On Wednesday, the NFL disseminated an e-mail touting its contributions to current and former player benefits in 2010.
Specifically, the league announced that owners will deposit $177 million on Thursday to complete the funding for the 2010 season.
“NFL ownership is proud of the outstanding benefits that NFL players have enjoyed in recent years and the improvements that have been made for retired players,” Panthers owner Jerry Richardson said in a league-issued release. “We have more work to do, especially for the retired players, and look forward to further improvements being part of the new NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement.”
The lockout means that current players will get no benefits.
But before anyone begins to draw up the canonization applications for Richardson and any of the other owners, let’s keep in mind the NFLPA*’s position that the owners were merely doing that which they had contractually agreed to do.
“NFL players would like to thank the NFL for issuing a press release touting their contractual and legal obligations,” the NFLPA* said in response to the league’s proclamation, via an e-mail forward to PFT by spokesman George Atallah. “If it wasn’t for players, namely John Gordy, players wouldn’t have any benefits. The next press release that comes from the NFL should announce that the owners have lifted the lockout, the ultimate benefit to players and fans.”
Amen to that. (That said, we’d settle for a press release from the NFLPA* detailing the point-by-point response to the owners’ most recent offer, especially since the ball remains in the players’ court. Or a recognition that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith erroneously told Mike Francesa of WFAN that the owners have made no contributions to former player pension plans in years.)
As to the league’s public back-patting regarding player benefits, it’s one thing to brag about charitable contributions. It’s quite another to brag about making contributions that weren’t charitable but mandatory.
In that vein, I’d like to announce that I paid my car insurance today, with a check that I personally took the time to write. And, next week, I’ll pay my Sprint bill, by dialing customer service and punching in my credit card numbers. (Eventually, I’ll even pay for that $246,000 in jewelry I bought last year. After they sue me, of course.)
We trust that, on April 15, the owners will issue a similar statement regarding the payment of their federal, state, and local taxes. Unless, of course, they use the same accountants and/or tax lawyers that certain multinational companies employ.