NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement: What's the Hold up?

John Doublin@CoachJayDeeSenior Writer IApril 11, 2010

Taking care of those that paved the way to prosperity.

One of the many sticking points in negotiating the new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL owners and NFLPA (NFL Player's Association) is post-retirement medical care and financially helping the "old timers."

The players aren't interested in signing a new agreement that doesn't include a pension and future medical care for both older and current players and the owners don't appear willing to sign one that has either.

When you consider the fate of former players like Mike Webster and more notably, Earl Campbell, this seems pretty ridiculous.

Why don't the owners want to help the men upon who's back their riches were greatly enhanced?

Why do the players feel that it is the sole responsibility of ownership?

Obviously, this issue needs to be re-examined. 

It is my contention that we shouldn't get into a situation similar to that of the auto industry or the state of California where the cost of paying pensions and medical insurance to retirees exceeds that of paying current employees. 

A situation like this is the fastest way possible to destroy the longevity and prosperity of any business or organization.

One look at the California state budget deficit and the red numbers on the General Motors balance sheet confirms that!

The financial burden of a program of this magnitude, although important, can and does discourage companies from expanding or hiring new employees, offering better benefits to current employees, often leads to lay-offs and eventually, complete dissolution or liquidation. 

The NFL would not be exempt from this potential outcome, should the burden fall only on the shoulders of ownership. That, in the end, would be far worse for everyone.


That said, I believe that the players of today are making MORE than enough money to: a) Take care of their own future medical care.  b) see to their own retirement needs. c) to give something back to the players that came before them that ARE in need, out of sheer respect and gratitude.

Don't misunderstand me, I think the NFL owners should be helping out, but they shouldn't have to do it alone.

The owners aren't the only ones that have gotten rich on the backs of the "old timers", the current players are incredibly wealthy now too.  The minimum salary in the league now is $285,000 to sit on the bench!

They players owe just as much to the "old-timers" as the owners do, if not more. The players are the group that have reaped the most benefit on the backs of the "old timers" by far, not the owners.

The owners were wealthy long before they ever bought their team or drafted a single player. The players for the most, were not.

The exorbitant salaries of today are a direct result of those that came before and laid the ground-work.

Men like Joe Namath, who demanded a contract of $400,000 to sign with the New York Jets of the AFL, rather than the NFL. He was the target of the first bidding war!

Current players also owe a debt of gratitude to men like Reggie White. Reggie was the first player to sign a "Plan-B" free agent contract in 1993.

Without this historic event working out so well, the system would be much different than it is today.

Therefore, I believe taking care of retirees pension and medical needs is more a responsibility of the players, rather than the owners.

Perhaps the real solution to the initial sticking point is for the NFLPA to take some of the millions of dollars in dues they collect each year and match whatever a player would donate as a requirement to remain in good standing with the union and the league, in conjunction with the NFL ownership donating a pre-determined percentage of that as well. 


The average NFL salary is $770,000. There are 53 men on the active roster of each of the 32 teams. (Practice squad players would be exempt from this requirement.)

So, let's say that each player would be required to donate 3 percent of their salary, or roughly $23,100 (based on the average stated above).

The NFLPA would match 25 percent of that, or $5,775.

The owners would then be required to match 25 percent as well for another $5,775. The total donation for each player would be $34,650 per player, per season. 

Now, multiply that number by the 1,696 players in the league. That would be a total of $58,766,400...EVERY SINGLE SEASON!

I'm pretty sure that a sum of money like that being put into a fund for retirees who live under a predetermined income level would go a long way to alleviating most of the tragedy that is currently transpiring amongst the "old timers."

Finally, if the player isn't willing to forfeit a measly three percent of his salary per year to help those that came before him, he doesn't deserve the privilege of playing in the NFL.

It's called "giving back" and they all claim they want to do it, so maybe they should step up and do it for the men that did all the "dirty" work for them many years ago.

But, I'm just one man with an opinion that doesn't mean much to the NFL, NFLPA or the players themselves.


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