NFL, union disagree on benefits for retirees
The NFL and its players union are bickering again, this time
over benefits for the league’s retired players.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a letter posted on the
league’s labor Web site Saturday that the NFL is committed to its
former players, and that no new collective bargaining agreement
will be made without improving things for them.
He also said the union’s recent proposal to strike a new deal
included no improvements for retired players.
Goodell’s letter, dated March 9, was addressed to Rep. Linda
Sanchez, a California Democrat, who recently asked the commissioner
what the league was doing for former players.
“I have said publicly that there will be no agreement without
improvements for retired players,” Goodell wrote. “On the
contrary, when the union last week informed us that it was willing
to make a new deal under certain conditions, there was no mention
by them of increased benefits for retirees. The union leadership
was willing to make a deal without any improvements for retired
Goodell said the league proposed to the union several months ago
a plan to reduce salaries and bonuses for rookies, and use the
first $100 million of that to cover pensions and other benefits for
“The union to this point in our discussions has not agreed to
that proposal,” Goodell wrote.
The NFLPA executive committee, holding its annual meetings in
Hawaii, responded by releasing a statement on its site. It said
“truth becomes a casualty” when it reads Goodell’s letter because
its plan is being labeled “disingenuous.”
“Neither the NFL nor its NFL Alumni have decided to get into
the real game to improve retiree pensions and give players more
than five years of health care when they retire, if they are lucky
enough to play four years,” the statement said. “When will the
NFL start paying the former players who built this game for the
legacy it sells?”