Pro Football Hall of Famers may boycott Canton until NFL gives insurance

Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

The Hall of Famers want to make sure they receive health insurance, plus an annual salary that comes from the league's revenue.

ESPN obtained a copy of the memo sent to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker. It was signed by board members Lawrence Taylor, Joe Namath, Curtis Martin, Marcus Allen, Mel Blount, Derrick Brooks, Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, Richard Dent, Carl Eller, Marshall Faulk, Mike Haynes, Rickey Jackson, Ronnie Lott, John Randle, Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Jackie Smith, Kurt Warner and Sarah White, Reggie White's widow.

The Hall of Famers say they are intent on not taking away from the recent announcement of Pro Football Hall of Fame nominees but also point out that next year's induction ceremony will be part of the NFL's celebration of its 100th anniversary in 2020, a particularly high-profile time for some of the game's greatest to boycott the enshrinement weekend.

"We believe we deserve more", the letter said. "But from our own experience, and in speaking with other retired players, we know that such bureaucracies have proven to be little more than cynical public relations ploys that fail to help those who desperately need it". The inductees argue that health insurance for every Pro Football Hall of Famer would cost about 3 cents for every $100 the league earns, while an annual salary would cost about 40 cents per $100 in revenue.

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"More than a few of us don't even know who or where we are", the letter reads. "A player employed on a roster for 43 days gets a lifelong pension".

The Hall of Famers say the league's marketing slogan of "Football is Family" needs to ring true. Our long careers left us especially vulnerable to the dangers of this violent sport, especially those intentionally hidden from us. One such group that has been largely ignored by the league is former NFL players. It also raised the subject of the construction of a $1 billion Hall of Fame Village in Canton, Ohio.

The protesting Hall of Famers see that as a key date. The question now becomes, will Goodell and Co. give in to these demands, or let the the Hall of Famers pout and skip future ceremonies?

"The NFL is notorious for the hard line it takes against players in negotiations".

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