SBD/Issue 177/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Former NFLers Question NFLPA Leadership Over Benefits Dispute

Retired Players Disagree With Smith
That Rift With NFLPA Is Over

Former NFLer Billy Joe Dupree "headed a group of retired players at a news conference Tuesday who questioned the NFL Players Association's leadership and let it be known that their dispute over benefits is far from over," according to Clarence Hill Jr. of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. Former players in attendance included Jeff Nixon, Joe DeLamielleure, Elvin Bethea, Fred Dean and Abner Haynes, all of whom "took aim at NFLPA [Exec Dir] DeMaurice Smith for his recent comments that the rift with the retired players was over." The ex-players want $100M "added to the pension fund to help NFL alums, particularly those with debilitating injuries," and they want the NFLPA to "open their books and explain why executives are earning seven figure salaries rather than the money going back to the players and former players." The former players also "want explanations from the marketing arm on how it decides which players get called on for appearances" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/26). ESPN DALLAS' Calvin Watkins reported the NFLPA since '07 has contributed $216.3M to the players' retired income plans, "much higher" than what the MLBPA ($117.5M), NBPA ($34.3M) and NHLPA ($29M) have contributed to their various retired players. The former NFL players said that they "would like to meet with Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell but nothing has been set up" (, 5/25).

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