With a lockout a virtual certainty come March 4 (absent a new labor deal), the union has sounded the alarm to all players.
The NFLP issued on Friday guidelines for all players, which become effective today and will last until a new labor deal is struck.
The guidelines begin with some decidedly low-tech advice.
“Make a list of everyone who owes you money,” the e-mail to all players recommends. “Turn up the heat and call in all those IOUs now so you can add to the balance in your lockout preparedness fund.”
The e-mail does not urge the players to refrain from breaking or threatening to break any bones in order to get their money. Hopefully, most of them will realize that this isn’t an acceptable collection technique.
“Take control of your cash and steer clear of these 5 Most Common and Harmful Money Mistakes,” the e-mail then explains, including a link to a secure site that players can access via password. “Mistakes can be catastrophic during this time where your finances are already vulnerable.”
Finally, the message suggests that the players “[l]ook ahead for alternative health insurance coverage if the lockout leaves you exposed,” and explains that they should “[t]ry to leverage the coverage with either your spouse’s employer-sponsored health plan or take advantage of the new healthcare legislation that enables you to gain coverage on your parent’s health insurance up to age 26.”
In English, the union wants the players to see if they can get onto someone else’s insurance. If that’s not an option, the players will be permitted to purchase ongoing health insurance for up to 18 months, under the COBRA laws.
This move illustrates the reality that, even though players won’t lose game checks until September, plenty of players who are due to become free agents will receive no signing or roster bonuses until the labor dispute is resolved. For men who assumed that they’d be hitting the market and depositing a check with lots of zeroes come March 4, the reality is that they’ll be depositing zero dollars and zero cents until the labor situation is resolved.