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Birk supports De Smith, retired players

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As we launch Super Bowl week, it’s important to keep in mind that the game is what it is today because of the efforts and sacrifices of the men who came before today’s players.

A man who is getting closer to becoming one of those former players made a persuasive case for doing more for retired players from the days before players made millions on Friday’s PFT Live.

The comments from Ravens center Matt Birk, who was one of the few to publicly criticize former NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw, came after Birk expressed support for current NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, whose contract expires in March.

Birk’s points are valid.  Even though the new CBA gives more money than ever to former players, more can still be done.  Though the legal rights of the men who made the game what it is are limited to nonexistent, it’s the right thing to do.

One easy — and relatively inexpensive, for the NFL — solution would be for the league and its teams to coordinate a major public fund raising effort, via a telethon and/or donation buckets at games and/or other easy avenues for those of us who enjoy today’s game to take care of the men who gave of their bodies during a different era of medicine, technology, and safety sensitivities.

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15 Responses to “Birk supports De Smith, retired players”
  1. KIR says: Jan 30, 2012 7:20 AM

    Sorry, I don’t think many fill it’s their responsibility to subsidize owners moral responsibility. The television networks are paying a combined total of $20.4 BILLION to broadcast NFL games as per the current contract that ends in 2013. From 2014 to 2022, the same networks will pay $39.6 BILLION for the same broadcast rights.

    I will never understand why people complain about NFL players making a few bucks. That 39 billion is paid to see them play. No one complains about the singer, actor or sportscasters income. NFL careers are extremely short and they risk concussions, broken bones, torn ligaments and permanent long term health for your simple entertainment. Yeah, I know you’d play for 50k, but guess what, no one wants to see you play so that’s 50k more than you’re worth on a football field. NFL players make more than you ever will because unlike you they have a talent and skill level that can not be replaced by anyone in THE WORLD. It’s called capitalism where goods, services and labor are determined by supply and demand.

  2. nesuperfan says: Jan 30, 2012 7:57 AM

    That will go over well: Rich people (the teams) begging fans at games, or via a telethon, for money to give to players, who regardless of era, still made more than most of us ever will (relative to the time they played), and squandered it.

  3. Soulman45 says: Jan 30, 2012 8:03 AM

    They need the help giv them a hand up.

  4. municrew says: Jan 30, 2012 8:32 AM

    Hey Matt, you want middle class families, after spending hundreds of dollars a game to watch you play, pay more to support retired players? I’m all for supporting the men who helped make this sport great, but maybe you could call your other multi-million dollar friends to help out. Didn’t hear to many players during negotiations stomping their feet that they get paid too much and more should go to the retirees. I pay for my health care without help from anyone else. It’s called the real world, but most of today’s players haven’t had to live in it. Maybe Goodell can give back some of his 10 mil. to help out.

  5. dcviking says: Jan 30, 2012 8:33 AM

    OK — you start with the football players.

    Show me where the buckets for

    Soldiers
    Firemen
    Police Officers
    Farmers
    Construction Workers

    (and others…)

    who gave of their bodies during a different era of medicine, technology, and safety sensitivities.

    I’ll start my donations there.

  6. metalhead65 says: Jan 30, 2012 8:55 AM

    heres a thought,why doesn’t the union take up a collection from the millionaires who belong to it? why don’t smith and the reps donate some of the millions they make working for the union? take care of your own before begging from the fans to do it for you. why don’t the players demand to see where the money goes from their dues? unlike the average working stiff they have power and money to do something about it if they do not like the answers they get. instead of just rubber stamping smith when his contract is up make him accountable for what he does with their money. there is enough money if the players want to help,but they would rather have sombody else do it for them than do the right thing themselves.

  7. shawon0meter says: Jan 30, 2012 9:05 AM

    Of all the good causes out there, and with the small percentage of people who have extra income, you really think a telethon for people who chose to play football would be successful? I don’t know about that.

  8. dubblelznhell says: Jan 30, 2012 9:31 AM

    Lol at that. This article made me laugh.

  9. vikingdoode says: Jan 30, 2012 9:37 AM

    Owners and current players have an obligation to care for retired players. Especially players who are fringe, non star players. I’m surprised that the NFL doesn’t have lifetime insurance for players. Yes the players would have to take some of the outrageous pay they get and have owners match a percentage!

  10. purplengold says: Jan 30, 2012 10:31 AM

    It’s time for the NFL to take more responsibility for former players, it’s sad to see discussions about whether the fans should pass the bucket or not. The NFL wouldn’t be there without the people who played when the money wasn’t the attraction that it is today.

  11. therealjr says: Jan 30, 2012 11:12 AM

    Flo, are you using again?

    You want the NFL to stage a charity event and ask the rest of us to pay for their retired players medical costs?

    Tell these old guys to hire a PR firm to let the world know the NFL doesn’t have it in their billions to help them out after they laid the foundation for the league.

  12. farmmbig says: Jan 30, 2012 11:36 AM

    You’ve GOT to be kidding me? A billion dollar industry begin fundraising efforts for sake of their former players?

    It never ceased to amaze me how greedy these people can be…

    As a fan, I continuously feel like we (fans) are being kicked in the nuts… The game is being reduced to flag football… the clock runs more than ever..Yet games are longer (more commercials + money)..

    So maybe instead of the two hour pregame shows, we should have Telethons for fans to be hit-up for donating MORE money?

  13. oldbyrd says: Jan 30, 2012 11:38 AM

    hats off to vikingdoode, that’s a fact jack. yet greed sets in and they raise tickect prices to pay for anything less in their pockets.

  14. JakeDSnake says: Jan 30, 2012 12:00 PM

    Birk supports De Smith for now, but if Vince Wilfork doesn’t support Smith he will push Birk in that direction as well.

  15. naanunaanu says: Jan 31, 2012 3:31 PM

    Wilfork is overrated

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