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. ESPN's Arash Markazi obtained a copy of a letter that was sent to the National Football League, the Players Association and the Hall of Fame.
In two separate statements released later on Tuesday, Warner said that he wasn't aware of the letter and his signature was "mistakenly attached" while Rice said he is not a member of a Hall of Fame board of directors, which is what the players' names were listed under at the end of the letter. "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". "As the legends of the game's past, we deserve nothing less".
The NFL earned an estimated $14 billion in revenue during its 2017 league year, according to multiple reports, more than any of the four major USA sports leagues.
"More than a few of us don't even know who or where we are", the letter reads.
"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", the letter said. "Yet the league always seems to have plenty of money for other priorities", the letter said, noting that Goodell earns $40 million annually under the terms of his recent contract extension.
It claims that every Hall of Famer could be insured for less than $4 million.
At least, that's what several members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame are threatening to do.
"The time has come for us to be treated as part of a game we've given so much to", the letter states. 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.
While the board is planning to boycott next year's induction ceremony for just reasons, I can't help but wonder how this isn't viewed as at least a little bit hypocritical given that Terrell Owens boycotted his own ceremony and some Hall of Famers were so upset that they wanted it to stop ceremony boycotts before they became a trend.