Being a former high school athlete I know the problems that many former National Football League players face as I myself have become disabled from the game to the point that I have to take multiple pain killers just to have the ability to function normally without pain.
Knowing the problem that many pre 1993 former NFL players face there was still one eye opening fact that I learned in an interview with NFL Alumni director of communication Jim Morris. That being there are many former players that don’t get any pension at all, along with a fact about the current labor agreement that will floor people.
I knew previously that many former players from the 1960s get very little in pensions from the NFL, along with any players in the 1970s and 1980s that were given bad information to take their pensions early. What I didn’t know was how a player becomes eligible for pensions from the different era’s.
According to Morris, players that have played after 1993 only have to invest three years to become eligible for a pension while pre 1993 players have to have four and pre 1959 (which are refereed to 59ers according to Morris) had to have five years. The big deal is the average NFL player’s career is three years and that means there are many players that receive no benefits at all. To put it plainly there are former players out there that are having to deal with injuries as a result of their playing careers with no help at all what so ever.
What NFL fans need to understand is that before 1993 players had to work two jobs to make ends meet as the NFL didn’t pay as well as it does today. That means players from that time and era are living on wages they earned from their second job or social security.
The problem is that even though there is a new NFLPA executive director in DeMaurice Smith things haven’t changed according to Morris.
“There is no change in the way that they treat us and that is disappointing,” Morris stated. “The thing that they fail to acknowledge is the fact that we been just as hard on NFL owners as we have with the NFLPA. The only difference is that the owners have listened more.”
The thing is this problem isn’t old as it has been going on for years and the reason why that former players organized and created the NFL Alumni as former NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw ignored former players for a long time even going on to state that it isn’t his job to represent former players.
That leads me to the current bombshell about in regards to the current collective bargaining agreement proposal. Like many others I didn’t know the details of it, but I was hopeful for it when I head that when players retired they would have to option to keep their health insurance. I was hopeful that already retired players would also get health insurance as it is tough for them to get it due to pre-existing conditions.
However, that was not to be as the health care option is only for players that have played from 2003 and beyond. To be honest that is disconcerting as there is good possibility that President Obama’s health care law will be labeled unconstitutional and would put former players back to square one as the law contains language that health insurance companies cannot discriminate against people for having preexisting conditions.
Morris also had another great comment that highlight the problems with the current collective bargaining negotiations.
‘We don’t care about the other stuff,” Morris said. “All we care about is getting increased pensions and health insurance for former players.”
Meaning the NFLPA doesn’t give a rats rear about the employees that work at the stadium, front office or the average NFL fan. The only thing they care about is keeping the amount of money they have and maybe even increasing it.
In the end, hopefully the NFL Alumni accomplish their goals as these former warriors deserve it after all they have had sacrificed.