Former Packers Skeptical Of Their Place In New CBA

Green Bay Packers alumni Boyd Dowler and Bob Long don't think the players association is looking out for retired players.

BEAVER DAM, Wis. – On Wednesday, the Green Bay Packers released their annual financial report where president Mark Murphy decried that “player costs are growing at twice the rate of revenue," sure to be a point of contention between the owners and the players as they look to strike a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) before the start of next season.

On Thursday, two former Packers expressed their doubts that the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) will have the retirees best interests at heart in the fight for better benefits when the owners and the NFLPA sit down at the negotiating table to hammer out a new CBA.

While at a charity fundraising event Thursday in Beaver Dam, former wide receivers Boyd Dowler and Bob Long, two Vince Lombardi-era Packers, voiced strong opinions that NFL alumni aren't going to be at the forefront of future labor discussions.

"Retirees, we're kind of an afterthought," said Long. "They might say they're trying to get stuff for retirees, but it may come down to to a negotiating point with the owners. Who gets a bigger pension, active players or retired players? I guarantee it will be the active players, not the retirees. That's how I kind of feel. They may say that, but that's bogus."

Given that Long is a former president of NFLPA Retirees in Wisconsin, his word would seem to carry a little more weight than the ordinary retired player. And Dowler echoes his sentiments.

Asked if he hopes that there will be better benefits in the future, Dowler responded, "I hope there will be. I don't know if there's any thoughts or plans to that affect at this point. I'd be certainly surprised if there were."

Both NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA president DeMaurice Smith have publicly said they're fighting for improvements to benefits for the retired player. But the two have also squabbled and played the blame game on their respective websites, to which NFL Alumni Association have called for "a little less talk and a lot more action" from both of them.

"While the propaganda suggests otherwise, little or no action has been taken by the NFL and NFLPA to increase pensions for retired players," said the NFL Alumni Association in an statement published online.

Smith, in particular, has visibly appealed to alumni, such as at this past year's Super Bowl press conference and in other public forums, but the retirees have been hesitant to buy in.

Maybe that's because "Smith insists current players shouldn't suffer with their own wages and benefits in such a deal," as the Associated Press writes, leading NFL alumni to believe their interests are far behind that of current players.

"They have a [players association] for current players, and that's who they are really for," said Long. "If they have a lockout, that's who they're fighting for bigger raises, for the active players. They don't need raises in my opinion, but they want to get more and more and more."

Smith has called for a united front amongst current and former players, but judging from the reaction from the two sixties-era Packers, that hasn't happened yet.

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Comments (3)

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Wiscokid's picture

July 16, 2010 at 06:52 pm

It's a sad thing that Johnny Jollie's suspension is getting more attention than this issue. To me this is much bigger deal. Players that have given us so much when salaries where comparatively next to nothing are not being adequately represented in the labor negotiations. We seem to be more concerned with current players being asked to play two more regular season games than taking care of those that made the league the success that it is today.

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Tarynfor12's picture

July 17, 2010 at 08:46 am

I don't believe I have seen any publications from the NFL or the NFLPA show casing the financial aspects of what each side WILL do for the retired players .When I hear we"WANT or WOULD LIKE" to do this or that,red flags jump at me.
The most oft spoken words by BOTH sides of this issue are"IT's A BUSINESS".These very words should open the eyes to many and help them get in touch with the underlying message in it.
The Owners have already received the benefit of the past players and business will never"REPAY" for a product they already used.They are now putting their efforts to making sure they don't "OVERPAY" for a product whose use is gone after 6-10 years on average.
The NFLPA is looking out for the today players only.The players are getting staggering deals and yet WANT financial contributions from the Owners for their retirement fund later in life.How much money from the contracts of players is being held from their lucrative paychecks and being placed in the "RETIREMENT FUND" of which they will WANT to aide them after their individual product donation has been used up as with their income.
The majority of players today have the "Live in the Moment" mentality and the Owners don't want to be SOLELY accountable for later in life woes which they ignored today.The NFLPA I think expects just that.
I'm not taking sides with either,but it's clear when reading between the lines as with Politicians,you can get the sense and feel that neither truly gives a dam about the past.The past is great on NFL films but in the "IT"s A BUSINESS" world of sports,closer to nada than one may wish to accept.

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Wiscokid's picture

July 17, 2010 at 01:36 pm

I just keep remembering when I was young and looking on the back of bubblegum cards as it outlines the players stats as well as the second jobs they had in the off season. These guys were teachers, pro wrestlers, grocery store clerks...whatever. They did these things because the were getting paid squat. The league was built on their backs. Today, players seem to think the moment they're after drafted they are entitled to a life of luxury forever. You're right, its a business, a business that wouldn't be here if these guys didn't help build it.

I'm not saying that vault doors should fly open and retired players should just help themselves. What I'm saying is the NFLPA should always remember their roots.

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