Jaworski: Players don’t give a damn about guys who laid the foundation

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Former Eagles quarterback and current Monday Night Football analyst Ron Jaworski says that he tends to side with the players in the ongoing labor dispute.  He just wishes the players would give a little more thought to the guys who came before them.

Jaworski told Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer that Jaworski doesn’t think the players of 2011 have given enough consideration to what the players of decades past did to get them to the point where they are now.

“That part does disappoint me,” Jaworski said. “I’ve been around long enough to understand that present-day players, they don’t understand what the guys went through in [past players’ strikes]. . . . Quite honestly, I don’t think they really give a damn about the guys that laid the foundation for the game. I think it’s a lot of verbiage, but I don’t think they really care.”

Jaworski said he’s particularly concerned about health care for retired players who are suffering from disabilities, which he said is lacking.

“I see these guys limping around and the physical handicaps they’re now living under. These guys deserve something,” he said. “They deserve some compensation for that, and they deserve medical benefits, and they deserve treatment for all the issues that former players are now dealing with. We all know the life expectancy of former NFL players is less than a normal human being.”

Although Jaworski says he’s personally doing fine despite a career in which he says he suffered 32 concussions, he’s concerned about players his age who can’t say they’re doing fine. The active players and the owners always say they share those concerns, but we’ll see when the lockout ends whether they’ve come to an agreement that gives those concerns something more than lip service.

62 responses to “Jaworski: Players don’t give a damn about guys who laid the foundation

  1. People can say what they want. They highest caliber players with the biggest salaries are the ones controlling this lockout. Special teams players and backups – who run up and down the field, return punts, and so forth – are they even consulted? Don’t they stand the most to lose with their league minimums? What about health benefits or some type of retirement for them?

    When Jaworksi says what he says, he should point out who exactly it is that doesn’t care. Manning, Brees, Brady, etc. Manning is pending a contract as well. If there is no significant health package for the players, the gunner on Arizona will suffer, but Manning and his 25+ million per year will be fine.

  2. Hopefully they keep Jaws off TV, they need to somehow make that part of any deal.

  3. For a guy who thinks modern players don’t give a damn, Jaws sure spends a lot of time kissing their asses on MNF, along with Chucky. The reason I turn the sound down during Monday night games is because Jaws never met a current player for which he has no man love.

    Maybe those 32 concussions explains everything.

  4. well said hawkeye, and Jaws is correct of course the players don`t give a crap about retired players heck they don`t give a crap about players ready to enter the league (salary cap) and when the salary goes up that just means guys like Manning and Brady will be thrown more money at them.

  5. Jaws is correct. That was also true back when he was playing, and his generation didn’t care about the players that came before them either. The fact is that when the players have bargained in the past, they’ve never focused on benefits down the road, and have instead focused on getting the most possible money now. I have talked at length with a former nfl player that I know, who happened to be a player rep back in the day. He said that the guys who are complaining the loudest now, are the same guys who said “screw the pension, get the money up front.” Kids think they’ll play forever, and don’t think about the future. That’s what we’re talking about…..kids in their 20s. There is no reason for someone to expect to be supported for the rest of their life, for a job that they held in their 20s.

  6. While I have a tremendous amount of respect for the guys that played in the past, it begs the question: What are the current players supposed to do for them? Break off 25% of their salaries?? I get it that those guys didn’t make anywhere near as much money back then, and had to play in far worse conditions, but thats life, and sometimes, it sucks. Not everyone gets a fair hand dealt to them, but that shouldn’t be someone elses’ problem.

    If I walked into my job tomorrow and announced my retirement, I wouldn’t expect a dime out of any future employees down the road. Why? Because if I were to go broke, that would be my problem, not theirs.

    Again, I don’t mean even the tiniest shred of disrespect, but it seems to me that a lot of people feel that former players deserve handouts, and to me, thats absurd. Do I feel for them? Of course I do, because I know that there are a lot of health issues among them, but that shouldn’t go on current players. Make it an OPTION, not MANDATORY.

  7. Can’t serve 2 masters and like Gene Upshaw said repeatly The NFLPA only represents active players. At least D. Smith met with George Martin, Upshaw threaten to break necks. The NFL Alumni is right and must get the current players to realize that the benefits will benefits them also. They must work together and quit the complaining and bishing.

  8. Hell jaws, you mean the players today are greedy?…You don’t say…I assume when the Eagles have a playoff game, and the parking at your Stadium Holiday inn, rises to 50 or 75 bucks a spot, that’s not considered greedy? They care about as much as the retired players as you do the average fan…..So, what exactly is your point?

  9. Why is it that anyone owes the former players anything? They performed a service and were paid for that service. If they chose to piss away their money, why is that the responsibility of the current owners and/or players?

    Don’t get me wrong, I do feel bad for the former players and their current afflictions, but come on, they all had a choice. Just another example of why this entire country is in debt. Everyone always feels like they are owed something.

    Also, the previous comments on the players who are most affected by the lock out is dead on. By and large,the 50+% of the players that are paid the league minimum are fighting a battle so that the top 5% can take an even bigger piece of the revenue pie. In the end, the Peyton Manning’s will make more and the majority of the league will stay make the league minimum.

  10. hawkeye6 says: Apr 3, 2011 9:25 AM

    People can say what they want. They highest caliber players with the biggest salaries are the ones controlling this lockout. Special teams players and backups – who run up and down the field, return punts, and so forth – are they even consulted? Don’t they stand the most to lose with their league minimums? What about health benefits or some type of retirement for them?

    When Jaworksi says what he says, he should point out who exactly it is that doesn’t care. Manning, Brees, Brady, etc. Manning is pending a contract as well. If there is no significant health package for the players, the gunner on Arizona will suffer, but Manning and his 25+ million per year will be fine.


    Completely agree.

    I’ll go further though and state that should the Brady v NFL case go to logical conclusion – a win for the players under anti-trust law – the only winners would be the superstars.

    There would be no minimum salary and the determination by those in a low-level salary situation to lie about their physical condition would be even higher because job security would be even worse.

    The NFLPA* under D.Smith and his cronies are lying to the vast majority of NFL players.

  11. Did Jaws care about “the guys who laid the foundation” when he was active? Do “the guys who laid the foundation” care about anyone but themselves?

    Everyone involved is selfish and looking out for themselves.

  12. I feel like some players definitely do care about the retired players, but it’s a comparatively small number and it doesn’t include the players who matter in this whole mess.

    At the same time, I feel like the league and owners really don’t either, unless it’s a player who was particularly important to a certain team. And generally, they’re not the ones who need the extra benefits because they’re set for life.

    They’re both giving the retired players lip service hoping to gain their support but simultaneously make them go away. If they really cared about the retired players, they would’ve given the remaining difference in revenue to the retired players rather than argue over it with each other.

  13. What Jaws doesn’t mention is the fact that the players who laid the foundation did so for their own reasons. They didn’t do it for the benefit of current players and Jaws’ generation didn’t do any more for past players than today’s generation does. Maybe they should be taken care of better but let’s not pretend that they did what they did for anyone but themselves.

  14. This is like any industry. Sometimes you look back and say, it would have been better to work in it now as opposed to then.

    I understand the perils of the game. But none of these guys are forced to play and they get paid. There are other careers that are far safer and have significantly less affect on quality of life. I’m not shedding a tear for any of them. And I’m sick of the whining.

  15. I don’t get why the surprise; America has raised the last generation or two of their children to think that they are always entitled to something, not to respect the groundwork that someone else from a previous generation laid so that they can get the opportunities afforded to them.

    The younger generation x’er and y’er’s simply have little work ethic and want everything handed to them on a silver platter.

  16. I thought players got paid os much money BECAUSE of the injuries they could face and short term job life-span.
    NOW the players are saying that they need more money because of the possible injuries and short term job life-span.
    I don’t side with the players on this. If you are a starter in the league you make enough to cover for possible long-term medical complications. Don’t blow your money. If you are not a starter, then yes, you run the risk of getting injured BUT that risk is small, just like the risk of getting hurt at a construction site and recieving workers comp.

  17. You mean, like Jaws and his generation “looked out” for the prior generations with such crappy benefits that even REAL LIFELONG FOOTBALL injuries didn’t give you much in terms of benefits?

    If THIS current group does anything close to what we have seen on the table, it will be far, far more than Jaws or Sam Huff EVER did.

    Seriously, rich people or dumb jocks, is there much of a difference when it comes to accurately describing the reality of a situation, no matter their age?

  18. It’s funny that Jaws says these former players deserve to be compensated.

    Isn’t that what their game check was?

    If thats not compensation, I don’t know what is

  19. So when you go to work just what do you do for the retired workers that pioneered your company?

  20. All these young players talk of “respect”…except they don’t respect history.

  21. If the owners proposed a $1 to 1.2 million minimum for each of the active players – the rank and file might just go for it. Add team salary caps, rookie pay scales, health insurance and some small percentage fund for the retired players. The game continues – the huge contracts get smaller – more players benefit, the owners still make money, the retire guys get some benefit and we fans don’t have to listen to any more of the junk coming from either side.

  22. IIRC, on the day the players walked away from the bargaining table, the owners placed on the table a package dealing with health benefits. Like everything else that day, the players never responded.

    If the alumni are so hell bent on getting health benefits, they need to get Smith to open his ears.

    IMO, Upshaw was wrong. Players are players, whether they are playing now or not. I’m not talking about retirement funding, but health benefits. They are two entirely different items. If the players are too stupid to look out for their retirement and just blow their money away. That should be on them, not the league nor the union.

  23. They never have. I’ve never heard it echoed once from the current players that are fighting for their slice of the pie. Part of me hopes they take it in the shorts because of this, but I don’t want to miss a game…yes, I’m a hypocrite.

  24. Jaws is right. Look this Lockout is all about DeSmith trying to make himself famous by ruining the NFL’s collectively bargained system and turning the NFL into MLB. Then he gets his props from a handful of stars who will benefit, gets left-wing political clout that can be parlayed into a political career. Meanwhile the average player gets screwed, the game gets ruined, and the fans lose interest.

    All for DeSmith’s ego. Eff him!!!!!!!!!! EFFFF HIM!!!!

  25. Let’s see…Jaws is saying that players of 2011 don’t give enough consideration to retired vets? Would those be the same retired vets like Martin who are trying to embarrass the NFLPA* by publicly kissing up to the league bosses? Jaws doesn’t consider that the retirees haven”t exactly been showing the existing players much respect. In this negotiation process, they should be invisible. Just when has any union’s retirees publicly demanded more benfits during a labor negotiation?

  26. Players back in the day fought for what was best for them.

    Players of today are fighting for what’s best for them.

    The old guard needs to shut up and stop trying to get current players to go bat for them. All they ever do is complain. God this sport sucks so bad.

  27. Thank you Jaws!!!!
    These players today only care about themselves. GREED pure and simple. They weren’t raised properly. They were given special priveledges since Pop Warner from their coaches and teachers. Their parents never taught them correctly. And now we have these punks in society who think they are “slaves” making millions, and who have no idea what accountability means or what being a man means.

  28. Players always say their careers are so short so that’s why they should be very highly compensated. Ok, fair enough. If you get 5 million for a 3 year career, then live like a regular person and make that money last the rest of your life.

  29. I don’t expect any of my employers who paid me a $1.25 an hour in the late 1960’s to support me in my old age, so what makes football players any different? Geesh, the sense of entitlement all these guys have because they make a living playing a game that love moving a ball around and getting thumped is downright absurd.

  30. It’s odd all these ex-QBs coming out to say something. First Tarkenton, then Moon, then Marino, now Jaws….who’s next? And what will they say?

  31. So what else is new ? From the beginning of time it has always been ” Whats in it for Me, Me ,Me” …..and as for you……Take a hike !!
    Sad but true…

  32. What Jaws says is completely correct in the sense that nobody cares about anyone else’s problems but their own. If you’re a landlord and your tenant comes to you and says he can’t pay the rent on time because he had a death in the family and missed a week of work, should that be YOUR problem? Well, the players feel the same way about the retired players. Unless it happens to you personally, you don’t feel that you should be affected by it. Truth is though, that retired players who have lifelong disabilities as a result of injuries sustained during their playing career SHOULD be compensated in some way for that disability, the same way that military veterans are compensated for battlefield related injuries. At the very least, their medical care should be covered for life.

  33. I am absolutely amazed at how many people think life owes them something………But I guess thats why they are poor and the rich are rich.

  34. Lots of good comments here that echo my thoughts.

    I believe that neither side really cares that much about the past players. They are like fans to them. As with the fans, the former players are used by both sides to beat each other over the head with and get PR points but they don’t intend to do anything in their favor. That sickens me. If you aren’t going to DO ANYTHING about something when it’s in your power to do it, you simply shouldn’t be complaining about it as a talking point. It’s weak and worthy of scorn.

    Whichever side either drops this as a talking point or does something about it will get points in my mind regardless of whether I agree with the issue itself or not.

  35. What about the owners the former players made rich? Should they not be responsible for turning their heads at concussions, pain killers, steroids, etc? Its amazing how brainwashed some of the fan base is.

  36. “Although Jaworski says he’s personally doing fine despite a career in which he says he suffered 32 concussions…”

    Because Jaws is smart enough to know that 33 concussions might jeopardize his future health?

    NFL players are entitled to everyone’s sympathy because none of them had a clue that umpteen head injuries might be hazardous to their health.

  37. purdueman says: Apr 3, 2011 10:10 AM

    I don’t get why the surprise; America has raised the last generation or two of their children to think that they are always entitled to something, not to respect the groundwork that someone else from a previous generation laid so that they can get the opportunities afforded to them.

    The younger generation x’er and y’er’s simply have little work ethic and want everything handed to them on a silver platter.


    Yet everything you said here applies to the RETIRED PLAYERS in this case. The RETIRED PLAYERS think they should be entitled to money from active players. The RETIRED PLAYERS want the money handed to them on a silver platter.

    Respect doesn’t equal money, people. You can respect what your predecessors did without throwing money at them just because they’re broke. No one forced any of them to play; they DECIDED to. So they weren’t paid well 30 years ago. BFD. Lots of jobs have that same problem. Do I owe all my predecessors simply because they were given the shaft by management? Hell no.

    If retired players are upset about the money, they should take it up with the owners. You know, the guys who wrote the damn checks.

  38. That’s is more of a reflection on the union leadership than players.

    Retired player improvements — as a rule, are agreed to at the beginning of the collective bargaining process.

    Negotiating improvements for former players/employees is most often not required by law ……. therefore management can just say not interested and not be in violation of any labor laws.

  39. That’s one thing Al Davis does … always takes care of his former Raiders.

  40. If you want to see the TRUE color of the owners and the players, here’s what you do. When they are all together in one place, during a coffee break drop a dollar bill on the floor, then say out loud: “Hey! Who dropped that dollar bill on the floor?”.

    Then get the hell out of the way fast as the owners start diving for it and the players start throwing elbows to get to it!!!

  41. I agree with Jaws, but after reading some posts, i would have to ask Jaws this – what did he do during his playing days to support the old timers who laid the foundation that his paycheck was built on?

    I think he had respect for them, but since the NFL Alumni tell stories of neglect from the NFL and NFLPA, the players of Jaws generation only took care of themselves…..

  42. Rumor has it that Jaws is in grudge mode because he went to a proctologist and told him: “Doc, the old pooper ain’t shootin’ like she used to”, and the Doc replied: “I have just the right prescription for you Jaws; start your mornings off with a big glass of prune juice, followed by eating an apple. Now that will be $200; pay on your way out!

    Jaws is reportedly still fuming because his medical insurance only covered a small portion of the office call because he went to a specialist without a referral from his primary care physician!

  43. nps6… solid post and I agree with most of what you write, but there is one factor here that I think isn’t being taken into consideration on either side of the argument, and that’s occupational hazards, the long term effects of which at one point in time simply weren’t known.

    Retired coal miners who have been diagnosed with black lung disease now get taken care of insurance wise, simply because at the time they were doing the work the risk wasn’t known and therefore couldn’t be disclosed.

    Retired construction workers who were exposed to high levels of asbestos now get taken care of insurance and benefits wise for the same reason.

    What I’m driving at is that retired players who are still alive and played back in the days of leather helmets I think could make a good case that subsequent long term neck and head maladies should be covered by either the owners and/or the current players, much like the miners and construction workers referenced above.

    If you buy into that argument, then the question becomes who should foot the bill? The answer is obvious to me; the money from the reduced rookie salary cap pool should go into an independently managed trust fund to cover such claims.

    After all, both the owners and the players benefit equally from the rookie pool cap reduction, because guys who have never strapped on a jock in an NFL game will now have to earn their way to bigger paychecks down the road and the owners will get more protection against having to pay out huge guaranteed bonus money with the knowledge that statistically 50% of all first round draft picks turn out to be busts.

    I’m not pro or con on this; I’m just putting it out on the table to see what y’all think.

  44. sh4d… I have no idea what year the players first formed their union/association, but the players who preceded the first owners-players union agreement obviously were never in the union and therefore the current union has no obligation or responsibility to take care of former non-union members in any way, shape or form.

    Prior, however, to their being a formal union-owner agreement, players were basically not much different than slaves with respect to their rights and many of the owners were abusive and took full advantage of it. That would IMO place the onus on the owners to right the wrong and fund additional health and pension benefits for past players.

    Should the players give back anything to former players? How about doing what baseball does and take the entire proceeds from the annual pointless Pro Bowl and put them into an independently managed pension fund?

    I have no idea where Pro Bowl revenues go now (anyone who knows, please post the information), but in baseball the proceeds from the annual All Star game go directly into the players pension fund (hence, you do see players widely skipping the event as you do in the Pro Bowl).

  45. I don’t know why sometimes the reply option disappears from this website to specific posts, but that’s what’s happening again on my end today, so sorry that my posts aren’t able to match up with the specific blog that I’m responding to.

    In defense of Jaws and all of the other older players who are stumping for improved pensions and medical benefits, when the argument is made: “what did Jaws ever do for previously retired players while he was playing”, has to be taken with a grain of salt.

    The reason that I say this is because I, as I’m sure many of you too, know or have known former collegiate and pro football players and at the time they come out of college and get drafted that are ALL full of themselves and feel invincible.

    The realities of future disabling injuries and reduced life spans from playing the game are so far off their radar they virtually don’t exist. They are all caught up in the moment and it isn’t until they retire or are forced to retire and then start to suffer medical problems that reality hits them.

    So I’ll give Jaws a “hall pass” because I’m sure that he was a typical self-consumed jock at the time that he played, but I’ll also give him kudo’s for fostering so much debate and heightened awareness of the issue too.

    Sure, all of us which that we could just by protesting get our former employers to give us something for nothing, but this issue runs deeper than that. After all, the average age of death for former NFL players is 54 (source: ESPN’s Colin Cowherd on one of his broadcasts last week).

    How many of us can honestly say that in our given profession statistically we lose an average of 20 years off of our lives?

    Any assistance though should be based on NEED, not based on service time. There’s absolutely no reason to sweeten a guy like Joe Montana’s NFL retirement or benefits; the guys made more than enough money to cover his own bills (and I’m not picking on Joe; just making a point about having a fund based on NEED).

  46. Up to just about 45-50 years ago players had to have off-season jobs to make ends meet.

    Pro football didn’t start when the first sooper bole was played – it started about 90 years ago and kind of struggled for years and years until Sunday
    December 28, 1958. In places like Chicago people passed down Bears’ season tickets through the generations then came prosperity, the big money, greedy owners, greedy players, the like and now lots of the FANS who can’t afford tickets anymore have been shut out of what they helped to build.

    You buy the right to buy a ticket – that’s a new one on me. That’s their way of saying thanks to the FANS.

  47. 1histor… Good post!

    Something though that a lot of NFL fans not old enough to have remembered and experienced the pre-super bowl days is that there were a lot of top collegiate players who were drafted high and then decided to just skip the NFL all together because playing in the NFL back then was viewed by a lot of guys as being a mediocre paying part time job.

    I can’t remember the guys name, but one guy who went way at the top of the NFL draft as I recall played one season and then quit… to become a surgeon.

  48. Jaws is an egomaniac jerk who doesn’t give a damn about his own employees. Trust me, I know people who worked for him at The Eagles Nest at Tavistock Country Club back in the late 80’s.

  49. The owners are greedy, the players are greedy, hell 90% of the world is greedy. Everybody feels like they could use just a little bit more money. I tend to side a little more towards the players side. The owners agreed to a CBA 2 yrs ago and then realized that they got the short end of the stick. So what do they do? They opt out and ask for an another billion on top of the billion they already have. Then threaten to lock everyone out(Players,staff and other vendors) unless they get their way. Hey I’ve done bad car deals before but I was never able to go back and say slash the price 50% since you beat me. Business doesn’t work that way. Nobody cares about anybody unless its involving money. If a top rated player keeps getting injured you want him off your football team. Its just the way things work. There’s not much caring in football “its all about the BENJAMIN’S”

  50. Greedy lets see, I want more money, I don’t want to pay for cars, jewelry, or even a Holywood apartment. They want everything given to them by the clubs don’t want to pay to go to a place to keep in shape. Want 200 dollars to autograph a picture, please don’t bring anything else to sign, and od course we want Super Bowl tickets that we can sale to the fans they care so much for, at a outragious price. Naaa they aren’t greedy.

  51. Jaws, since the players who retired before your generation were paid next to nothing, and received no health benefits or pensions, perhaps you can enumerate the things players of your time have done to help them? Or you, as a wealthy broadcaster … what funds do you promote to assist the old-timers?

    At least today’s players do earmark a chunk of their revenues for retired players. I doubt many of those judging them so harshly in this comments section carve out a portion of their own paychecks to contribute to the pensions of retired workers from their companies. It’s always so much easier to spot the speck in someone else’s eyes.

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