League, NFLPA* spar over benefits


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.

23 responses to “League, NFLPA* spar over benefits

  1. 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.) ”

    you’ve gotten better lately at this clever thing, especially with the sick dez bryant burn at the end

  2. Well, the owners didn’t have to agree to the benefit package, but they did. Now, they are paying what they should pay. I don’t see anything wrong with them stating that they will pay the money in a press release.

    I seems to me that this post is just another way of taking a cheap shot at the owners when there isn’t anything there.

  3. hey the next press release the NFLPA* releases should be that they are dropping the lawsuit against owners and going back to the negotiating…which would then prompt the owners to lift the lockout, which was caused by the decertifications……SEE HOW THIS WORKS? ACTION(decertification) causes REACTION(LOCK OUT) for you simple minded reporter and readers.

  4. ACTION( dropping lawsuit) causes reaction (lifting lock out).
    But the owners are not going to spit out money while they are getting sued……….

  5. it did not matter that the players decertified. the owners were going for a lockout anyway.

  6. I read that the NFL made the final payment on benefits for the 2010 season, what is wrong with that? They paid their bills like some players do not and the low paid players who receive at least $300K a year will get support from the union that does not exist anymore and they announce that, do they expect the fans to feel sorry for them. I do not remember reading any smart comments from you regarding that.

  7. @ PFT: Stop to protect the stupid players and bash the owners day in and day out! Read through the comments on your very own arcticles (and the thumbs, too) and you’ll see that the fans don’t want to hear that. You should rather start to tell the players to shut up and realize what morons they are!

  8. One of the more annoying tendencies of the NFLPA* has been to frequently reference “the fans” and “the players” in the same sentence. Most NFL fans can read these rather lame efforts to curry favor with their eyes closed. Actually, the “ultimate benefit” to fans would have been for the NFLPA to stay seated at the mediation table, instead of walking out. In all likelihood, the sides would have been closer to an agreement had that happened than where they are now.

  9. These idiots and bafoons on both sides need to just shut the hell up. Enough posturing and trash talking. Get your lazy asses back to the bargaining table, lock yourselves in a room without lawyers and come to a freakin compromise. Both groups make me want to puke. You rich bastards crying are pathetic. You only have your money because hard working Americans give you the opportunity by paying to watch you play. None of us care how much the owners are paying towards player benefits. That was part of your deal. You agreed to it. On the flipside, I do not care that the players have lost their benefits because you idiots walked away from the table. So shut up and get back to the table.

  10. I don’t know that the owners are trying to look altruistic here. I think they’re reminding the rank and file of the union – er, oops, trade association – of the benefits granted by a CBA.

    There are no laws mandating these benefits. Without a CBA the owners have no legal reason to pay these benefits. If the anti-trust suit goes all the way these benefits will likely never be seen again.

  11. prior0knowledg
    BAsed on? what? The union decertified instead of continuing negotiations…….AND THEN THE OWNERS LOCKED THEM OUT as they should to protect their wallets….as GOOD BUISNESS DO.
    UNFORTUNATELY FOR YOU, all the blame, like it or not is aimed at the players……
    YOU CANT POINT to the walking out on the agreement, both sides negotiated that, and both sides had the same ability if they were not happy.
    After that? what do you got?

  12. Brilliant, Mike. Just love how all these people who probably have employer-sponsored health benefits rushed to post how the NFL didn’t have to provide those benefits to the players. Gee … I hate that you’re such a burden on your employers, too 🙄

  13. @marv…I agree,just because the NFLPA hired a “bulldog”doesnt mean he can do anything else but bark.The players act if they’ve made a huge mistake.In hiring this assclown De.Smith. To me the NFLPA are desperate,an are screwed!!!!!!!!!! again lets remember they dont get paid this time of yr.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Really? why are the NFLPA already cutting checks to these players? thats right they owe child’s support..an forgot to pay there car note?Folks there want be football this year,so get ready for it,BUT,college football is already try to move games to Sunday:-)

  14. Yes it was mandatory, but only because the owners agreed to it in the last sweetheart deal they gave to the players so they would avoid a work stopage. Now they want to balance things back out and they were hoping the players appreciated the one-sided deal while it lasted and would understand some sense of order needed to be re-established.

  15. @ marv and saints

    He continues to bash the owners because he knows it gets us going in the comments. No intelligent, logically thinking human being can possibly still be on the side of the players without some sort of agenda. And look, its working.

  16. The League has shown again they are perfectly happy to worry about the health of the players. The Union has shown its perfectly happy to ignore the health of players so they can get more money.

  17. I think it was an excellent PR move by the owners. I don’t think a sprint telephone bill is germaine to the labor conflict but reminding people how much the league pays out in player benefits every year is. For players that claim they are treated so badly that is alot of benefit money. Yes, the owners were contractually obligated to do that for 2010 but players looking at paying their own medical insurance for the first time in their lives are probably thinking about that number alot. Also, as a fan, I am looking at that number, which is on top of the salaries paid, and continuing to wonder why the players keep acting like they are slaves.

  18. Can’t it be as easy as both sides agreeing to continue negotiations if the NFL lifts the lockout and the NFLPA* drops the anti-trust lawsuit? We really need to get these lawyers out of the picture, because they don’t care about what the league (if there is one) looks like when they are done getting paid, all they care about is financial gain and another win under their belt.

  19. @truthserum4u …

    Now it’s my turn to say that seem a bit naive, don’t you think? The overgenerous owners overcompensated the players and thought they’d be grateful while it lasted. But it’s time to give it up now, boys. Come on.

    Athletes in the money sports–particularly football and basketball–are still the most exploited class in the nation if you look at the revenue they generate in the college ranks. They sign away their lives as teenagers in exchange for an education most never complete while the schools rake in millions for their work product and merchandising rights for the rest of their lives. One injury and that’s it. The school continues to profit while they’re thrown on the trash heap.

    That used to continue into the pros as well, until organizing helped them gain some control over their lives. As the game became more sophisticated and players’ skills more specialized, players became better able to negotiate salaries and benefits reflecting the vast revenues they generate. The owners aren’t “giving” them anything they don’t earn. What’s happened is that the owners have realized how much more revenue their sport is going to bring in over the next quarter century, and they don’t want to share that with the players. That’s why they want to scale back their revenue percentages now.

    The owners aren’t hurting–and it’s naive to think they are.

  20. @ Deb

    Where to begin with that nonsense?! First of all these athletes are given the opportunity to earn a 4 year degree from some of the most prestigious universities in the world. They get this opportunity for free based on their ability to play a sport. That is obvious. Over 4 years it can be argued that a university will “lose” roughly $200,000 per full scholarship athlete (4 years at $50,000/yr). At the same time they are providing these young men (and women) with a world class education that can potentially provide them with a lifetime of professional success off the field.

    It can be chalked up to common sense that the universities provide this education in order to make money. Genius right there. Anyone of these players who don’t understand this don’t deserve to be in this institutions to begin with. I understand that many athletes leave school before finishing their educational obligations, but whose fault is that? The evil university’s? Of course not. These guys go pro for huge contracts and endorsement deals, to strike it rich. I assume they do this knowing full well that in an instant an injury can take that away from them. Any smart adviser would let a young athlete know this. Of course, they could just stay and earn that degree for a pretty much guaranteed chance at having a lifetime of success.

    Now on to your old, lame and nonsensical defense of the owners. Players are paid above and beyond what they are worth to play a game. Everyone knows that. They take a risk when they step on that field and are rewarded handsomely for it. The amount of money that these guys make in even a three year career should be enough to take care of them in the event that they can no longer play, or at a minimum provide a bridge to a transition career. But here is where you are wrong: the owners are realizing that they are paying far too much to the players. So much in fact that they cannot sustain a profitable business should the trends continue. So they canceled the CBA as they had the right to do and want to negotiate a better deal. The players don’t want to do that. They want to get some lib judge to give in to them.

    Guess what, it isn’t going to happen. OK my hand hurts now. Hope this clears up any misconceptions you might have had previously.

  21. chap, honey, why are you hurting your hand typing all that to me? I don’t post anything without facts to back it up, whether or not you agree with them.

    At many schools, the graduation rate among “student athletes” is 35 percent. These kids haven’t taken college prep courses and aren’t of a mindset to get a degree. They expect to make their fortunes on the fields and courts–and most colleges don’t discourage their pipe dreams despite knowing few will have profitable athletic careers.

    As students, they’re encouraged to put practice and other team responsibilities ahead of their studies, to focus on majors that won’t interfere with their athletic endeavors. The schools didn’t bring them aboard to educate them but to reap financial reward for their talents. Division 1 schools are earning BILLIONS each year from their football and basketball programs but all they’re giving up for the labor that provides that income is a seat in a classroom, which costs them nothing. Yes, the kid receives an education that might be worth $50,000 if the kid had to pay for it–but $50,000 is a far cry from the value a star athlete brings to a school. And how many of these kids would opt for college if not for athletics? How many of them actually profit from this so-called reward?

    When they enter college as kids of 17 or 18 with no legal advice, they sign contracts giving up rights to their names and images throughout eternity. Last night Real Sports with Bryant Gumble discussed a case that rips my heart out. Several years ago Tyrone Prothro was a Bama star expected to go pro. But he suffered a Theisman-like break on a stupid play when he shouldn’t have been in the game. Now he’s a bank teller. My little nephew has an autographed football of his, and my sis-in-law and I still tear up when we talk about it. Alabama still profits from airing his film clips and selling Prothro-related merchandise … but he doesn’t get one dime of that money.

    That is wrong.

    And that is exactly the way it was for pro players until the NFLPA gained strength in the 1980s and won free agency. I don’t have any misconceptions, chap. I know my NFL history and the horror stories of how players were treated. You’re supposed to be the big conservative, the believer in the free market. Well, today those players are paid according to the revenue they generate. Capitalism 101. In fact, Jerry Jones is one of those chiefly responsible for bidding up their individual salaries and continually raising the salary cap.

    What the owners have realized is that their expenses will continue to grow beyond the point that they can continue to raise ticket prices. Meanwhile players will continue to earn exorbitant salaries based on future projections. Unfortunately, instead of carefully explaining the real issues to players, they let Goodell confuse the issue and stir up bad blood by raving about 18-game seasons and improperly funneling money into lockout funds and trying to play hardball with a tough litigator like De Smith. All we can do now is hope the players win the injunction to lift the lockout so the owners will sit back down at the negotiating table and iron out a deal.

    Hope that covers it for you. I have to go back to work.

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