Bob Grant’s Progress Report on The Summit
To those folks who are pulling against the upcoming Independent Retired Players Summit, many of whom are with the NFLPA Golf Tournament down in Palm Springs, you don’t have to call anyone to see how it is coming along. I will bring you up to speed now.
We have already exceeded the number of retired attendees that we started out hoping for. More are still coming in every day. We haven’t waived a registration Fee that we never had and we’re not offering those who are attending the Summit any coupons or a gift of a membership fee to any organization because there’s no group or organization for them to purchase a membership from. Attending Advocates are, of course, free to make any presentation that they would like to. We are not requiring any Advocate to agree with any other on any matter. What the Retired Players feel and think are what is most important to me.
If the NFLPA would have offered to make the adjustments that the Independent Advocates and Summit Coordinators have FORCED them to make, all of us could well have been meeting in Palm Springs (or Las Vegas). It would certainly have been a “fired up” meeting but perhaps we could have all been together.
The NFLPA never gave a damn about any of us attending their Meeting in years past. They held it as far away as they could and charged fees that made it impossible for most of us to attend while they used our money to pay for their “favored ones” to go to Puerto Rico! Are you kidding me? We come along and organize a Summit to give Players an opportunity and an option and they are suddenly begging and fighting to get folks to attend their Gathering.
There are many Retired Players, Widows and Wives who have just plain had enough. They’re the backbone of our Summit. The old way of doing things hasn’t worked and it’s not going to work. All of the same old faces are still there at the NFLPA. When Al Capone went to prison and died did the Chicago Mob die along with him? Nope! All of the same old faces were still there. I don’t have to accuse anyone of criminal behavior because that has already been found to be a fact in a Federal Court in San Francisco.
A Steering Committee that has no Vote in NFLPA business and matters has no right to claim that it represents the interests of Retired Players and their Families. That’s going to ruffle some feathers on their side but they know it’s true. Those guys were afraid of Gene and quite intimidated by him. Speak roughly to him or challenge him and you were gone.
All NFL Players should have a “Vote For Life” and that includes the young men who are playing today. There is no need for them to find themselves shut out of the Union’s affairs in the coming years the way that we are today. Most of them don’t believe it but each of them is going to play an average three-and-one-half years and die at an average age of fifty-six years of age. It’s true. Just take the time to count the number of men who have played since the mid 1950’s which would make the oldest around seventy years old now. There only about ten thousand of us left alive.
Our Pension and Disability Plan should be the equal to Major League Baseball. You know that. Our disabled men should not have to go through all that they endure in order to get help. Players should not have to suddenly go back in for re-evaluation in order to keep their disability payments just because they upset somebody at the PA. “Plan 88″ wives should not have to worry about what they say about the Union and its management for fear of having all or some of their money taken back. Oh – you didn’t know that they could take back whatever part of that tricky and misleading 88k they claim they’ll pay you?
The people who have hijacked the Union and held it hostage for some twenty-five years now must be called to account. The days of the Bully Pulpit of the Executive Director are over. The days of Lawyers who never played a single down in the NFL but are being paid millions of OUR Union’s dollars to stop us from getting what is rightfully ours will be over soon. The days of Staff women at the NFLPA who only have high school diplomas and GED’s making salaries that are more than five times greater than women of color with college educations are going to end soon – even if your father is a Congressman or a Senator. The days of men making huge salaries for doing the same work that women do for much smaller salaries have to end as well.
What decent Leader would force a hard-working, educated female employee to not use the elevator but rather to walk up and down seven floors every day in an unprotected stairwell while everyone else rides in the “Cadillac comfort” of an elevator? Why would others stand by and allow that to happen? There is a very simple answer: They were afraid for their own jobs. How would you have reacted if Gene and those other folks did that to your mother, wife or daughter?
Back in Slavery Times in the Old South the Slaves were always kept pacified by telling them not to worry about the tough life that they were living because they would be rewarded when they reached Heaven. I am going to go out on a limb and saying that Retired Players are no longer willing to wait for a Heavenly reward while the Bosses, Masters and House Help, enjoy a Heaven right now, right here on earth.
To you fellas down in Palm Springs, take some time to think about this during your meeting while you are out on the Golf Course.
Malcolm X once said that there were two different kind of Negros. There was the field hand who slaved in the fields daily and there was the Negro who worked in the comfort of the “big house.” He said that when the big plantation mansion caught fire and was burning down, the House Negros would stand around and say, “Oh Lord, our house is burning down, Masta! What are we going to do.” The field Negro, on the other hand, would be saying “I am glad that the damn house is burning down.” Well, like Malcolm X, I’m a “FIELD NEGRO” and in our ranks I believe that we have some “FIELD CAUCASIANS.” I have had enough of this foolishness and I believe that many of the rest of you have as well.
We’re doing just fine with the Summit. Some of the people who are coming can’t really afford the trip but they have gone on and purchased an airline ticket somehow. We also have at least one who is still paralyzed from an injury suffered in the NFL years ago and there are others who suffered broken necks and some who had multiple surgeries over the years because of football injuries.
I feel very good about being at the Summit May 29th – 31st. Will you come and stand up with the rest of us? It’s going to be quite a show.
Register For The Summit and Hotel at DavePear.com.