The current state of the NFLPA Retired Players Department has left many retirees looking for representation elsewhere. In recent years the membership of many chapters of the NFL Retired Players Association has dropped dramatically. Less than 175 of the NFL’s 13,000 retirees attended the NFLPA Retired Players Convention in Puerto Rico in 2008. This has led to many retirees questioning the relevance of the organization. Andre Collins, the director of the retired players department of the NFLPA, did not attend a single session of the three week class action trial regarding retired player licensing. Also absent was NFLPA Retired Players Steering Committee President Jean Fugett.
The NFLPA has stated that every dollar that goes to retirees comes from the pockets of today’s active players. This has lead to what many perceive as an adversarial relationship between NFL retirees and current players. The Retired Players Department at the NFLPA offices has done little to create a relationship between today’s and yesterday’s players. Many retirees feel that if they had a forum to discuss these issues with current players that it would be a positive for both groups.
Retired Players Steering Committee President Jean Fugett will attend the active players annual meeting in Hawaii next weekend. Fugett will appear to represent the NFL’s 13,000 retirees. In reality, Fugett only represents the less than 175 NFLPA Retired Players members who voted in the Steering Committee election in Puerto Rico.
During his trip to Hawaii, Fugett has said he will not discuss the current lack of communication between active and retired players. Nor will he discuss the possibility of resolving the retired players class action lawsuit as several steering committee members and chapter presidents have requested.
Fugett will not carry the message of the majority of NFL retirees to the active players in Hawaii. Active players should realize that while Fugett speaks in Hawaii he is representing roughly one percent of the NFL retired player population.
The relationship between active and retired players needs to improve. Open, uncensored communication is the first step in the healing process.
The speech Fugett gave to active players in 2008 can be viewed by clicking HERE.