By Ken Reed
After decades of treating retired players poorly, the NFL and NFLPA have come through big time for the league’s old timers in the league’s new CBA.
More than 10,000 retired players will get a substantial bump in their pensions, along with other new benefits.
“A few weeks ago, the question I had posed — would the league and players step up for the men on whose shoulders the N.F.L. was built? — was largely answered,” wrote NFL great Jim Brown in a letter to The New York Times.
“And the answer is yes. The N.F.L. and the National Football League Players Association ratified a new agreement that will govern the game for the next decade and provides unprecedented improvements in benefits that will help transform the lives of thousands of former N.F.L. players and their families.”
According to the NFL Alumni, average pensions for players jump from $30,000 per year to $46,000. Players with three years in the league will now get an annual pension of nearly $20,000 per year. Previously, players needed four years in the league to be vested. The $20,000 figure is expected to continue to rise, based on NFL revenue growth projections. The change effects about 3,000 former players, who now become eligible for benefits.
Also of note, retirees 65 and older will get a 25 percent increase in their Medicare supplement benefit. And the new CBA calls for “all retired players to receive free or low-cost screenings, preventive care, mental health services and orthopedic care at a new national network of top hospitals created by the owners and the union.” That is very important given what we’ve learned in recent years about repetitive brain trauma, concussions and CTE.
Brown, who was skeptical that the NFL and NFLPA would ever step up for the players who helped make the NFL so popular, was pleased with the result.
“I want to thank everyone who worked collectively to make this great change.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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