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Volume 25 No. 107
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Eric Dickerson Goes In Depth On HOF Boycott Letter To NFL

Dickerson said one of the problems is that HOFers and retired players don't have a seat on the CBA
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Pro Football HOFer Eric Dickerson said he made other HOFers the focus of his letter to the NFL this week because of "name recognition" but is not ignoring the needs of other former players. Appearing on CNBC's "Power Lunch," Dickerson said, "We want health care and benefits for every player, even pre-'93 guys. We're not trying to leave any of our brothers behind." Dickerson: "This is not just about the Hall of Fame. ... We started with the big-name guys, but we want health care for every player that's ever played in the National Football League. ... That is our goal and that's what we've been preaching." Asked if the NFLPA is at fault for former players not having these benefits, Dickerson said, "One of the problems is that the older guys -- Hall of Famers or retired players -- don't have a seat on the CBA. That's where the problem is." Meanwhile, Dickerson on Kurt Warner and Jerry Rice not being aware of the letter said, "They were on the letter as supporting it, and we like had seven drafts going out, and I didn't read all the way down to all the names. That's my fault. I take responsibility for that" ("Power Lunch," CNBC, 9/20). 

DOESN'T FEEL RIGHT: YAHOO SPORTS' Charles Robinson wrote under the header, "Eric Dickerson Took Noble Issue And Somehow Made NFL Look Like Good Guy." Dickerson's message is one that "feels awkward and mixed -- on one hand, banging a drum for necessary health care coverage for players but on the other hand, adding some self-enrichment for players who already earned top-end NFL salaries during their eras." It is "hard to see this as anything less than a legitimate need (health care) married to an awkward reach for the NFL’s gravy train of new money." Robinson: "You can bet it’s why some Hall of Famers are trying to subtly distance themselves from parts of the effort" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/19). In S.F., Ann Killion wrote former NFLers who "did not achieve as much glory or wealth" as the HOFers but also "sacrificed future health, also are struggling." Killion: "Perhaps even more so. Don’t they deserve a share?" The "missive created controversy, with errors," including using the name of Rice. Dickerson thinks his group has the "leverage to create change that eventually will help all players." But this seems an "awfully divisive way to do it." It makes one "understand just why NFL players have the weakest union in professional sports" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/20).

ONE FOR ALL: Joe Montana said the effort by Dickerson's proposal should include all former players. Montana: “They are on the right path. It should be inclusive of all players. I mean, when you look at our pension plan in general -- not just for the Hall of Famers, but in general for the NFL -- it is terrible compared to all the other sports. We are not even close and yet we are the most at risk.” Montana does not typically attend the HOF ceremonies, so the issue of potentially boycotting the event does not affect him. He said, “I understand where they are going, but it should be more. I just think it should be more than the HOF. I understand what they are doing, they think if they can get the HOF guys moving then that will help everyone in the long run" (Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer).