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Do no harm: Who should bear the costs of retired NFL players’ medical bills?
Washington Post ^ | 5/9/13 | Sally Jenkins and Rick Maese

Posted on 05/10/2013 4:15:58 PM PDT by Huntress

After 24 knee operations, the National Football League’s former Man of the Year leans heavily on a crutch. When Reggie Williams pulls up his pants leg, what’s underneath looks like the trimmings from a butcher shop. His right leg is so ravaged that it’s three inches shorter than his left. Worse, it’s uninsured.

Once, Williams was the NFL’s high ideal. From 1976 to 1989 he was a spring-legged linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals who set franchise records and played in two Super Bowls. Off the field, he was a civic-minded Dartmouth graduate who won humanitarian awards and served as a city councilman while he was still playing. He was so loyal to the game that he was a pallbearer at legendary team founder Paul Brown’s funeral. He would even be invited to apply for the job of NFL commissioner.

But now, Williams and his battered legs amount to a bill no one wants to pay. Since 2005 Williams, 58, has suffered a cascade of health problems he says stem from his 14-year football career, including multiple knee replacements and a bone infection, which he estimates have cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Williams says he is unable to qualify for most NFL disability benefits, and the Bengals — the only team for whom he played — are opposing him in a workers’ compensation claim that would provide for his medical care. These tedious battles have transformed him from a league champion into a critic. “All they’ve done is fought me on everything,” he says, “including even sending me a Band-Aid.”

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Sports
KEYWORDS: football; nfl
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Whoever pays, it should NOT be the taxpayers.
1 posted on 05/10/2013 4:15:58 PM PDT by Huntress
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To: Huntress

The NFL and NFLPA should step up and support these players.

There isn’t a legal requirement, but a billion dollar a year business should do more for these guys.


2 posted on 05/10/2013 4:17:47 PM PDT by rwilson99 (Please tell me how the words "shall not perish and have everlasting life" would NOT apply to Mary.)
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To: Huntress

Oh, Good God.... These players make exponentially more than 99% of everyone else. How about a little self-responsibility?


3 posted on 05/10/2013 4:18:06 PM PDT by ScottinVA ( Liberal is to patriotism as Kermit Gosnell is to neonatal care.)
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To: Huntress

All NFL employees, coaches, players, etc. should pay into an insurance pool out of those large pay packages.

Players would pay a higher rate since they are more prone to injuries.

Too simple?


4 posted on 05/10/2013 4:20:23 PM PDT by SaxxonWoods (....Let It Burn....)
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To: Huntress
Agreed.

I do, however, think the NFL has at least a moral responsibility to help the players who sacrificed their health for the sport. They certainly have the means. During this man's career professional football became the most popular spectator sport in the country and the league and owners became very wealthy.

5 posted on 05/10/2013 4:21:05 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: Huntress

um... Obamacare?


6 posted on 05/10/2013 4:21:37 PM PDT by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama lied .. the economy died.)
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To: Huntress
why is it not workers comp???
7 posted on 05/10/2013 4:21:43 PM PDT by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Huntress

The Owners get rich off these guys. Let the Owners pay.


8 posted on 05/10/2013 4:24:21 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: ScottinVA

I agree with you.


9 posted on 05/10/2013 4:25:50 PM PDT by beandog (All Aboard the Choo Choo Train to Crazy Town)
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To: Huntress
Who should bear the costs of retired NFL players’ medical bills?

Duh -- either the player, team, or league, depending on what the contract said that they signed when they became players.

10 posted on 05/10/2013 4:29:19 PM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Huntress

How much money did Reggie Williams earn during his long career?

It’s certain that it is much more than what the average working stiff made who had to take care of his own medical bills.


11 posted on 05/10/2013 4:30:45 PM PDT by 353FMG ( I do not say whether I am serious or sarcastic -- I respect FReepers too much.)
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To: ScottinVA

My God! You wanna know what’s wrong with this country????!!!!! Look at some of these dumbass posts (other than yours, which is 100% correct). On a CONSERVATIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! website, half the posters think highly paid football players are entitled to welfare!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are screwed!!!!!


12 posted on 05/10/2013 4:31:42 PM PDT by Doctor 2Brains
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To: Huntress
They were paid millions of dollars a season when they were playing?

They can foot their own bills.

13 posted on 05/10/2013 4:32:37 PM PDT by grobdriver
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To: rwilson99
"There isn’t a legal requirement, but a billion dollar a year business should do more for these guys."

That may be, and for PR reasons they may do just that...but...these guys are payed very well, they know the risks, they make their choices...now, because they their poor choices are catching up with them...they need more from others. Sorry, I may appear heartless, but excrement occurs.

14 posted on 05/10/2013 4:35:14 PM PDT by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: SaxxonWoods

All NFL employees, coaches, players, etc. should pay into an insurance pool out of those large pay packages.

Players would pay a higher rate since they are more prone to injuries.


Sure, in the future, but not retroactively. Sorry, but these guys get the best of medical care while in pro sports and the finest of creature comforts. And it seems to me they know going in the injury risks they face.


15 posted on 05/10/2013 4:36:17 PM PDT by ScottinVA ( Liberal is to patriotism as Kermit Gosnell is to neonatal care.)
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To: Doctor 2Brains

Damn right...


16 posted on 05/10/2013 4:36:40 PM PDT by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: rwilson99

“On the refinery subject, I have always wondered why the Iranians pissed away so much money on Nuclear war when they could have built their own refinery.”

They make millions. I think they should handle it themselves.


17 posted on 05/10/2013 4:36:53 PM PDT by Gen.Blather
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To: Huntress

Hmm. So let me get this straight. The players work hard to be good at their sport. What drives them, I assume, is the dream to be a pro some day. And what fuels that dream is all the big money they’ll make. So they make it to the pros. They make millions of dollars — by VOLUNTARILY participating in an occupation that they know will damage their bodies — and after they rake in their millions, they want someone else to pay for the injuries they sustained under their own volition.

Sound like a bunch of unionized Victim-ists to me.

My response? Pay your own bills.


18 posted on 05/10/2013 4:39:28 PM PDT by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (Prepare for survival.)
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To: Doctor 2Brains

Hey, half of FR screamed that principles didn’t matter and voted for Romney. then rah rah Ted Cruz for being a man of principle.

You expect consistency?


19 posted on 05/10/2013 4:43:07 PM PDT by Norm Lenhart
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To: Doctor 2Brains

Are you trying to rob the market on exclamation points from Michael Savage?


20 posted on 05/10/2013 4:43:49 PM PDT by Cyber Liberty (I am a dissident. Will you join me? My name is John....)
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To: Huntress

Hello - isn’t that part of the sport? You choose to play a game for a living that involves intense physical contact, you get paid a salary that is more than the majority of their average fans... then plan for that. Put money back for that.

A fellow that was a couple of years behind me in high school, eventually went on to have a pretty successful career in the NFL. I remember when he was drafted, he pursued all sorts of insurance policies to insure his future against injuries and other troubles that can come from the game. The insurance is out there. It’s expensive (but so is insurance for someone who is extremely obese and also engages in extremely unsafe activities).

It seems strange that Williams would not have been advised to take out such insurance. Or maybe he did and this report
doesn’t tell the “rest of the story”?

Regardless - I am just waiting for someone to suggest the government bail him and others out...


21 posted on 05/10/2013 4:43:51 PM PDT by TheBattman (Isn't the lesser evil... still evil?)
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To: ScottinVA

I think that is a fair question....Reggie, what happened to all the money you got paid?

You knew that football was a high risk/high reward endeavor. Didn’t you plan anything for life after football. Didn’t you acquire any other skills while in college? Something ? Anything ?

We appreciate your humanitarian work, but you should have been more prudent with your altruism and how you were going to finance that. A good job with decent insurance would cover these problems or is working a 2080 hour day job beneath you?


22 posted on 05/10/2013 4:46:20 PM PDT by Ouderkirk (The Government is actively preparing to go to War with a significant portion of its own Citizens.)
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To: Huntress

Destroying your body for financial gain is stupid and irresponsible.

I don’t feel even a little sorry for these players.


23 posted on 05/10/2013 4:47:18 PM PDT by EricT. (Another Muslim terrorist. Who saw that coming?)
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To: ScottinVA

Looking at typical salaries... he earned about 90K a year for about 13 years. Chances are you will make more over the course of your career.

Anyway, this is on the league and the union to do the right thing.


24 posted on 05/10/2013 4:47:40 PM PDT by rwilson99 (Please tell me how the words "shall not perish and have everlasting life" would NOT apply to Mary.)
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To: Huntress

The fans.


25 posted on 05/10/2013 4:48:18 PM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: 353FMG

He probably made in the neighborhood of 1.4 Million... average salaries where less than 100k when he entered the league.


26 posted on 05/10/2013 4:48:50 PM PDT by rwilson99 (Please tell me how the words "shall not perish and have everlasting life" would NOT apply to Mary.)
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To: rwilson99
There isn’t a legal requirement, but a billion dollar a year business should do more for these guys.

That's why players have agents and contracts.........

With that being said, as expected, we only have Reggie's side of the story

27 posted on 05/10/2013 4:49:27 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (This space for rent)
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To: Gen.Blather

Not in the 70s and 80s.


28 posted on 05/10/2013 4:49:32 PM PDT by rwilson99 (Please tell me how the words "shall not perish and have everlasting life" would NOT apply to Mary.)
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To: rwilson99
Do these players have any personal responsibility for their physical conditions now if they took steroids and/or other drugs since high school? Why blame it all on the NFL?

The lawyers are going to get rich and NFL football as we know it will be ruined.

Explain? Tony Mandrich.

29 posted on 05/10/2013 4:53:26 PM PDT by Jean S
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To: Doctor 2Brains

Most of the posts on here are pretty conservative, the owners and players pay. There was one funny sarc comment about ObamaCare paying

You should be upset with NFL owners making money playing in Taxpayer funded stadiums. The welfare receiving owners should take some responsibility. Or, is Business Socialism OK with you?

No sympathy for NFL owners who get our tax dollars for their stadiums (except the Redskins and Dolphins...who play in privately owned stadium....er maybe not Dolphins....they just begged the state of FL for a taxpayer funded stadium)


30 posted on 05/10/2013 4:54:39 PM PDT by SeminoleCounty (GOP - Greenlighting Obama's Programs)
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To: ScottinVA

The injuries are work related and are a responsibility of the employer.

The players are being paid market rate for the value they bring to the business, not for the long term health effects of the work they do.

Because the employers have refused to do what is right their business is going to end as we know it before much longer.


31 posted on 05/10/2013 4:56:47 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do ithat when I have a fire.)
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To: Doctor 2Brains

So oil field workers injured on the job should have to cover their own medical costs?


32 posted on 05/10/2013 4:57:57 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do ithat when I have a fire.)
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To: 353FMG

You sound jealous, perhaps we should redistribute the money more evenly.


33 posted on 05/10/2013 4:58:19 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do ithat when I have a fire.)
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To: colorado tanker

You mean the same league that has teams strong-arming cities to spend $hundreds of millions (or billions now!) on new stadiums, even though the teams and the owners make huge sums of profit, and the NFL itself that makes huge profits... yet wants taxpayers to foot the bills for every other aspect...

yeah - that’s gonna happen.


34 posted on 05/10/2013 4:58:53 PM PDT by TheBattman (Isn't the lesser evil... still evil?)
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To: ScottinVA

“Oh, Good God.... These players make exponentially more than 99% of everyone else. How about a little self-responsibility?”

No kidding. They knew the risks. They accepted the risks in order to make fame and fortune. ‘Nuff said.


35 posted on 05/10/2013 4:59:08 PM PDT by ought-six ( Multiculturalism is national suicide, and political correctness is the cyanide capsule.)
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To: SaxxonWoods

What a concept - a co-op to share the risks. Seems to logical. Especially when they can cry to other people and try to force them (taxpayers) to foot the bill.

high-rent leeches.


36 posted on 05/10/2013 4:59:40 PM PDT by TheBattman (Isn't the lesser evil... still evil?)
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To: hinckley buzzard
"The Owners get rich off these guys. Let the Owners pay."

You've almost got it right. Actually, these guys got rich off the owners, they should have a little responsibility to buy themselves insurance.

37 posted on 05/10/2013 5:01:20 PM PDT by norwaypinesavage (Galileo: In science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of one individual)
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To: driftdiver

They were paid market rate for hte value they bring to the business, that is true. But ... did the contracts they signed stipulate medical care coverage? If not, why not? Yet they signed the contracts anyway. Sounds to me their respective agents should’ve pursued that little detail.

And..their medical care they received with their respective teams is far and away what common folk receive.


38 posted on 05/10/2013 5:03:46 PM PDT by ScottinVA ( Liberal is to patriotism as Kermit Gosnell is to neonatal care.)
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To: Huntress

“The recipient of an academic scholarship”...to an IVY LEAGUE school, none the less...

Did football knock his brains loose???


39 posted on 05/10/2013 5:03:50 PM PDT by TheBattman (Isn't the lesser evil... still evil?)
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To: rwilson99
Looking at typical salaries... he earned about 90K a year for about 13 years. Chances are you will make more over the course of your career.

From 1976 to 1989. That's a huge chunk o' change back then. That's the equivalent of the high-100s now. If it's so important, why didn't the players have language put into their contracts to cover them?

40 posted on 05/10/2013 5:07:28 PM PDT by ScottinVA ( Liberal is to patriotism as Kermit Gosnell is to neonatal care.)
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To: TheBattman

There is some litigation going on now that may force the NFL to take care of cases like this. Frankly, I think it’s shameful the players’ association didn’t do more for the retirees in their last contract, but I guess that would have taken away from their pot.


41 posted on 05/10/2013 5:08:06 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: SeminoleCounty

By what bizarre leap do you suppose that my not being in favor of welfare for players means I’m in favor of welfare for owners?


42 posted on 05/10/2013 5:08:20 PM PDT by Doctor 2Brains
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To: Huntress

Play college ball. Earn a college degree. When the body can’t cut it anymore, the degree is the backup plan. I know that is what I have always heard preached.


43 posted on 05/10/2013 5:09:27 PM PDT by petitfour
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To: driftdiver

I should not have to pay, and the owners should not have to pay unless they agree to. It’s called freedom. If a worker can get his owner to agree to pay that’s fine, if the owner does not agree to pay, and the worker is injured, then that’s the way it goes. It’s a freedom thing.


44 posted on 05/10/2013 5:10:23 PM PDT by Doctor 2Brains
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To: ScottinVA

I don’t know what the contracts say. As far as I know it doesn’t matter. They are doing a job and if they get hurt at that job its the employers responsibility.

I’m sure its not that clear cut since the owners have so many lawyers but I know I’m responsible for any employee or contractor who works for me.

The medical care they receive from the team is primarily focused on keeping the on the field, not their overall health.


45 posted on 05/10/2013 5:12:12 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do ithat when I have a fire.)
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To: Doctor 2Brains

Thanks..

What people are forgetting is... these players sign contracts to deliver a product.. that product being a certain level of performance on a football field. They owed themselves and their families the foresight of stipulating that all medical care pertaining to football injuries be covered on their compensation package, or at least a stipend paid to an account that would be tapped later.

I’m not buying... nor with I ever buy.. that ex-players are somehow owed something they didn’t negotiate for in the first place.


46 posted on 05/10/2013 5:14:03 PM PDT by ScottinVA ( Liberal is to patriotism as Kermit Gosnell is to neonatal care.)
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To: Doctor 2Brains

Notice I said the employer was responsible, not the taxpayer.

I don’t have a choice whether to pay for my injured employees, why the hell should these billionaires have a choice?

I guess you think the elites in our society should have special rights.


47 posted on 05/10/2013 5:14:39 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do ithat when I have a fire.)
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To: driftdiver

Your reading comprehension is a bit lacking. I never said you should have to pay, and rich owners should get a better deal. Perhaps you are responding to another post.

I never addressed your situation at all, but now I will—you absolutely should NOT have to do ANYTHING EVER FOR ANY OF YOUR EMPLOYEES that you do not freely agree to in a private setting. That the law apparently requires you to do so, is a very bad thing.


48 posted on 05/10/2013 5:17:36 PM PDT by Doctor 2Brains
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To: driftdiver
I don’t know what the contracts say. As far as I know it doesn’t matter.

No... you don't know, nor do I.. but those players, their agents and lawyers do.

They are doing a job and if they get hurt at that job its the employers responsibility.

And they receive appropriate treatment for injuries pertaining to the job. Not sure how that's the problem here.

The medical care they receive from the team is primarily focused on keeping the on the field, not their overall health.

What law stipulates the NFL or the team is required to provide long-term care, when language doesn't exist in the contract? Apparently none.

49 posted on 05/10/2013 5:18:24 PM PDT by ScottinVA ( Liberal is to patriotism as Kermit Gosnell is to neonatal care.)
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To: ScottinVA

“What law stipulates the NFL or the team is required to provide long-term care, when language doesn’t exist in the contract? Apparently none.”

Workers Comp law, the same one that covers you at work. In Florida its chapter 440. Heck I own the company and had an incredibly difficult time not having to pay for myself. The only people exempt are officers of the company and only if they file the proper paperwork.


50 posted on 05/10/2013 5:22:43 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do ithat when I have a fire.)
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