A Post from Bob Grant: A winning strategy for Retired Players

Sep 9, 2008

A winning strategy for Retired Players

Gentlemen –

If we want to improve our position in this fight we have to take our case directly to the Public. Wonderful work has been done and is being done by many of our Advocates through the Courts, the Media and Congress. Please keep pushing, fellas.

We can’t count on the NFLPA and the NFL to do more than they are forced to do for us and the Active Players just don’t understand that a contribution of as little as one-and-one-half pennies out of each dollar that they make could help the causes of Retired Players. Those young men do not understand the meaning of “Family” in regards to the Sport. Their position of “We’re doing great so why should we worry about a bunch of our old family members who made all of this possible for us,” is shameful but not unexpected. They are from the “Me Generation” and the PA and the League exploited them.

Boys, we have to expand our outreach. We have to get our message to more of the public. Public opinion can change things. I am asking each one of you to start forwarding relevant mail from our lead Advocates to three other people that you know (non-Players). Most of them won’t be interested but if just one out of those three becomes interested, we would have done ourselves a lot of good.

The Public spends the money that drives the Game. If they can be shown how the Game uses and then discards good men, some of them will take a stand along side of us.

The NFL can continue taking a hard position on our plight as can the NFLPA and the young Active Players but we can have an impact on the money that they make from the Game. That will force them to deal with us eventually. History has proven that the most powerful adversary can be taken on once public opinion changes.

Will you start forwarding our comuniques to a few of the folks that you know? If each one of us in our groups will do that, we won’t have to crawl and grovel at the feet of the NFL, the NFLPA and the young Active Players any longer.

Please consider this: Imagine us asking as many of the faithful fans as we can from your playing days to boycott one of the beer companies, shoe companies or auto companies for just 90 days. There would be an impact, fellas. (Oh – by the way we already have that action in the works.)

If you’re one of the guys who is doing well, please remember that somewhere in eternity we’ll all have to answer the question, “Was I my brother’s keeper?”

For those of you who are still employed by the League, the NFLPA or the Sports Media, join us in any way that you can. You do not have to be afraid of the bosses. They’re bosses, not gods.

They can’t scare brave men like Dave Pear, Abner Haynes, Brent Boyd, Mike Ditka, Bernie Parrish and other aggressive Advocates for our Cause and you and I can stand right up along with them. Men like Tony Davis, Harry Carson and Bruce Laird are working hard on the diplomatic front and we have to support them as well.

By-Laws that were written to exclude you and me from voting in NFLPA affairs were written by men and they can be changed by men. There is nothing in the US Constitution, the Bible or the Qu’ran that says that we can’t vote and I’m going to work as hard as I can for as long as I can to secure inclusion for ALL Retired Players in the NFLPA.

Please, just bring 3 or 4 other people on board with us.

There are more billions of dollars than you can imagine on the table over the next 10 or 20 years. They’re not going to surrender and they might write you a threatening e-mail and claim that a janitor or secretary did it independently on their own, or when you really stand up tall they may even imply that they are going to shoot you 8 times!

Stay in the fight,
Bob Grant

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5 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Sharon/Wayne Hawkins
    September 9th, 2008 at 11:01 am #

    Dear Bob,

    It has always been our understanding that the owners pay the pension; it has never come out of the active players’ pockets.

    Sharon Hawkins
    on behalf of Wayne
    Oakland Raiders, ’60-’71
    Wayne Hawkins - Oakland Raiders

    September 9th, 2008 at 12:06 pm #

    Council Rudolph Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    We all must join in on this fight.

    Council Rudolph

  3. Tim Brown
    September 9th, 2008 at 7:38 pm #

    Tim Brown

    Bob, for the sake of time, I won’t go into trying to defend the PA or the NFL; in fact, I’m not trying to defend the current players but I do think something needs to be said on their behalf. As retired players, we can’t start from the premise that the current players are against us. We must believe that they’re on the retired players’ side. If you start with a faulty premise, no matter what you do, the answer will be wrong! Why not start from the point of view that the guys are on the retired players’ side? As I mentioned last time, let’s get a group together and go over to Hawaii and state your case. If you approach them correctly, they’ll even pay for your flight and hotel!

    Whatever you do, you can’t push these guys in a corner and expect that they’ll just surrender. They’ll be able to pull out increase on top of increase that has been given back to the retired players (as little as it has been), but they have given back.

    I would ask you once again to re-think your premise. Ask yourself what would you do if you were still in the league and retired players went negative on you in the media? I hope you’d say you would fight! In the meantime, there are a lot of players who could have been helped while all the fighting is going on.

    However, on the flip side, if you get in front of them and they tell you to go stick it, that would be something to fight about. But I know that won’t happen; in my 17 years of service in the PA, the only standing ovations I saw at the meetings were when we obtained free agency and when old vets would stand up and tell their stories.

    Humbly submitted,

    Tim Brown

  4. John Hogan
    September 10th, 2008 at 5:30 am #

    John Hogan - Disability Attorney

    First, let me say that I would like to offer my sincere condolences on the personal loss you suffered with Gene’s passing.

    Second, we are honored and delighted that you have joined the discussion of retired players’ issues.

    I don’t think that retired players have an “us versus them” mentality with current players. However, I don’t know how many current players (all very well paid in comparison to many of the guys posting on Dave’s Blog) are actually aware of some of the strife and problems retired players face. We hope that recent players like you, Michael Irvin, Kyle Turley, Moose Johnston and the Detmer brothers, will help bridge the communication gap with your teammates who might still be active players.

    The NFL took a wonderful step in this direction when they had all the current teams’ (maybe just the rookies?) tour the Hall of Fame this year.

    As far as going to Hawaii – there are many guys who would love to go, but certainly couldn’t afford it on their $600 per month NFL pension. Others, suffering from hip, back and knee problems probably couldn’t tolerate the flight over there!

    I think Bob’s idea about making the fans – the public – aware of some of these issues is a great idea. The fans would be aghast if they were aware of the suffering that many of the guys they used to idolize were experiencing.

    John Hogan

  5. Ange Coniglio
    September 10th, 2008 at 6:48 pm #

    Ange Coniglio


    I have a mailing list of about 700 American Football League fans. I periodically send them e-mails when I update my site at http://www.remembertheafl.com. I have a page at http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFLPlayers.htm, which links to the major known groups that are committed to helping retired players.

    If you would like me to add a link to your site, I will do so. And if you write me an e-mail – an “open letter” to football fans – explaining the needs and goals of retired players and how you would like fans to help, I’ll send it out to my list of fans. Many of them have their own websites, and I’ll ask them to post your “open letter” on their sites, as well.

    Ange Coniglio