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 walks across the U.S. to raise money for 911 first responders

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.  

Advertisements

About Jeff Nixon

Jeff was a first team consensus All-American from the University of Richmond in 1978. He is 7th in NCAA history with 23 career interceptions. Played for the Buffalo Bills 1979-1984. Led the team with 6 interceptions in Rookie Year. Holds Bills record for 4 takeaways in a single game - 3 interceptions and a fumble recovery. Tied Bills record with four consecutive games with an interception. After 5 knee surgeries Jeff retired from pro football in 1985. He worked for 13 years (1988-2000) as the Youth Bureau Director for Buffalo and Erie County. He has worked for the past 11 years as the Youth Employment Director for Buffalo. Plays guitar and was voted best R&B guitar player by Buffalo Nightlife Magazine in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Posted on October 24, 2011, in NFL Alumni News. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I’m Francis Winkler and I play for the Green Bay Packers in 68,69, and got traded to Altanta because I was injury and could not play ball any more. I did get 3 vested years in the N.F.L. but my question is if any one knows of a good knee surgeon in the Seattle , Washington aera.
    Also with my 3 vested years in the N.F.L. will I have any money coming my way.

  2. Francis.. The NFL Alumni has advocated on behalf of ALL former NFL players regardless of their years of service. We continually strive to place all former players on par with today’s player benefits. There has been resistance from both the league and the players association in creating what we feel is an equitable issue. We will likely never receive reparations for the inequities. Where current new retirees receive the benefits of former generations in terms of many plans we (older pre ’93) retirees will never see, neither will they bend for all former players to recieve benefits. Today, they vest at 3 years, the NFL Alumni continues to push for improvement for ALL (EVEN ONE YEAR of service) retirees. But neither the League or the Players Association is willing to acknowledge that with MONEY out of “their” pockets. Even though it is our hearts, and bodies that have gone into the overall image that the NFL and Players Association $$$$$$$ BENEFIT $$$$$$$$ from.

    • Thank you for the reply, even thou I knew the answer. The people in power, get more power, and the little ones, with little power get less power.The 3 years I got were not as good as many would of thought. Especially the year in the hospital and rehab for a shoulder that was 50% gone. The NFLPA said the shoulder needed to be 60% gone before they could do anything. After leaving those 3 years on the field of battle and joining the real world. I had to have aother shoulder operation and 5 knee operaton. The only good thing I know is :
      God is great,
      Beer is good,
      And people are crazy.

  3. Jeff,

    Thanks for setting the record straight on George’s “greed”. You never know what tripe is going to appear on the Internet, but one would think that journalism might still prevail especially with such a company as Fox! The real disappointment for me is that our fellow retirees take this “horse hockey” and post it on their blogs and newsletters. I, for one, can testify to George’s tireless efforts on behalf of former NFL players no matter their situation. We may not always agree with his methods, but I guarandamnteeya, he is working for us.

    David Carter
    Offensive Lineman
    Houston Oilers 1977-1984
    New Orleans Saints 1984-1985

  4. Walker Gillette

    Jeff,

    The truth will set you free! You are doing a great job keeping us informed … keep it up. One day I hope to meet my fellow University of Richmond alumni and thank you in person.

    I played with George on the Giants and I know what a great person he is and appreciate the job he is doing representing his fellow retirees. I too think Fox is a fair news organization, but Mr. Marvez should be FIRED.

    Walker Gillette
    70′ – 77′

  5. Jeff, you nailed it. What a ridiculous attack on George. I think we are so lucky to have him leading the charge for all us retired guys out here. Thank you for all your efforts in keeping all of us informed. Keep up the great work.

    Scott Kozak
    Houston Oilers 89′ – 93′

  6. I would think that more emphasis would be better served by all parties in having the legacy benefit that is sitting there distributed to those who really need it. Who cares what kind of car George Martin drives or where it came from? I certainly don’t care, I want to see something positive and I’m tired of all the nagative in-fighting.

  7. Jeff- We should realize Marvez is nothing more than a shill for the NFLPA. As former NFL players, i’m sure we all experienced writers of his ilk in the locker room who would hang around after a game or practice and eavesdrop in an attempt to intercept a player’s private comment to another player and blow it totally out of context in the morning edition of his paper. This is referred to as yellow journalism. Marvez only wishes he could be the man George Martin is. Since he isn’t, he will endeavor to sully George’s character with his “investigative”reporting that is totally misrepresented. Keep on keeping on George. Your leadership is greatly appreciated!!!

  8. Jeff,

    FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, ESPN, et, el, have too much invested with the NFL and fear any negative comments regarding the owners. Our soul rescourses of any pention benefits come from the owners. They are the only ones that have and will continue to support all retired player benefits. If they do not follow up on their words from earlier this year then the courts are the retired players’ only remaining option.

    The NFL Alumni and the NFLPA are neither the answer to the retired players’ needs.

    Fred “Curly” Morrison
    Chicago Bears 1950 – 1953
    Cleveland Browns 1954 – 1956

  9. Great job! Thanks for the info.

  10. JEFF,

    I AM ONE OF THE NON VESTED RETIRED PLAYERS. MY TIME WAS CUT SHORT BY INJURIES. I HAVE HAD THREE KNEE REPLACEMENTS TEN BACK OPERATIONS AND HAD A SHOULDER REPLACED AND HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO GET ANY FINANCIAL HELP. SO IT LOOKS LIKE THERE ISN’T ANY THING DOWN THE ROAD FOR ALL NON VEST RETIRED PLAYUERS.

%d bloggers like this: