Blog Entry

The Daily Shoutout

Posted on: July 19, 2011 5:31 am
THE TANGLED WEB OF THE RETIREE ISSUE: In its new collective bargaining agreement the NFL has added hundreds of millions of dollars for retired players. I wrote about the news. To me, it's simply an incredible achievement. But to demonstrate how toxic the issue still remains, I wanted to run the email I received from George Visger, a critic of the NFL and union for its handling of retired players. He is, well, unimpressed.

"I am glad to see the NFL adding to the Legacy Fund, and $620 million is certainly not chump change, but it still is less than .75 of 1% of their $9.5 billion industry," Visger, a former NFL player, wrote to me late Monday night. "The NFL has talked a good game up till now but never delivered, and I truly believe this is more of a publicity stunt than anything else.

"Show me the money NFL and shut your mouth.Otherwise they can take their bull---- talk and shove it where the sun don't shine. We discarded players are not asking for anything other than our earned benefits."

I love Visger. Respect him greatly. He's one of the toughest, smartest people you will ever meet. But I have to disagree with him. What DeMaurice Smith has done in getting these extra monies for retired players is a big deal. A very big deal.

Many former players will discuss the new benefits in the coming days. I'm not sure how many will feel the same as Visger.

See you Wednesday.


Category: NFL
Tags: Lockout

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2011 6:55 pm

The Daily Shoutout

The website home page begins with coverage of the February, 2010 labor summit on the subject, citing approvingly the following from DeMaurice Smith: "Next Smith announced that he was calling for NFL owners to contribute two percent of their profits to a legacy fund for retired players."

Let's crunch some numbers, shall we? The Owners' share of $9.5 billion per annum over ten years comes to roughly $50 billion. Out of that come all other costs not ponied up by the taxpayers: construction, maintenance, housing and airfare, medical and rehab and training, per diems, coaching and administrative expenses, security and cleaning and uniforms and PR, league HQ and lawyers and taxes and whatnot. Not to mention any carrying costs on debt. Say they clear $10 billion. Two percent of that would be $200 million. Five TIMES what Smith was praised for setting as a goal. (Indeed, that's 2% of the entire 10-year REVENUE pie for the game.) Okay, say one-half of that is to come from the Players' $45 billion. So, that's 1.0% of Owner revenues, 5% of Owner profits, 1.1% of Player TOTAL compensation, and perhaps 1.5% of Player salaries. (Keep in mind that money is NOW being put away to actuarially fund current players' OWN retiree health care needs, not to mention no longer negligible pension payments. Mind, I'm presuming that it's so for their future medical needs; I don't know it for a fact.) None too shabby, especially given how many of the old school crowd told the Union to f--- off when they urged them to bargain for adequate retiree health care back in the day, crying "It's OUR money, NOW!" (Not to mention the scabs, like  the HOF Cowboy who tried to run down Tony Dorsett while driving through the picket line to break the strike.)

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 6:50 pm

The Daily Shoutout

"Show me the money NFL and shut your mouth.Otherwise they can take their bull---- talk and shove it where the sun don't shine. We discarded players are not asking for anything other than our earned benefits."
The problem with this statement is that the retired players did not "earn" any benefits that were not in a CBA or their individual contracts prior to there being a players union.  Anything they get on top of that is a "gift", not something they "earned" or are "entitled to".  Visger's position is like me working for my employer for 10 years under an established compensation/benefits package, then 5, 10, 20  or more years later demanding an increase in retirement benefits that I "earned" even though they were never promised/contracted to me.  Believe me, I do not downplay the effects of playing in the NFL, especially the older players who played in a time when sports medicine and protective equipment was not nearly as advanced -- but they are not "entitled" to any increase in retirement benefits so anything the union and NFL negotiates for them they should be thankful for -- especially $620million in pension and $1billion dollars ($100 million/yr over 10 years) in other benefits.  I think that is "Showing me the money".

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2011 4:25 pm

The Daily Shoutout

The players of George's day chose not only to ignore the problems of those players who came before them, but their own future problems. A lot of guys crossed those picket lines in 1987; precious little solidarity then, eh? Over the years, legion are the players who said, loudly, show ME the money. Now, if the George Visgers of the world want me to cry them a river today, then why stop with a few jocks who've gotten a bad break? There's a whole lot more folks, with as crappy a deal or worse, who've gotten less, with nobody pounding the drum for THEM. I wonder what the position of guys like Visger and Ditka is on universal health care? Is it anywhere near as "humanitarian" as the position of NBA players on the subject of tipping service workers? (I.E., only if they're shaking their hoo-hoos.) NFL players, particularly the Old School white guys of yesteryear, are NOTORIOUSLY conservative. As an aside, I wonder how many of the guys with whom Ditka played not-so-secretly LOATHED their black teammates, which would make their demands now so much chutzpah, given of whom they're making them. (FYI, I'm a conservative white guy, but I know irony and self-serving prattle when I hear them.)

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 4:10 pm

The Daily Shoutout

So why does this fool think that a $620 Million yearly contribution is not enough? That sounds like a hell of a lot of money to me, you realize that is enough money to give 6200 Ex-players $100,000 every year? And this guy is still complaining?! I don't think the NFL are the ones full of bullshit.

Since: Aug 11, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 3:36 pm

The Daily Shoutout

How does anyone have the right to claim that their cumulative injuries across the course of their life, engaging in an activity that is KNOWN to be harmful to the body are the responsibility of their former employer.  They should have been saving for health care their career.  You need a study to say that taking to many hits to the head is bad?  Really?  C'mon.

Why do many in this country feel the responsibility to care for them comes from someone else?  You make poor decisions in life and NOW it's a responsibility of others?  Where are the stories of the former athletes turned successful business man, of course not that doesn't get internet hits.

A lack of planning on your part does not constitue an emergency on mine.  When I'm working harder on your health care than you did or do, that's your problem.  I'll help, but only if you're willing to drive the work, not sit around waiting (especially DEMANDING) I do something about it.  Or in this case your former employer.

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 1:09 pm

The Daily Shoutout

So, Redskinfan, your comments were directed at me?  LOL.  I'm about as far from a liberal as you can get.  I served my time in the military and I'm a card carrying tea party supporter.  This has nothing to do with liberal or conservative.  The NFL has put themselves in this position by stating on many occassions how they felt an obligation to take care of their former players.  I never stated that they owed the players more than 1% of revenue, and I never said they deserved to make more than their agreed upon pension.  I stated that the NFL should at least provide healthcare benefits for football-related injuries.  If that makes me a bleeding heart liberal then I suppose I will have to rethink my entire outlook on life.

Why don't you relax and stop going on insulting rants because somebody posts an opinion that differs from you?

Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: July 19, 2011 12:53 pm

The Daily Shoutout

Mike Freeman and the spin go hand in hand. DeMaurice Smith has nothing to do with retired player benefits. The players asked for this part to be sealed for a reason, they contribute nothing to post game benefits. And of course most veterans do not like the proposed amounts. They want a percentage as well so it is a dynamic number, not a fixed amount. Again DeMaurice Smith had nothing to do with it, the former players sued both sides and only one of these kids is contributing, the teams.

Since: Jun 29, 2011
Posted on: July 19, 2011 12:41 pm

The Daily Shoutout

@RaiderDuck I agree with you on the brief career thing and also actually feel he should actually express appreciation for what the owners/NFLPA has done here.  But the fact that his career was so brief because of severe head trauma symptoms is exactly why he probably feels a sense of entitlement.  I don't see anywhere where he claims to have had a long career.  Again, probably his high school and college bear more responsibility than the NFL, but the guy is bitter and facing likelihood of dementia.  His career wasn't short because he lacked skill - it was short because he got hurt.

He did get a ring from the 1982 champs - maybe the owner of the 49'ers at the time, Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr., who was known as a good "players' owner", gave him the ring because of the head injury issues he experienced and was trying to overcome.

I generally agree with the sentiment "he made his choice, let him live with it".  However, when one experiences a lifetime of head trauma symptoms from a game and no one had the facts to present ahead of time about the potential dangers, I cut the guy some slack.  Should he be grateful for what has been done?  Yes.  But even as one with a generally conservative life viewpoint, I feel some compassion for a guy who has had a lifetime of rough symptoms due to the game, so if he wants to b*tch a little, so be it.  Freeman is probably not doing him any favors by publishing this guy's thoughts on the CBS website.

Since: Jun 29, 2011
Posted on: July 19, 2011 12:17 pm

The Daily Shoutout

Ha – now I see that I am wrong on 2 accounts.  I thought I had clicked on the other 2 pages of comments and not seen math comments, but I think I somehow looked at the same page twice.  So America needs more people with web page viewing skills.

Secondly, someone else stated the $620 million should be out of $9.5 billion/year times 10 years which would make more sense, and would indeed be less than 1%.  I was just taking the numbers in the post/article at face value.  Or perhaps I am suffering from past head trauma.

Since: Jan 20, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 12:16 pm

The Daily Shoutout

@BeReasonab1e: I just checked him out a little more; while he certainly says he played for several seasons, neither nor list him as a member of any team other than the 6-10 1980 San Francisco 49ers. He played in three games as a backup. That's it. Given that backup linemen normally play on special teams as well, his presence in only three games probably means he was only on the team for that long.

George Visger, whose entire NFL career could charitably be described as "Cup of Coffee," nonetheless pretends to be a longtime NFL player (like Earl Campbell, Andre Watters, Joe DeLameilleure and the like, who really were NFL players and who did suffer legitimate debilitating inuries in the NFL); he certainly has no right to spit in the face of DeMaurice Smith, who just got the retired players $620 million that the NFL had no legal obligation to pay.

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