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  #1  
Old 06-01-2009, 07:45 AM
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Default NFL Pensions

I mentioned one instance of NFL pension trouble in the public pensions thread, but figured, I might as well start a new thread once I found another story:

http://www.pionline.com/apps/pbcs.dl...rt01&nocache=1

Quote:
Even the richest sports league in the world can't meet its pension obligations.

NFL owners in March voted to allow teams to opt out of the league-run pension plan for coaches and other non-playing employees. Already nine of the NFL's 32 clubs have opted out of the program — including the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers — and three more teams are considering following suit, said Larry Keenan, executive director of the NFL Coaches Association.

The move has angered coaches, and led to worries some NFL coaches and employees might leave the league. Last month, two veteran Indianapolis Colts coaches, offensive coordinator Tom Moore and offensive line coach Howard Mudd, retired because of the pension changes, Mr. Keenan said. “At this time, we're still monitoring the issue on a team-by-team basis and staying in constant communication with the coaches,” he said in an e-mail.

Jeff Pash, NFL executive vice president and general counsel, told reporters at the league's spring meeting last month that the reason for the change is “entirely related to the drop in the stock market” over the past 18 months that left many “clubs' pension plans quite underfunded,” according to a transcript of the press conference.
Back from mid-May:
http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/fo..._pensions.html

Quote:
The executive director of the NFL Coaches Association blasted the NFL Saturday for showing "a total lack of respect" toward the league's assistant coaches by altering their league-wide pension plan.

The change, a cost-cutting measure that allows individual teams to opt out of the plan, was voted on by NFL owners in March "with no forewarning," according to Larry Kennan. The change led to the recent retirement of two long-time Indianapolis Colts assistants. And in an interview on Sirius NFL Radio's "The Weekend Kickoff," Kennan said other assistants have discussed quitting, too.
....
That angst has led to renewed talk of forming an actual coaches union - something Kennan said was a possibility even though "we've been threatened many times that if we formed an association they'd fire all of us." He also said he believes the owners may have made the decision on the pension plan with other motives in mind.

"We understand that everybody is cutting expenses around the country, at General Motors and a lot of the major corporations," Kennan said. "But a lot of them are on the verge of bankruptcy. I can't imagine that the NFL is on the verge of bankruptcy, bringing in over $8 billion last year. For them to do this, particularly with no advance warning, it makes no sense. It leads me to believe that it was maybe a knee-jerk reaction to the economy and also maybe it was a strategy to deal with the negotiations they're getting ready to do with the players and the lockout the owners are talking about."
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:57 AM
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IIRC, a top offensive coordinator like Tom Moore would be making at least 500K, if not 1M. It's hard to imagine giving that up to collect a pension.

This may be another sign that the pie has stopped expanding. It's been years since I've gone to a major league game; I don't expect to go again anytime in the near future. Similarly, the Yankees couldn't sell a bunch of their expensive seats and decided to lower prices.
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:42 PM
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So, this is probably a multiemployer plan, right? Or is this some kind of non-qualified plan?

If it were a multi-employer plan, I'd bet the guy's not quite accurate about getting *no* notice - maybe something more like 15 days?
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:51 PM
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http://www.lifeandhealthinsurancenew...ent-Board.aspx

Quote:
A federal appeals court in northern Georgia has ruled against a law firm’s claim to former NFL players’ retirement benefits, and in favor of an ERISA pension and welfare plan.
A three-member panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed 3-0 to uphold a lower court ruling in favor of The Retirement Board of the Bert Bell/Peter Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, a retirement system for ex-players governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 –- and against attorney Kurt R. Ward, Atlanta, GA.

The Ward Firm brought suit against retired NFL players, Odessa Turner and Marvin Woodson, after they failed to pay a percentage of their retirement benefits in legal fees. After the former players failed to appear in court, Ward was awarded default judgment for all benefits from the Bell/Rozelle Retirement Plan.

The Bell/Rozelle Retirement Board refused to pay Ward based on the plan’s spendthrift provision which provided, “No benefit under the Plan will be subject in any manner to anticipation, pledge, encumbrance, alienation, levy or assignment, nor to seizure, attachment or other legal process for the debts of any Player or beneficiary.”

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Old 06-28-2011, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by limabeanactuary View Post
that law firm should be embarassed for bringing such a silly case.
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:30 AM
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https://sports.yahoo.com/jim-brown-c...162554798.html

Quote:
Jim Brown calls NFL's pension rate 'shockingly, immorally, low'

Spoiler:
Jim Brown is often held up by the NFL as a legendary symbol of the league, but as he wrote in The New York Times on Saturday in a op-ed, his situation is far from the norm.

Brown highlighted what he feels are low pensions for older retired players. For those who retired before 1993, the rate is about $2,500 a month for a player who spent seven years in the league. Brown called it “shockingly, immorally, low.”

Jim Brown: ‘They need a voice’
The 83-year-old Brown said he was fortunate to not be dependent on a pension because of sponsorships and acting gigs he racked up in his post-playing days. Brown, one of the greatest running backs of all time, played for the Cleveland Browns from 1957-65 and has largely remained in the public eye.

But most of his peers are not as famous as him. Many are struggling, living paycheck-to-paycheck while also dealing with concussions and other football-related health issues. Brown is vouching on their behalf for the NFL to do better by those who built the league to where it is today.

“I know too many of these men and their families,” Brown wrote. “They need a voice, one that can be heard over the highlights.”

The “highlights” are a reference to the NFL’s centennial celebration. All season long, clips have been played and “top 10” lists have been made as the league reminisces on its history. But Brown’s point is that for every star player who we still remember as the calendar turns to the 2020 next month, there are countless lineman who blocked for them and sacrificed their bodies.

These people have not been given their due respect by the league, according to Brown:

In football terms, today’s players should remember their blockers. As a running back, I know that you get only as far as the men who take punishment and remove obstacles for you to run. The nameless linemen in highlight reels didn’t block for just me and long-ago stars like Franco Harris and Walter Payton. They blocked for current players, too.

Brown praises NBA
Brown compared the NFL’s situation to that of the NBA, which has a pension amount three times that of the NFL and gives players free health insurance for life. Currently, only those who have played in the league for three seasons are eligible for health benefits — and those only last five years post-retirement. Considering football is a far more physical sport than basketball, Brown’s point stands to reason.

Ultimately, it’s up to the owners, the commissioner and the players association to work to improve how they treat their alumni. Maybe Brown’s op-ed and urging will be a wake-up call.



https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/07/o...d-pension.html
Quote:
Jim Brown: Football Has Forgotten the Men Who Made It Great
While the league makes billions, many retired players are living on shockingly low pensions.


Spoiler:
Turn on any N.F.L. game on Sunday, and you’ll see the league celebrating its 100th season. Thunderous video montages and “Top 10 Tight Ends” specials will exalt football’s history with one clear, though unspoken, message: The appeal and profitability of today’s N.F.L. derives as much from its past as its present.

What the highlights won’t show, however, is how many of the actual human beings in those grainy films — rank-and-file players from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s who helped make the league the $15 billion business it is today — are now, in old age, struggling to make ends meet. The reason is not that their salaries were in the thousands rather than the millions. It’s that their pensions from the league are shockingly, immorally, low.

Most N.F.L. players who retired before 1993 receive a pension of about $365 a month per season they played, meaning that the typical seven-year player gets about $2,500 a month. Thousands get considerably less, and have stories you won’t see on network broadcasts.

One star of those New York Jets’ Super Bowl team videos now lives in a trailer; unable to afford a dentist, he barely has any teeth. A standout lineman from the storied 1970s Minnesota Vikings played 17 years and gets just $2,300 a month (he took some of his pension early). That’s not enough to cover his football-related medical bills, leaving him and his wife living check to check. There are countless more like them.

Now, I am not one of these players. I was fortunate to have second careers, in marketing for PepsiCo and as an actor. But I know too many of these men and their families. They need a voice, one that can be heard over the highlights.

This situation is easily fixed. The N.F.L. and the players union are negotiating a labor agreement that will ultimately split up more than $100 billion — perhaps even $200 billion — in revenue. The money for dignified pensions is there. In fact, according to Fairness for Athletes in Retirement, an advocacy group, less than 1 percent of the revenue from each side, the players’ union and the league, would more than double the current pension for every pre-1993 player for the rest of their lives.

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The question is whether the league and players want to step up for the men on whose knees, shoulders and brains the N.F.L. was built.

Team owners should understand the urgency. They see old players (many of whom they cheered in childhood) on canes at fund-raising events or in wheelchairs at Hall of Fame ceremonies. They know that films about the league’s history and the heavily sponsored 100th-season specials will make a fortune for the teams. And they also know that almost none of the players featured in those videos will get a dime of it. Today’s paltry pensions are the last vestige of the one-sided labor rules in the league before 1993.

The N.F.L. commissioner, Roger Goodell, has said, “Nothing the league can do can ever fully express our appreciation to the players who helped build our league.” I believe he is sincere, but real appreciation would be an appropriate pension.

Current players need more education about the history of their profession. They don’t understand that their seven- and eight-figure salaries exist only because players from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s — who are now in their 60s, 70s and 80s themselves — risked and even sacrificed their careers to fight for basic employment rights that are now taken for granted.

Players of my generation and those who came after me fought to be represented by an agent, to get an independent medical opinion on injuries and to receive severance pay. They had no 401(k) plans or the annuity plans that today give players a total of $2 million as a retirement safety net.

Thousands of players went on strike in 1982 and 1987 to pursue and, eventually, win free agency for future generations of players. Yet today, the sole retirement benefit for these pioneers is a pension check that is less than what today’s average player makes per snap.

In football terms, today’s players should remember their blockers. As a running back, I know that you get only as far as the men who take punishment and remove obstacles for you to run. The nameless linemen in highlight reels didn’t block for just me and long-ago stars like Franco Harris and Walter Payton. They blocked for current players, too.

The National Basketball Association understands this. The N.B.A. has pensions that are three times the N.F.L.’s, and in 2017 the N.B.A. and its players agreed that every player, whether from 1966, 2006 or 2019, would receive the same pension amount — and free health insurance for life.

Chris Paul, the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard who is president of the basketball players’ union, put it this way: “The game has never before been more popular, and all the players in our league today recognize that we’re only in this position because of the hard work and dedication of the men who came before us. It’s important that we take care of our entire extended N.B.A. family.”

Professional football is a wonderful sport, and I hope it’s around forever. But the men who built it will not be. About 100 die every year, and many of them are struggling because their primary employer, one that is now awash in cash, chooses to give them barely any pension.

When you watch the 100th-season highlight packages, look for those blockers. The players may be remembered. But the men are forgotten.

Jim Brown, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was a running back for the Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965.


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