Alex Marvez: A Fox in the retired player house
NFL Alumni Executive Director George Martin recently held a successful “inaugural” NFL Alumni Celebrity Golf Classic in Oradell, NJ, benefiting the NFL Alumni Foundation’s local youth initiatives.
He raised $40,000 in charitable contributions, but even so, this good deed did not go unpunished when FoxSports.com writer Alex Marvez ripped into George Martin for what he said was a shameless endorsement of a sponsor who let him drive around in a brand new vehicle.
For the record, Cadillac was the major sponsor of the event and like all corporate sponsors they just wanted a little publicity in exchange for their charitable contribution.
In his article, Mr. Marvez admits that “It’s also par for the course to thank a sponsor – within reason – who helps fund a charitable endeavor like the aforementioned golf tournament.”
Obviously, Cadillac wanted Mr. Martin to promote their product and what better way to do that then to test-drive their car and then write about it. Isn’t that within reason?
Mr. Marvez called this a “shady media-relations ploy.” That’s Fox crap!
What’s shady about giving a sponsor some publicity in exchange for their charitable contribution? They didn’t GIVE him the car for God’s sake; they merely let him drive it for a week.
As part of their of their sponsorship agreement, I assume they asked Mr. Martin to post some comments on Twitter about the performance of the car – which he did. Hopefully, Mr. Martin’s endorsement will help to secure Cadillac’s participation and charitable donations for next year’s golf tournament and that’s just smart business. Mr. Martin should be credited with securing Cadillac as a sponsor and raising money for charity, not ridiculed for being greedy.
Mr. Marvez also says the “vehicle was lent to Martin solely because of his NFLA position.” That’s Fox turds!
Does he really think George Martin could have walked into a Cadillac dealership and driven out with a loaner just because of his NFLA position? In the corporate world you have to give something to get something. Does anyone think for a second that Fox Sports lets their corporate sponsors’ splash ads all over their website for free?
In his attempt to turn retired players against Mr. Martin and the NFL Alumni, Mr. Marvez resorts to class warfare, which is surprising, since that’s something Fox News – their parent company – really abhors. He says “ex-players struggle to make ends meet on pensions whose monthly value would barely pay for a tank of his gas.”
George Martin has worked hard to get to where he is today. If people are jealous, bitter or envious of his success, then that’s their problem – not his. He shouldn’t have to walk around in sackcloth and ashes to help the less fortunate.
In his article, Mr. Marvez acknowledge George Martin’s good deeds and unselfish acts when he talked about the $5 million that he raised for the ailing 911 rescue workers. Mr. Martin’s Journey for 911 also garnered him an impressive list of awards and recognition including:
- An “Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters” from Fairleigh Dickinson University
- The Heisman “Humanitarian” Award
- An “ESPY Award” from ESPN
- The “Ellis Island” Medal of Honor
- Fox & Friends “Person of the Year”
The irony of that last reward from Fox should not be overlooked by anyone!
As you can see, George Martin has “earned” the American dream. He works hard and he’s paid well. He can afford to buy some things that others can’t. That doesn’t mean he’s forgotten about the men who gave their blood, sweat and tears to the NFL.
Unfortunately, Alex Marvez wasn’t done bashing George Martin in his article. He also said that Mr. Martin “failed to interject himself as a relevant figure into labor negotiations last spring between the NFL and NFL Players Association.” That’s Fox poop!
Let me remind Mr. Marvez of the following:
- It was Mr. Martin that proposed a $100 million immediate increase in retired player pensions. The NFLPA immediately shot down the idea unless the owners agree to a two-year extension of the CBA (Something they knew the owners would never agree to)
- It was George Martin that pushed for a Rookie Salary scale to help the pre-1993 players. DeMaurice Smith was initially against this idea until pressure from retired players and the NFL Alumni began to mount
- It was George Martin that pushed for a Long Term Care insurance program that is now covering over 2,500 former players. The NFLPA rejected the joint funding of the program
- It was George Martin that sat down with NFL management to help craft a Legacy Benefit distribution plan that was more equitable to the older generation of players
- It was Mr. Martin that gave the NFL a proposal that would have increased NFL owner contributions to the pension plan, disability benefits and medical services by 1.5 billion. That’s $500 million more than what the NFLPA agreed to in the new CBA.
Mr. Marvez, also said that Mr. Martin ruined his credibility with the NFLPA because of his financial ties to the NFL. That’s Fox dung!
The NFLPA and DeMaurice Smith have relentlessly attacked George Martin’s credibility by lying to retired players and telling them that he was hired by and paid by the NFL owners. That’s a real slap in the face to the retired players that sit on the NFL Alumni Board of Directors that picked Mr. Martin over 150 other applicants for the position. The NFL didn’t hire George Martin and they can’t fire him. That sounds familiar doesn’t it! Only the thousands of NFL Alumni dues paying members that support his salary and the administration of the NFL Alumni can do that.
Mr. Marvez is right about one thing. The NFL Alumni has received loans from the NFL.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – The NFL owes us that money – and whole lot more. Retired players are the Ambassadors of the game. We are the Legacy the NFL talks about every chance they get. We are the players that have been captured on films and digital media that have been sold and generated hundreds of millions for the NFL owners.
We don’t need anymore loans from the NFL, we need outright grants! If the NFL can pay the active players $43 million annually for the right to use their images, don’t we deserve a good chunk of money for our promotional activities?
Retired players shouldn’t have had to file a Class action lawsuit against the NFL for violating our “publicity rights.” The NFL needs to do the right thing and settle that lawsuit and allow retired players and the NFL Alumni to start generating revenues from the sale of our images. That’s the biggest barrier preventing the NFL Alumni from becoming a totally independent, self-sufficient organization.
Getting corporate sponsorships and partnering with businesses are the other big ways the NFL Alumni can generate enough revenues to get weaned off the NFL tit. I am glad to see Mr. Martin and the NFL Alumni aggressively pursuing partnerships that will help both the charity and advocacy missions of the NFL Alumni.
Mr. Marvez also claimed that “Martin pulled a coup to change the NFL Alumni’s focus from charity events to advocacy for the league’s retirees.” That’s Fox chips!
The NFL Alumni Board members changed the focus of the organization before anyone – including George Martin – was considered for the job. Fourth and Goal members, including the President, Bruce Laird were instrumental in drafting the language that included the new mission of Player Advocacy. It was George Martin’s job to implement the board’s new mission. No doubt, there was resistance to this new focus by the NFLPA and some former players that were content to let the organization slip further away from its original mission of advocacy.
Here’s a quick history lesson for Mr. Marvez.
When the NFL Alumni was originally established, the organization “advocated” for pre-1959 retired players to receive pensions, but it did not become a reality until George Martin became the President of the NFL Players Association. It was Mr. Martin that laid the groundwork for the 1993 CBA, which included this landmark grant of retirement benefits to the pre-1959 players.
In talking about this, Mr. Martin said “Negotiating sorely needed benefits for the men that truly laid the foundation of the NFL was my proudest accomplishment as President. I know first-hand what it means to put one’s livelihood and the fortunes of one’s family on the line to fight for what is right.”
As I said before, actions speak louder than words.
Mr. Marvez also talked about the retired player’s dissatisfaction with the NFLPA because of Gene Upshaw’s statements about retired players and the previous class-action lawsuit against the NFLPA over Group Licensing.
Apparently Mr. Marvez thinks all retired players should forgive and forget when he said “While the NFLPA has tried to extend an olive branch, some ex-players will never forget when former executive director Gene Upshaw said “I don’t work for them.” Mr. Marvez goes on to say that “there are some ex-players who probably wouldn’t be satisfied financially even if the league offered them Peyton Manning-sized contracts.”
As you can see, Mr. Marvez likes to exaggerate.
If he can find me just one former player that wouldn’t be satisfied with Manning’s annual salary, then I’ll show you a player that has severe brain damage – probably as a result of concussions they sustained while playing in the NFL. In fact, I would say that Peyton Manning’s (5) year – $90 million contract would satisfy almost 1,000 players for 5 straight years if it was part of the revenue that financed the proposed Legacy benefit.
Let’s do the math: $90 Million divided by 5 years equals $18 million per year divided by 1,000 former players equals $18,000 annually or $1,500 monthly. Now compare that to the proposed Pension Plan “Legacy benefit” which, for most former players, will be less than $1,000 a month.
What is really interesting to note in Mr. Marvez’s article, is that he doesn’t mention DeMaurice Smith’s name even once.
He had the audacity to say that George Martin “abused the power of his office” but makes no mention in his article that 28 Hall of Fame players have actually sued DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA for what is essentially an abuse of their power!
The lawsuit contends that even though former player benefits have been improved, they do not sufficiently address existing needs, stating, “The shortfalls and inadequacies in the retirement system are, in part, the result of the NFLPA sacrificing the interests of the rights of retired NFL players to the benefit of active players both within and outside of the context of the CBAs with the League.”
In the closing remarks of his article, Mr. Marvez segues into the issue of retired player unity – as though he really cares about retired players finding a home under one roof. If that were really true, he never would have carried out his petty and spiteful character assassination of George Martin.
The Fox – Mr. Marvez – needs to get out of our house and let us deal with any divisions in our ranks.