Want More Info on Retired Players’ “Benefits”?

Nov 7, 2011

Over the past couple of weeks, absolutely nothing of any serious significance or substance out of the NFLPA regarding retired players pensions especially that new Legacy Fund, other than a lot of the same chest-thumping and empty rhetoric that everyone has been hearing since the lockout ended late this summer. It would certainly seem like the lawyers have taken over once again and put out that Say Nothing Memo.
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There was a meeting of the Seattle Chapter (probably much like other chapter meetings across the country) where the usual 8 members – out of approximately 48 NFLPA members listed in the Seattle area – showed up and voted on a few things that we’re sure will make a huge difference to all retirees: The meeting introduced some Business Opportunities (Hair Products!), the Touchdowns for Homes Programs, as well as some discussion on the School of Legends program. We also finally have some backhanded acknowledgment from the NFLPA HQ about loss of hearing from football (a shiny new discount hearing aid program!).
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Here’s Sam McCullum’s latest summary along with a copy of the letter that was sent out to the local membership:
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From: Sam McCullum
Date: Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 9:31 AM
Subject: FW: Former Players Message 11/04/2011
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North West Members:
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The information shared here is up to date with what I know.
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The updated info on the benefits is also key, but as in the past if you have not gone on the mygoalline.com web site and looked at what you’re entitled to receive in the form of long term medical, life insurance, disability help, etc. you should. It is best to know what you have and to share with your spouse and kids.
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I am leaving on Monday for our quarterly meeting with the plan benefit trustees and we have a number of clarification issues on the agenda (CBA), but also an increased number of players filling for benefits. That is a good thing because more guys are starting to take notice of the programs, and the programs have modified some rules for review. Also more attention is being placed on getting the right review procedures and facilities in place so as not to make the process so hard to navigate.
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Also with Markus out of the country for the next couple of weeks, I have gotten some communication from the folks that is (sic) doing the home builders program (building homes for the needy families), and as soon as I get a date and location I will let you know.
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Have a great week, and as I get more information I will be sending it out.
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Sam
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Click to Enlarge

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And the Hearing Aid program:
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Dear NFLPA Chapter President:
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EarQ is both proud and excited to be selected by the NFL Players Association to provide an education and hearing aid discount program for its active and retired members and their families.
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Due to the high decibel playing environment and the challenging physical nature of the game, so many professional football players have reported hearing loss. This condition can have a serious impact on their relationships with family and friends, as well as affect their business opportunities. The EarQ program empowers your members to combat hearing loss, and return to a natural quality of hearing and improved quality of life.
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EarQ is the industry leader in hearing solutions. More research and development goes into EarQ devices than any other brand in the marketplace. We have the technology to address all hearing needs, and a wide array of models, colors and sizes to fit any need or lifestyle.
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And the report from fearless leader Nolan Harrison III:
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Senior Director’s report on the NFLPA Former Players Chapter Presidents meeting in Washington, D.C. last weekend
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Last weekend, members of the NFL Players Association’s Former Players Board of Directors and chapter presidents descended upon Washington, D.C. to convene at the NFLPA offices for their annual meeting.
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The Board of Directors, the governing body of the NFLPA Former Player chapters, convened at Friday’s session. The hot topic of conversation this year was the currently-being-negotiated legacy benefit. NFLPA associate general counsel Tom DePaso, as he has over the last couple of months since the union reconstituted, informed the board of the current state of negotiations with the NFL pertaining to the Legacy Benefit. The board, as well as many other former players across the country, has been involved in shaping the current negotiations including one of the conference calls the board members participated in becoming a four hour marathon. The board members expressed their opinions as to where we are and the direction the bargaining seems to be headed. As before, there is still a majority consensus among the Board of Directors as to the position of the NFLPA in these negotiations.
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After discussing some minor discipline issues, the board adjourned and joined the chapter presidents at a cocktail party thrown by the National Association of Home Builders and their CEO Jerry Howard. The NFLPA and the NAHB have a partnership to support each organization’s local chapters in charitable home builds for the local communities. The Washington, D.C. and Chicago chapters already have completed charity build projects with others soon to come.
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Saturday’s meetings were an all-day affair, lasting from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Chairman Cornelius Bennett’s welcome and report kicked off the morning session. Bennett presented his year-in-review, followed by my senior director’s report, which covered operations, communications and revenue-generating opportunities through School of the Legends.
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DePaso and Miki Yaras-Davis, NFLPA senior director of benefits, gave their reports on the Legacy Benefit and the new pension and benefit improvements. The PAT Fund manager, Tyrone Allen, provided his report next and assistant director Dee Becker gave the 2012 Current and Former Players Convention update (which will be held again this year on Marco Island in Florida.) Qiana Thomas, programs manager, gave her chapter and membership report, which included a report on the deadline for paying dues to gain entry to the Players Party in Indianapolis during Super Bowl week. Director Andre Collins gave an overview of the new medical discount programs available to our players.
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NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, fresh off a plane, spoke to the leadership and held a question-and-answer session which allowed the chapter presidents and Board of Directors to ask any questions they wished about where we have been and where we are going in the future. Smith thanked the roomful of leaders, from all across the country, for their service to all players throughout this long battle, emphasizing that without our One Team the successful negotiations wouldn’t have been possible.
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The final session, the open forum, consisted of new business and anything else that chapter leaders wanted to discuss.
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From my conversations during and after the meetings, there was an excitement and a feeling of accomplishment from those who fought and worked so hard over the last five years to help all players get to where we are today. With $900 million in retirement benefits, $620 million of which goes toward the Legacy Benefit to increase the quality of life of so many of our former players, we should feel proud of this phenomenal and unprecedented accomplishment.
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As an organization, there are still more challenges to overcome, but as we move forward, our light shines brightly for all players past, present and future.
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One Team,
Nolan Harrison III
Senior Director
NFLPA Former Players
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10 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Rick Sanford
    November 8th, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    Rick Sanford NE Patriots

    Wow! I’m so glad that Nolan Harrison and the entourage are so happy and excited about all our new benefits. Of which – by the way, Nolan – none of us knew anything about.

    We’re so fortunate to have such informative representation. This is so ridiculous! I cannot believe I sacrificed my body and numerous concussions for all of this. What a great feeling to know that when my career was over, I would have all these benefits; though now I’m not sure what they are… other than the fact that they aren’t so good.

    Where is the justice? All of you who “fought so hard for all of us retirees” should be ashamed. All I know is that Karma is a great thing – what goes around does indeed come around.

    I’m saddened and disappointed that my union settled for that agreement. Too many other retirees and I are extremely disappointed.

    Rick Sanford
    New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks
    1979 – 1985

  2. Burt Grossman
    November 8th, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    Burt Grossman

    I’m assuming Nolan feels if he says what a great job he and the NFLPA did for the retirees enough times, we will all believe it. How else would you explain his comical chest-beating statements? Somehow overlooking $500 million on the table from the starting point of negotiations is worth bragging about? If I’m selling my car and someone offers me $10,000.00 and I end up taking $5,000.00, would I really want to brag to my wife and friends what a great deal I negotiated? And then keep bring it up at every gathering and dinner party, thinking if I say it enough times it will be true?

    Burt Grossman
    San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles
    1989 -1994

  3. Gregg Bingham
    November 8th, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    Greg Bingham

    Blah Blah Blah… It’s now been over 10 weeks since the CBA and so far nada. Sounds like more “Delay Deny and Hope They Die” strategy to me. But here’s the kicker: With $15 trillion dollars having been printed by our Fed now now – AND GROWING DAILY – I can assure you higher prices over the next 10 years will eat up anything received in this deal AND THEN SOME. If I were an owner, on my “Must-Get List” is a NO COLA clause. I didn’t see any, did you? The Big Mac and the postage stamp are the ultimate inflation indicators – watch them double in price over the period of the CBA (factor in a reduction of services by the Post Office as an increase in price).

    Gregg Bingham
    Houston Oilers
    1973 – 1984

  4. RobertinSeattle
    November 8th, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    RobertinSeattle

    Gregg -

    The best answer to your question on why it looks like they didn’t think to add in a NO Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) is: They DID! If you really look at what you retired guys were offered – even with the much-ballyhooed Legacy Fund – everything involves fixed dollar amounts. You and I are businessmen – we would have negotiated a percentage of gross instead of a fixed annual lump sum. While $50 million a year sounds fantastic, 10 – or even 5 (or 2) – years from now, it’ll look like the stupid deal that it really was. Instead, 5 – 7% of gross would have meant that as the League’s gross revenues continue to grow (and the number of retired players continues to increase over the years) so would the dollar amount of proceeds going to retirement and disability. We all know it ain’t getting smaller so why would anyone with common business sense ask for anything less? Unless maybe they were all in on it… Nahh!

    And of course, still nothing out of the PA about that other $500 million the NFL disclosed as having been earmarked for retirees. Guess it’s going into all those fantastic new programs like research and charities that some of these insiders are just going to have to roll up their sleeves for and run over the next 10 years. It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it!

    Perhaps all that chest-thumping you and Burt hear coming from NFLPA HQ is meant to cover up the bad deal it really is. But wait – you guys can’t hear anything anyway because most of you old-timers are now deaf from playing football and need to get on their incredible discount hearing aid program!

    Robert

  5. John Watson
    November 8th, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    John Watson 49ers

    Sounds like business as usual. The owners got what they wanted and the rest can take what is left – if they know where it is…

    Sounds like Same Song, Second Verse.

    John Watson
    San Francisco 49ers 1971- 1976
    New Orleans Saints 1977 – 1979

  6. Steve Korte
    November 8th, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    Steve Korte

    Same Old Song and Dance. What a joke: Look how ‘good we are doing for you guys’!!!

    Really!!! No, really!!!

    Steve Korte
    New Orleans Saints
    1983 – 1989

  7. Steve Wright
    November 9th, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    Steve Wright

    I just thought I would toss another log on the fire. Has there been anything discussed as far as Widows’ Benefits with the new plan?

    Steve Wright
    Green Bay Packers, Washington Redskins, New York Giants,
    Chicago Bears, St. Louis Cardinals
    1964 – 1972

  8. Janet & Michael C. McCoy
    November 9th, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Mike C. McCoy

    I wanted to let everyone know that Mike has moved into an assisted living facility. Everyone – do your research. I found a wonderful 5-star facility that was not on the NFL list. This is a home type environment with wonderful decor, meals and rooms. While this is a very sad time for us, I finally decided I could no longer take care of his needs and do a good job at it.

    To Steve Wright: We have been waiting to hear about widows pension as well. Mike signed a lifetime annuity while he was in dire need and was not married. He is concerned that our years together will not allow him to take care of his wife.

    If anyone hears anything, please include us.

    Janet Brown-McCoy
    for Mike McCoy
    Green Bay Packers
    1976 – 1983

  9. RobertinSeattle
    November 9th, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    RobertinSeattle

    Janet -

    Thanks for the update on Mike. Our hearts go out to you as we all get older and watch many of our loved ones go into assisted living.

    In the next few days, we’ll be posting a sad story about Bruce Schwager as told by his widow, Bette. Bruce was officially listed as an NFL player but was also denied his benefits. Subsequently, the Union agreed to cover his assisted living as he quickly deteriorated from full-blown dementia (the 88 Plan). Then the lockout happened and the NFLPA withdrew all their support and payments to the assisted living facility. The Schwagers received an eviction notice from the facility this spring during the lockout but Bruce passed away this June, making the eviction moot.

    But as with everything evil and NFLPA, there’s much more to this story and we’ll be posting it shortly.

    Robert

  10. Gregg Bingham
    November 9th, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    Gregg Bingham

    I’m very familiar with Bruce Schwager`s story and have talked to Bette about this very same thing. It’s my belief that Bruce just gave up and died as he didn’t want to be a burden to Bette or anyone else any more. But it should not be that way and there should be some dignity in dying.

    This story reminds me of that John Couger Mellenkamp song aka that little ditty about Jack and Diane:

    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of living is gone

    So Bruce went home to his maker

    RIP Bruce

    Gregg Bingham
    Houston Oilers
    1973 – 1984