20 former players ask AFL-CIO to expel NFLPA

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The off-field skirmishes among the league, the current players, and the former players officially has become a free-for-all.

With the NFL and NFLPA at odds on various fronts and thousands of former players suing the NFL, 20 retired players (including seven Hall of Famers) have now requested that the AFL-CIO expel the players’ union.  They are:  Joe DeLamielleure, Paul Krause, Lem Barney, Bruce Laird, John Hannah, Elvin Bethea, Ron Yary, Conrad Dobler, John Riggins, Al “Bubba” Baker, Reggie McKenzie, Billy Joe Dupree, Ken Stabler, Roman Gabriel, George Visger, Tommy Nobis, Fred Smerlas, Art Sill, Myron Pottios, and Lou Piccone.

The request comes via letter from lawyer Michael Hausfeld (pictured) to AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka.  Citing remarks by NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith that acknowledge a “moral obligation . . . to retired players” that must manifest itself in “both words and deeds,” the players claim that the NFLPA has failed on both counts.

Much of the letter rehashes arguments Hausfeld unsuccessfully advanced in litigation against the NFLPA during and after the 2011 lockout regarding the union’s efforts to bind the retired players to benefits under the new labor deal at a time when the NFLPA lacked the legal right to collectively bargain, since it was no longer a union.  But Hausfeld also points to the union’s historic attitude toward retired player benefits, along with past comments from the NFLPA regarding the union’s role in the concussion crisis, including admissions that the union was “complicit in the lack of leadership and accountability” on concussions, and that the NFLPA “owed an obligation” to no longer “denigrate” or “suppress” or “ignore” the medical findings regarding head trauma.

“The objects and principles of the AFL-CIO Constitution as well as its Mission and Vision are to be inclusive and to improve the ‘welfare’ of workers of all ages, former and current,” Hausfeld writes.  “The NFLPA has disregarded and interfered with the rights and needs of its retired members at a time when their issues are of paramount importance.  Its moral failures disgrace the principles and foundations of a union organization.”

Hausfeld concludes by asking that the AFL-CIO either expel the NFLPA from the organization, or take “other appropriate remedial measures . . . such as removal of its officers.”

Though expulsion from the AFL-CIO wouldn’t impact in any meaningful way the business of the NFLPA, it would create the impression that the NFLPA isn’t a “union” in the classic sense, making it harder to persuade other unions to stand in solidarity with the NFLPA the next time the current players are facing a lockout.

Of course, given the money paid to NFL players, plenty of people already believe that the NFLPA isn’t a “union” in the classic sense.

7 responses to “20 former players ask AFL-CIO to expel NFLPA

  1. All of these guys trying to tear down the NFLPA because they have a “moral obligation” to take care of the older players were once part of the NFLPA.

    It begs the questions – what did they do to promote a higher standard of living for retired players when they were active players and why didn’t they do anything to help themselves in the future?

    The NFLPA isnt really a union. Its a group of players who can collectively bargain. They had a chance to do something, anything and they failed to do so.

    I do feel bad for some of these guys. They do face hardships as a result of playing the game for so long and so hard. But at the same time, they never did anything to help the people who came before them, did they?

  2. Terry Bradshaw is right. In 10 more years we won’t recognize football anymore. Too many lawyers, too much litigation, chasing after money, will be the ruin of what was a great business empire…

  3. It’s not that big a deal if they get expelled-they don’t support working folks anyway.

    I can’t ever remember them refusing to cross a picket line for their fellow union brethren. It’s too bad that “solidarity” is often just talk and not action.

    I would love to see an NFL game where the home team’s city firefighters/EMT employees were on strike and walking the line at the game. In a perfect world the cops would not cross to be there to provide security, the broadcasters and technicians (all union btw) would not cross to broadcast the game, and the players themselves wouldn’t get off the bus.

    As for all you Fox News watching, hate speech radio listening, low IQ testing people who feel compelled to offer a comment on this post I have some advice. Don’t bother. I could care less what you think, so (instead of taking the time to post your “response”) you would be better served browsing Newsmax or WorldNetDaily where you can be reassured in your belief that unions are evil, billionaires who don’t pay taxes are being harassed, and shooting unarmed black teens is a constitutionally protected right.

  4. Terry Bradshaw is right. In 10 more years we won’t recognize football anymore. Too many lawyers, too much litigation, chasing after money, will be the ruin of what was a great business empire…

    Agree. Who will want to pay good money to essentially watch 7-on-7 drills, or flag football.

  5. Now finally some people making sense. The older players should be taken care of. Its because of their sacrifice the league is as popular as it is at today. Yet Smith spends his time on frivelous actions that he agreed to in the CBA just a few months ago.

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