We’ve heard plenty about the loss of player health insurance benefits during a lockout, since that’s the most important employment benefit for any worker — and since players will for the first time in their careers have to write a monthly check to ensure the continuation of the benefits. Though, in theory, they should all be able to afford a payment that likely will range between $1,000 and $3,000 per month, some players could be tapped out. Others simply may lack the discipline or the structure to remember to make the payment.
Beyond health insurance, the NFL makes a wide range of benefits available to players, and the loss of those benefits would, in some cases, hurt the team as much or more than the players.
For example, the no-questions-asked ride program for players who have had a few too many but not so many that they don’t realize they shouldn’t be driving won’t be available. Thus, they’ll have to find another way home.
More importantly, players receive all sorts of counseling from the league and/or their teams. Drug counseling. Marital counseling. Any type of counseling they may need is available.
In a lockout, it won’t be. Some may have the money, the time, the motivation, and the resourcefulness to seek it out on their own. Some may not. For those who need it and who don’t get it, the lack of that benefit hurts the team and the player.
Then there’s the simple inability of coaches to pick up the phone and call their players. As former Falcons and Seahawks coach Jim Mora explained it during a recent visit to ProFootballTalk Live, coaches routinely talk to their players. In a lockout, the communications end. And thus will end the ability of coaches to influence players to make good decisions, to hold them accountable, and to simply maintain and/or expand the relationship.
It’s another very important reason for both sides to work this thing out.