Bob Kuechenberg: A 21st Century American Travesty

Jul 3, 2012
Bob Kuechenberg 2012 - credit Jennifer Thibeaux

Bob Kuechenberg 2012 – credit Jennifer Thibeaux

Herb Adderley, John Mackey, Mike Webster, Andre Waters. And the carnage goes on and on and on.
Unless and until the 21st Century NFL undergoes a sea change – a total paradigm shift toward actually caring for their beloved 20th Century warriors – I have no interest in being associated with the NFL in any way, including the erstwhile noble idea of its Hall of Fame
I am, however, keenly interested in contributing to bring into the American public’s consciousness the unbelievably shameful travesty known as the “NFL Retired Players Pension.
I want to bring lasting attention to the deplorable and deliberate manner in which the NFL owners have set up a “maze” of red tape designed to prevent the hundreds – if not thousands – of living former NFL warriors from “having a life after football.
We’re not talking about a life of luxury or even middle-class standards. Rather, these noble warriors are left with broken bodies, damaged brains and a pension at sub-poverty level! They haven’t received enough pension to afford food, rent and, above all, health insurance or medical care for their ravaged bodies – much less any personal dignity – and are left to beg for their subsistence
I simply cannot imagine a greater American tragedy.
The 21st Century NFL is the wealthiest and most powerful “Sport” in the history of the planet! I can only guess that is true by a multiple of vast proportions. The NFL owners have created a “sports” organization that is not only, the wealthiest in the history of the planet but that has primarily built its wealth by depreciating the healthy, super-talented bodies of the players of the 20th century, (NFL Retired Players) as their “raw materials.
These human “raw materials” were “processed” in the NFL’s inimitable fashion and when quickly broken down and used up, the NFL “finished” these processed materials by waiving them, in the process creating hundreds and hundreds of crippled, dementia-laden, poverty-stricken human “byproducts”. These human “byproducts” were then tragically dumped into the lap of our American society. Please understand that I’m not objecting to this modem day American success story. After all, each of us former warriors knew what we were getting into. Not only did we know but we dreamed and prayed to be part of it. And the vast majority of us – even today – still say we would do it all over again if given the choice
The history of American industry is rife with struggle between management and labor. Taken from that paradigm, the current NFL Retired Players pension plight “is but a short scene in the second act.”
However, that doesn’t make it right. And so I continue to be passionately interested in “helping to make it right.”
The NFL Retired Players pension is inarguably an American travesty. In all recorded history, not since the gladiators of the Roman Coliseum have a group of human beings faced a greater paradox: Their “owners” also did not share a long-term health care interest in their human product.
Sincerely and humbly, I remain,
Bob Kuechenberg
Miami Dolphins
1970 – 1984

4 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Gordon Wright
    July 4th, 2012 at 12:11 am #

    Gordon Wright - NY Jets

    This is well written truth about the current NFL!

    I look forward to the day when everyone in the current Benefits office and the Current NFLPA and
    the current NFL Alumni are replaced by people who actually “care” about Past & Present NFL Football Players! Everyone there now are all impediments to the care the football players deserve for the service! The players are no less important than the gladiators of the current NFL Roman Arena Empire!

    One Question ? Why are the NFL Owners worse than MLB & NBA?

    The NFL Gladiator Sport is older than MLB & NBA. The USA needs to stop enabling this slave treatment of former NFL Player!

    Gordon Wright
    Philadelphia Eagles & New York Jets
    1967 – 1970

  2. Dave Pear
    July 4th, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Dave at Home


    In answer to your question: Why are the NFL owners worse than the MLB or NBA?

    Because they can!

    Dave Pear

  3. Marilyn Bishop
    July 6th, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    Bill Bishop

    Have we heard anything more about pre-93 widow benefits?

    Marilyn Bishop
    widow Bill Bishop (1931 – 1998)
    Chicago Bears 1952 – 1961
    Minnesota Vikings 1962

  4. Brian J. Nemeth
    August 24th, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    Brian Nemeth

    Dave –

    I have asked this question before and I sure need an answer from anyone: Am I considered a retired NFL?

    I have two played seasons. I was injured in a game with the Raiders in 1979 with the Niners. I was paralyzed left leg and foot. I am getting my fourth back surgery since I cannot control certain circuits. I am forced into Social Security disability by my lawyer and doctor. They have tried for ten years especially since my steel rods were removed and I almost died in 2000.

    Am I considered a retired veteran or am I just totally screwed? I have developed two diseases directly from my back and it really does not look too good for me.

    Please can anyone advise – I hope I am at least considered. I truly paid the ultimate price.

    Brian J. Nemeth
    1976 draft from South Carolina
    to San Francisco 49ers
    (unknown T.E.)