NFL Players Retirement

Take It And Like It And Don’t Blog About It

The NFLPA does not want to hear any complaints about its pension policy from retired players.

Freedom of expression. It sounds good on paper, especially when that paper is the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately for retired NFL players, that privilege is being taken away.

Apparently, many retired players have been keeping blogs (news to me) that contain a lot of posts about inadequacies with how the NFLPA treats former players. A memo that was sent out by the NFLPA’s director of retired players on March 30 declares that “any retired chapter deemed guilty of conduct detrimental to the union’s best interests” can be dissolved by the union and that chapter’s president may be removed [NFLPA rebukes critical retirees]. It may be interpreted that this was a direct strike at knocking down the blogs.

First of all, as a blog writer/editor myself, I am very angered by this event. I believe that everyone has the right to express their opinions. While the NFLPA is a union, and no one has a right to be a part of it, I think that this measure is way too restrictive in its nature. Retired players flatly think that the current pension benefits suck. Let them speak their mind.

With the NFLPA lending a blind eye to its retired players, there is an even greater cause to demand agent action early in one’s career. Agents need to be influential in planning a player’s post-sport career early in their clients’ lives. Once retired, clients may continue to need assistance from their agents. It is sad that the NFLPA seems to not care about its retired members enough to even let them voice their own opinions. As agents, we must always keep our ears open and listen to any problems that our clients may be experiencing. This is one area that the NFL needs to improve upon.

-Darren Heitner

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.