NFL player grievances still don't add up

July 02, 2011

In his recent column, Ravens cornerback Dominique Foxworth presents a thoughtful case regarding the players stance on the current NFL labor impasse, but I find his comments to be largely very offensive ("For players, safety and post-NFL life are keys," June 29). He states that the players are fighting for "a safer practice regimen, better pensions for former players, long-term health insurance, and more time and support in the pursuit of higher education and post-football careers."

First off, regarding a safer practice regimen — that is strictly in the control of the players. They are the ones who, both in practice and games, lay the hard hits on each other. A good tackle will stop a player regardless of how hard the hit is. We live in a society where the hard hits have been glorified through the likes of highlight shows on ESPN. It has gotten out of hand. Rather than imposing fines for head-to-head contact, the league should impose suspensions. I guarantee that will curtail them.

Secondly, regarding pensions and long-term health insurance, Mr. Foxworth bemoans that "players who retire from the NFL leave with, at most, five years of health insurance." How many of us in the "real world" as opposed to the "fantasy world" of sports, leave our jobs and have our health insurance paid for us for another five years? Is our COBRA coverage paid for us? Or our individual health policies after retirement? I think not. Why should the NFL players have theirs paid for by their employer at their retirement? They earn millions in salaries — let them pay for their own health coverage. And yes, they may be exposed to some more severe health issues after their careers, but they chose to enter that career — it's called risk and reward. Are their jobs any more dangerous than coal mining, steel working, or a career in the military? I think not.

Finally, didn't most of the players in the NFL already go to college on a scholarship? Why should the league have to support them in their pursuit of higher education after their football days are over? They've made millions of dollars during their careers, so let them pay for their own education the second time around. They already had one free ride.

Don Eney

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