A few weeks ago a senior producer from ESPN called me after seeing my post that I wrote the day before Media Day during Superbowl Week, Super Bowl teams in the spotlight, NFL retirees in the background. We talked for about 45 minutes as I gave him some background on the NFL Players Association negotiated benefit program in the context of ERISA and the Taft-Hartley Act. At the end of our conversation, I made the observation that the real battle was not the legal one, but rather a PR one.
And now that PR battle for the hearts and minds of NFL fans as leverage to increase benefits for the retired players is heating up. The Bears Hall of Famer, Mike Ditka and Packers great, Jerry Kramer (who many say should be), are teaming up to fight for the retirees. They held an auction last Thursday at Ditka’s restaurant in Chicago to raise money and continue to pester both the league and the Players Association to "do what’s right".
Both of them are extremely media savvy so stay tuned. This issue isn’t going away.