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Now, THIS is a powerful message (Wallace Matthews Column today)

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Blog Is My Co-Pilot, Jan 31, 2007.

  1. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Another angry columnist who hasn't taken the time to understand the issue about which he's writing. The NFL, not the union, is the only party in a position to help these long-retired players. Labor unions have a fiduciary responsibility to bargain only for their current members. That said, the NFL should try to figure out how to help these former players. The NFLPA, because it has been an historically weak union, was never in position to bargain strong retirement benefits while these guys were active.
  2. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I really don't see why Newsday thought its readers needed this column after having already read Shaun Powell's piece a day earlier:


    Here's what, in my opinion, makes Powell such a great columnist. He spun a tale about John Mackey and put it into a larger context without:

    A.) Expressing contrived moral outrage

    B.) Treating his readers like retards by having that all-important paragraph stating the obvious: Hey, folks, by the way, this is a bad thing.

    C.) Assuming the role of expert on society's shortcomings

    D.) Expressing naive shock that these conditions exist, which would make him seem even dumber than the aforementioned retarded readers

    E.) Injecting himself into the column

    Now this is how Powell, a black man, concisely handled the topic of the two black coaches a week earlier:

    Oh, yeah: Both are black, which, surely by now, you've heard.

    Plenty of folks already are sick of the racial implications here, but those people didn't grow up black in the 1950s. Nor are those people trying to get coaching jobs in the NFL as black men.

    Venture into any urban barber shop in this country and there's only one topic du jour, just as it was in 1988 with Doug Williams. This is a big deal to a race of people weary of seeing white men hold all the influential jobs in this country. To everyone else, it's a tired topic they wish would go away.

    And as soon as we see more black general managers and coaches and team presidents, it will.
  3. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    I ran that story. It just spoke to me when I came across it.
  4. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    It's not so much that the NFLPA doesn't want to talk about those things without reason--everyone knows about the former players who are cripples and there have been plenty of stories about former players in need being stonewalled by the NFLPA, with the stories about Mike Webster's troubles coming immediately to mind. It's the way collective bargaining has been set up, that's the problem. It pits the current players against the former players. Except only the current players have a vote.

    Upshaw isn't stupid. He has a multimillion dollar salary and it's at the pleasure of the current players, not the former players. And any dollar out of the collectively-bargained pie that goes to former players comes out of the pocket of the current players, who could give a rats ass about a bunch of former players. Upshaw is just doing what he's been hired to do. Since he's a former player and these are his peers he's screwing, you can argue whether that makes him a whore, but if it isn't him, someone else would be doing the exact same thing.
  5. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    shaun powell, as i've noted before, is perhaps the most underrated columnist in the country. wally's column was piling on, but he does one of these "nfl-is-the-devil-i'm-going-to-expose" deals every super bowl. that way, he doesn't have to write about the teams or the game.

    my question: wouldn't everyone, including himself, been better served if wally had sunk his teeth into the tank johnson issue? newsday just did a story on tank, when wally could've hammered the league he loves to hammer while also addressing something game-related.

    oh, maybe that's for tomorrow....
  6. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Honestly, no. Nothing he could have attacked on Wednesday of Super Bowl week would have served anyone better than this.
  7. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    All collective bargaining is set up this way. A member could conceivably sue his union (and win) if it is determined that a union was splitting its allegiance between its members and another group such as retirees.
  8. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    The "NFL is the Devil " angle has been around forever. It never seems to get legs. As Shockey said you get a once a year column and everyone nods in agreement then nothing.

    If not a columnist then some former disgruntled player does a book co written by a columnist. Out of Their League comes to mind by Dave Meggesy .
  9. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, but it doesn't have to be that way. If the league and the PA were in agreement about former players' health being a priority, they could address it before even negotiating. They've done that in other areas, in which they have set aside money before it became part of the pie they divide up. The NFL Youth Fund immediately comes to mind. They could certainly do it with a former players' fund--if it was a priority. Instead they leave it to the union to take care of its former players, and without the former players having any say, is it any surprise they get screwed?

    If the current players are too shortsighted to realize that most of them are going to be former players in 3 years, why should Joe Fan give a shit?
  10. Montezuma's Revenge

    Montezuma's Revenge Active Member

    Agree with Frank and shockey. I've often said Powell is one of most underappreciated columnists around, and Frank did a good job of articulating a lot of the reasons. He writes smart, interesting columns, time after time.
  11. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Well, yes, it does have to be set up this way. Its a protection (well-understood in labor/human resource circles) that ensures union members that there's no conflict of interest in the union's dealings on their behalf.

    Well, yes, it does have to be set up this way. It's a protection (well-understood in labor and human resource circles) that ensures union members that there's no conflict of interest in the union's dealings on their behalf.
  12. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I just asked someone in the know, because I was speaking out of school. They actually have a form of the system I was calling for, with a major problem attached to it. The money in the disability fund does get set aside jointly by the league and the players. But there are six members who sit on the board, and the closest thing the former players have to representation, are the three seats held by the union--which is only beholden to the current players, not former players. They actually have more than a billion dollars in the fund, but they fight every payout tooth and nail. The lawyer who contests all of the claims is hired by the union.

    The solution would be for the league and the union to agree to set aside the money and then allow an independent arbitrator to administer it. That is absolutely doable and does not represent any kind of conflict of interest. It's just not something the NFL or NFLPA would ever agree to.
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