Well, that didn’t last very long.
On Tuesday, a collection of NFL Hall of Famers released a letter demanding health insurance and an ongoing share of league revenues or else they would begin a boycott of future induction ceremonies and other Hall of Fame related events. The letter was addressed to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and was “signed” by players like Jim Brown, Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders, Joe Namath, and Lawrence Taylor.
However, less than 24 hours after it went public, two players are backing off hard.
Jerry Rice and Kurt Warner both took to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon to distance themselves from the letter.
— jerryrice (@JerryRice) September 18, 2018
My comments on HOF benefits letter being circulated today: pic.twitter.com/JKU2X5lCIs
— Kurt Warner (@kurt13warner) September 18, 2018
Rice flat out says he won’t be boycotting anything, while Warner claims he was “not made aware” of the letter and his name being at the bottom was a mistake. The letter attracted criticism due to demanding benefits for Hall of Fame players, but made no mention of the much larger population of former players who are not in the Hall of Fame.
Eric Dickerson attempted to clear up that controversy. The Chairmain of the Hall of Fame Board (his title according to Tuesday’s letter) appeared on “Outside the Lines” on Tuesday afternoon to explain that the group does indeed want the benefits to eventually extend to all players, but they felt starting with the Hall of Famers was the right way to use their power as the game’s best and most famous former players.
“I’m trying to help the Hall of Famers. That is my goal. That is our goal. The guys who talked about this, this is our goal is to help the players. And also not just the Hall of Famers. I want to make that perfectly clear. One thing is we have to have a seat at the CBA table. We want all players to have health insurance, not just Hall of Famers.”
“We have to get to 1 before we can get to 10. You have to start with the Hall of Famers because we’re trying to get some power first. We don’t have a voice at the table and we’re trying to get there with the attention of the Hall of Famers first. When you get Hall of Famers talking, hopefully you get the attention of the masses.”
The entire appearance can be seen below:
The whole thing is kind of strange. The Hall of Famers apparently want a seat at the table for the collective bargaining agreement between the Players’ Association and the NFL. While their goal of long-term health insurance for retired players is a good one, the fact that Rice and Warner are already breaking ranks shows the disorganization in their planning. The truth is that life long health insurance for retired players will probably only become a reality if current players make a fuss in the next CBA negotiations.