NFL Hall of Famers threaten boycott over insurance, salaries

Several NFL Hall of Fame (HOF) enshrinees have sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in which they make several demands.  The players threaten to boycott the annual HOF induction ceremony unless they receive health insurance and an annual salary that is based, in part, on the league's revenue. 

The letter was sent by the executive director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, and Pro Football Hall of Fame President C. David Baker.  It was signed by several hall of famers, including Eric Dickerson, who serves as the chairman of the newly formed Hall of Fame Board, and members such as Jim Brown, Marshall Faulk, Ronnie Lott, Joe Namath, Jerry Rice and Kurt Warner.  In total, 21 players signed the letter, which also included the signature of Sarah White, widow of Reggie White. 

The letter reads, in part, "We, the undersigned Pro Football Hall of Famers, were integral to the creation of the modern NFL, which in 2017 generated $14 billion in revenue.  But when the league enshrined us as the greatest ever to play America's most popular sport, they gave us a gold jacket, a bust and a ring -- and that was it.

They continued, "People know us from our highlight reels. They see us honored and mythologized before games and at halftime, and it would be reasonable if they thought life was good for us. But on balance, it's not. As a group we are struggling with severe health and financial problems. 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 also questions the $40 million given to Goodell as an annual salary and the $1 billion being spent for the Hall of Fame Village in Canton, OH.  The players call out the decisions, saying, "Meanwhile, many of us Hall of Fame players can't walk and many can't sleep at night.  More than a few of us don't even know who or where we are. Our long careers left us especially vulnerable to the dangers of this violent sport, especially those intentionally hidden from us. Commissioner Goodell, there are better uses for that money."

Goodell has yet to respond to the letter, which was just sent today.

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