Eller, Mike Vrabel, National Football League, National Football League Players Association, nfl, nflpa, tom brady. Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.