George Martin hits the road to meet with former players
As most of you know, NFL Alumni Executive Director and President George Martin walked 3,000 miles to raise money for the medical needs of September 11, 2001, first responders. In his recent meeting with former players in the Buffalo area, he told us he went through 27 pairs of sneakers between New York and San Diego. Talk about the rubber meeting the road!
Over the past year, Mr. Martin has logged a lot of miles visiting established and emerging NFL Alumni chapters to give former players a better understanding of what the organization has accomplished since he became our leader. He’s already been to Northern California, Indianapolis, New York and Phoenix. His next tentative stop is Denver. If you live in the area, be sure you come out and meet him personally.
One thing you will quickly find out about Mr. Martin is that he is first and foremost a family man. You will seldom see him without his wife Diane at his side. Mr. Martin is acutely aware of the fact that our wives and our children are the driving forces behind many of the decisions that we make, and as such, they should always be included in the NFL Alumni’s mission and vision for improving our lives.
At our Buffalo meeting of local alumni, Mr. Martin said, “While there is much more that needs to be accomplished, the NFL Alumni’s role in advocating for improvements in the quality of life for retired NFL players and their families has been achieved in a number of important areas. In addition to our efforts to secure Long Term Care Insurance and increases to the 88 Plan for the men that need our help the most, we have successfully petitioned the National Football League and NFL Players Association for vast improvements to pension benefits for all pre-1993 players.”
As you can imagine, the number one topic of discussion at the meeting was the Legacy Benefit. Mr. Martin talked about his recent meeting with the NFL where he was invited to provide recommendations on the distribution of this new pension supplement. After consulting with the NFL Alumni Chapter Presidents and the general membership, he was able to bring the key concerns of thousands of former players before negotiators.
Mr. Martin distributed a chart showing us how the benefit would be allocated under a proposal that would provide specific increases that are based on three factors:
- What “floor” amount ($500, $600, $750, $1,000 or none) will be established for players who took Early Retirement, Early Payment, or the Social Security Adjustment Option
- The number of credited seasons a vested player had during his pre-1993 career
- The era in which a player was active (providing a higher benefit credit for older players)
Mr. Martin told us that he has asked for the payments to be retroactive to the August 4, 2011 signing of the CBA.
In his presentation, Mr. Martin also talked about the newest effort to market retired players through the NFL Alumni’s Group Licensing Program: “By granting us the right to represent you in this program, you enable us to create and secure significant revenue-producing programs that will begin to provide retired players with an opportunity to leverage their name and likeness for continued financial gain.”
In order for this to be successful endeavor, Mr. Martin says it is imperative that as many former players as possible sign the agreements. He stressed that these are non-exclusive agreements. In other words, you’re free to secure your own opportunities independent of the agreement. The NFL Alumni will pay you 80% of the net proceeds for each use of your rights, and use 20% for alumni advocacy, charity and association operations. You can download a copy of the agreement at http://bit.ly/nfla_gla
He also talked about the NFL Alumni’s partnership with Stoneacre, a technology company that is in the process of developing a website that will help us connect with our fan base.
In the meetings he has had with top-level NFL marketing representatives, Mr. Martin has been successful in getting team logos on NFL Alumni merchandise. He said he will continue to work to increase revenues by working with League officials to get additional licensing agreements that expand our merchandising and apparel sales.
During the question and answer period of his presentation, Mr. Martin said he was well-aware of the opinions of some former players that the NFL Alumni is controlled by the NFL, but he said, “That perception will start to change as we continue to increase our revenue base through corporate sponsorships and better marketing of former players.”
In his closing remarks, Mr. Martin said he doesn’t really care about the things that have divided retired players in the past. He said he’s only interested in finding solutions to the problems that have plagued us and have prevented us from coming together.
We can all unite by becoming members of an organization that is governed and led by retired players, and is entirely devoted and focused on us!
It is time for all of us to get moving in the same direction.
It’s time for the rubber to meet the road.