Don Majkowski files federal lawsuit against NFL & NFLPA over CBA’s slashing of disability benefits

The former Packers quarterback has struggled with multiple injuries since retiring from the league. 

The NFL and the NFLPA have taken turns throughout the years turning their backs on the men whose shoulders their game is built on. 

Today, former Packers quarterback Don Majkowski and former journeyman NFL running back Aveion Cason filed a federal lawsuit against the league and the player's union for the rolling back of benefits that was, they allege, snuck into the new Collective Bargaining Agreement at the last second. 

To get a good overview and history of what led to this lawsuit, take a listen to this excellent podcast from Dan Wallach that takes a closer look at how the new CBA leaves hundreds of former players out in the cold by removing them from the NFL’s disability plan or significantly reducing their benefits.

I can not stress how important it is for you to listen to the podcast.

As for Majkowski, it's no surprise to see him take the lead regarding disability benefits, when his post-playing days struggle with injuries has been well documented. 

From a Fox Sports piece back in 2003: The list of Majkowski’s physical problems is lengthy and includes everything from degenerative disk disease in his neck and back to post-concussion syndrome. But his issues started with his left ankle. He’s had 11 surgeries on it, including back-to-back fusions after the first attempt didn’t work. 

That entire article reads like surreal black comedy. The hoops retired players are required to jump through to receive even the most minimal care for their often debilitating injuries is absolutely absurd. 

Everyone involved in the game of football loves to pay lip service to the guys who helped build the game into the multi-billion dollar business it is today. Yet every time they are given an opportunity to turn those platitudes into some kind of meaningful action, there typically follows a deafening silence accompanying a stunning lack of any kind of action whatsoever. 

Now, making things even worse, the league and player's association are actually going to make it MORE difficult for hundreds of former players, including Majkowski, to get the care they need. 

Here's hoping this suit remedies not only the shameful rollback in the CBA but produces a constructive dialogue about needing to ensure the men who built the game are given the respect they deserve. 

8 points

Comments (11)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Bearmeat's picture

July 10, 2020 at 05:39 pm

The owners never lose an opportunity to be shitty human beings. And the players, well, they can't agree on the color of the sky in 2020. How do you expect them to band together to take care of 50-60 somethings who got paid way less than they do?

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Alberta_Packer's picture

July 11, 2020 at 02:00 am

Within the pro sports lexicon - players are often referred to as assets (see Mike McCarthy) - and particularly as a business asset - which is an item of value owned by a company. When that item ceases to have value for the company, it is disposed of, and usually replaced by another asset. This is not only an indictment of the NFL but the business world in general. However when players like Majkowski demand personal accountability and responsibility from their former employers, they are treated like pariahs - a former asset that has no further value to the corporation - which is a liability. Nor should we expect too much from the players union - whose main focus is getting paid now.

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GP1's picture

July 13, 2020 at 09:22 pm

Mike McCarthy is good man who, it appeared to me, always considered his players well being.
Journalist to MM; Should he play again?
MM; not if he's my child
As players they're assets but as people they're to be looked after during and post career.
More so if they played before the big money contracts became the norm'.

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BAMABADGER's picture

July 10, 2020 at 07:50 pm

"The NFL and the NFLPA have taken turns throughout the years turning their backs on the men whose shoulders their game is built on."

NFLPA, thank you for protecting your brothers that sacrificed to get you to where you are today. RPM = RETIRED PLAYERS MATTER!

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Lphill's picture

July 10, 2020 at 09:57 pm

Regardless of new agreements players should retain their benefits or be grandfather in , the changes should only affect current players at the time. That’s usually the protocol with union deals.

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GatorJason's picture

July 11, 2020 at 03:08 am

Former NFL Players' Lives Matter

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Coldworld's picture

July 11, 2020 at 06:30 am

Disgusting.

Both the NFL and the NFLPA should take a long hard look at themselves. It certainly casts a poor light on recent high profile positions for social justice.

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murf7777's picture

July 11, 2020 at 07:01 am

Shame on them, you should always take care of the people who have helped you get to where you are!

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Since'61's picture

July 11, 2020 at 11:08 am

Another despicable moment for the NFL and NFLPA. The player’s association allegedly represents all players. Obviously that is not the case for former players.

Sadly, this is a perfect example of organizations being focused on the wrong issues. In this case it is once again a matter of greed.

Will it really hurt the league’s financial status to provide care for their former players who were injured while making the league and the owners even richer? How do you pay a sloth like Goodell $40+ million per year but yet tell your former players that you won’t provide health insurance? How do you constantly raise ticket prices for hardworking fans yet fail to provide more effective equipment to the players? The list goes on and on.

These are among the many reasons while players will continue to walk away from the game while they are still healthy. These are reasons why more and more parents will steer their children away from the game.

The players are aware of the risks inherent in the game. Their willingness to accept those risks is all the more reason the league and the NFLPA should support the players after their playing days have ended. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Tarynfor12's picture

July 11, 2020 at 01:05 pm

"The players are aware of the risks inherent in the game. Their willingness to accept those risks is all the more reason the league and the NFLPA should support the players after their playing days have ended."

This is exactly why the NFL hasn't shown or offered the support retired players seek. This is a matter to be agreed upon before any future CBA is signed. If it isn't, don't blame the NFL business, blame the players and the NFLPA for again feeding their own greed first while allowing the aged to whither away. Exactly what the players are demanding NOT happen to the aged with Covid-19. Hypocrites because it effects their pockets.

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flackcatcher's picture

July 11, 2020 at 06:17 pm

Hence, the lawsuit. This is going to get ugly real real fast. The question is, was the contract altered before or after the union vote. And did the union vote for the new contract language with knowledge of the changes. It is interesting that the new NFLPA president is JC Tretter. He was opposed to the new contract and how the NFLPA lawyer negotiated the deal.

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