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Old Habits are Hard to Break

In a time when the world is changing right before our eyes, there are still some old habits that are hard to break. Last week in a meeting with a former NFL player, he questioned himself why he had not listened to all of the wisdom and knowledge presented to him earlier in his career.

He admits that he was blinded by those around him who were nothing more than “yes” people and did not truly have his best interest at heart. He also brought up an interesting notion that he was becoming very leery of the NFLPA and its purpose and use for current and former NFL players. This is coming from a player who played over 10 years in the NFL and knows a thing or two about the pros and cons of the game.

As the NFL and NFLPA prepare for a break in the labor peace; the first they have experienced since implementing their Collective Bargaining agreement that has been in place since 1993. I found his comments very alarming and quite interesting at the same time. He feels as though there are some serious issues that need to be addressed in the upcoming labor relations between the NFL and NFLPA becoming more confident each day that there will be a ‘lockout’ imposed by the NFL owners after the 2010 NFL season.

With NFL charging its active members (current players) $10,000 a year, many former players are beginning to question whether the NFLPA is serving as a viable entity in representing its members, because very few NFLPA members, if any, are able to return to the NFLPA as retired members and seek gainful employment and/or insurance benefits that are so fiercely sought after for many of today’s retired members. However, many newly retired players do not have this issue as they are afforded insurance benefits under the current CBA for five years beyond their last playing days in the NFL.

The issues and concerns of active players are often very different than those issues and concerns of retired players. The concerns of players who played in the 60s are different than those issues and concerns of those who played in the 80s which are different than those who played in the new millennium. Until there are substantive meetings between current and retired players, there will continue to be disjointed and segregated messages amongst the different eras of former players who all have legitimate issues and concerns.

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