Some of the most prominent members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame are threatening to boycott future induction ceremonies unless the NFL agrees to provide a number of different things — including health insurance and an annual share of the league’s revenues.
The letter was sent to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell this week by a group that includes Hall of Fame Board director Eric Dickerson executive director DeMaurice Smith, Pro Football Hall of Fame president C. David Baker, and at least 20 board members including Marcus Allen, Jim Brown, Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders, and Kurt Warner.
According to ESPN’s Arash Markazi, the group also questioned Goodell’s massive salary ($40 million annually for five years) and the $1 billion Hall of Fame village being constructed in Canton, Ohio. The group suggests even a small percentage of that money would be better used to assist former players who struggle with negative health effects left over from a career in the NFL.
It reads, in part:
“We, the undersigned Pro Football Hall of Famers, were integral to the creation of the modern NFL, which in 2017 generated $14 billion in revenue,” the letter states. “But when the league enshrined us as the greatest ever to play America’s most popular sport, they gave us a gold jacket, a bust and a ring – and that was it.
“To build this game, we sacrificed our bodies. In many cases, and despite the fact that we were led to believe otherwise, we sacrificed our minds. We believe we deserve more.”
“An NFL marketing slogan states that “Football is Family.” We agree, which is why we’re demanding to be treated like family members who are integral to the league’s present and future. As the legends of the game’s past, we deserve nothing less.”
You can read the entire letter right here.
The letter makes comparisons to MLB’s pension and health insurance plan — guaranteed for life for any baseball player who has appeared on a roster for at least 43 days — and also claims that it would cost the NFL just $4 million of their $14 billion annual revenue to give full health coverage to every Hall of Famer — less than the current cost of a 30-second Super Bowl commercial.