A group of Pro Football Hall of Famers threatened the NFL on Tuesday, sending a scathing letter to the league where they demanded a lifetime salary and health insurance for all inductees. Until their demands are met, the letter states, the signees will boycott the annual induction ceremony.
What does the letter say?
The letter states, "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 an annual salary for all Hall of Famers that includes a share of league revenue."
The signees go on to make their case, saying, "It might seem like a lot, but it's a drop in the bucket for the country's most profitable sports league."
The letter then points to the disparity between how NFL Hall of Famers are treated in comparison to retired baseball players.
"The mistreatment of NFL Hall of Famers, who are often exploited as unpaid ambassadors of the sport, contrasts with how Major League Baseball treats its former players," the letter states. "A baseball player who has appeared on a Major League roster for one day is entitled to health insurance for the rest of his life. A player employed on a roster for 43 days gets a lifelong pension."
After stating that the signees would not attend the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony until their demands are met, the letter added, "To be clear, we don't want our efforts to detract from the latest announcement of Hall of Fame nominees, men we are proud to call brothers."
Did all the signees agree with this letter?
The letter is signed by Eric Dickerson, chairman of the Hall of Fame Board, and lists board members including Marcus Allen, Joe Namath, Marshall Faulk, Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders and Kurt Warner.
But apparently not all of the signees listed on the letter gave the go-ahead to be included.
Kurt Warner tweeted out a statement after the letter was released, saying that he "was not made aware of this letter and [his] name was mistakenly attached to it."
My comments on HOF benefits letter being circulated today: pic.twitter.com/JKU2X5lCIs
— Kurt Warner (@kurt13warner) September 18, 2018
Jerry Rice responded to the letter by clarifying on Twitter that he is "not part of a players' Hall of Fame board of directors as referenced in a letter earlier today." Rice went on to say, "I plan to support the Pro Football Hall of Fame and look forward to attending the 100th anniversary in 2020."
— jerryrice (@JerryRice) September 18, 2018
Dickerson took responsibility for what he called a "miscommunication with Kurt Warner and Jerry Rice," slamming the league for "pitting players against each other." He further clarified that the board "would like to represent all Hall of Famers and retired players in [their] negotiations with the NFL."
— Eric Dickerson (@EricDickerson) September 19, 2018
On Wednesday, Dickerson told TMZ Sports, "If it was up to me, I think every Hall of Famer would get about $300,000 a year. I think that would be a proper number."
TMZ reported that Dickerson eventually wants all former players to receive a six-figure salary and health care in retirement.