Pro Football Hall of Famers threaten to boycott Canton until NFL gives insurance
Eric Dickerson led a sizeable group of Pro Football Hall of Famers in sending a letter to the NFL, NFLPA and Hall of Fame saying they would boycott future induction ceremonies in Canton, Ohio, unless they are given health insurance and a share of league revenue.
Dickerson identified himself as the chairman of the new Hall of Fame Board, and fellow signees included the likes of Jerry Rice, Lawrence Taylor, Kurt Warner, Joe Namath, Jim Brown and Reggie White’s widow, Sarah White.
The letter accuses the NFL of ignoring the needs of retired players who “were integral to the creation of the modern NFL.”
“As a group we are struggling with severe health and financial problems,” the letter read. “To build this game, we sacrificed our bodies. In many cases, and despite the fact that we were led to believe otherwise, we sacrificed our minds. We believe we deserve more. We write to demand two things: Health insurance and annual salary for all Hall of Famers that includes a share of league revenue.”
The letter claims the total cost of providing health insurance for every living Hall of Famer would be less than $4 million, though it’s unclear if that is per year or for a lifetime. It also does not claim the league owes the same things to non-Hall of Fame players.
“It’s well-known that the NFL is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020, and while we are proud of our role in building this league, we don’t believe 100 years of player exploitation is something to celebrate,” the letter read. “As we approach this momentous date, we challenge the NFL to honor its past by helping retired players instead of exploiting their images for marketing purposes.”