As the NFL and NFLPA continue to squabble over a California bill that will make it much harder for players on non-California teams to collect workers’ compensation benefits in California, a former coach has joined the effort on behalf of the players.
Dick Vermeil, former head coach of the Eagles, Rams, and Chiefs, has published an op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News opposing AB 1309, which would severely restrict payments, both moving forward and retroactively.
“California taxpayers do not pay the cost of workers’ compensation for NFL players. It comes out of the dollars generated by the sport,” Vermeil writes. “The active players have even agreed in their current collective bargaining agreement that the cost of the benefit for all players, both current and former, is to be charged against their salary cap. The result would be lower salaries.”
The NFL previously has characterized the contention the benefits come from the players’ share of revenues as “[a]bsolutely not true.” The NFLPA insists otherwise, as reflected most recently in the San Francisco Chronicle op-ed written by Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
At a time when the NFL and NFLPA can’t agree on much of anything, it’s no surprise they can’t agree on something that should be an objective, stubborn, undeniable fact: Whether workers’ compensation costs are shared by the players or whether they are borne solely by the teams.
We’ll try to find out the answer, once and for all. Key word: Try.