Grant Feasel – Seattle Seahawks
Another all-too-familiar story on the long-term impact of concussions. Over the years, we’ve chronicled so many stories of the damage not only to the players but on their families during and after their careers in football. And – as always – the general lack of empathy and support from the League and its owners. Once you’re gone, you’re history.
Most of you know that football has never really been high on my list of priorities. But as I got more involved with the retired players and the fight for their earned benefits over the years, I was in absolute disbelief as an outsider at the complete disregard for the survival of those older players who need help the most. As a non-fan, I heard so many sad stories from senior players of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s era who were actually paid very little to help build this sport into the $13 billion industry it is today (and still growing). And even today, the majority of fans still have no idea that this continues for most of these older players (one more reason the NFL never wanted the concussion lawsuit to go to trial).
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ve seen the endless stories and documentation of how most of these men have been given absolutely no benefits for their sacrifices to the sport they loved. And at one of our Conferences, we even had a panel of wives (and ex-wives) who talked about the never-ending battles against a greedy employer who has done everything to fight and deny legitimate applications for their disability and pension benefits (from back in 2013 – click HERE to read and watch). And it wasn’t just the League; even their union, the NFLPA – especially in the Upshaw years – helped to make sure that nearly 95% of retired players were historically denied those earned benefits. Denials may have dropped to 90% under current PA Executive Director deMaurice Smith but the majority of retired players are still left on their own, from years of working in what is probably one of the most physically-demanding jobs in America. If it was any other job – construction, mining, firefighting – you know their union would have stood up for them.