Why should I become a former player member of the NFLPA?
What our members are saying:
•I get to stay actively engaged with my former teammates. I can leverage the network to help me be more successful in life beyond football.
•I can use the resources available to re-purpose my skills, experience, work ethic and knowledge so they can reach their full potential
•I can stay connected with my fraternity of fellow players, just like I did when I was playing.
•I can gain KNOWLEDGE with a PLAYBOOK on how to transition to the next stage of life, so that I will feel empowered and fully capable of achieving success, just like I did in achieving success in football.
What the FPSD offers:
•Networking opportunities with peers, experts, professionals.
•Connection with peers: magazine, events, website, social media.
•Link to other former players for business opportunities.
•Helping hand through PAF/Trust.
•Promotion of business/community activities to help players stand out
•Opportunities to stay connected with kids, charities and fans.
•Lifetime of advocacy and empowerment for our players.
How are former players represented/their voices heard by the NFLPA?
In 1984, the NFLPA established the Former Player Services Department (FPSD) to provide an active voice within the organization for all former professional football players. As a former player, you have an entire department at the NFLPA dedicated to your needs. Your voice and active participation are emphasized in the NFLPA mission statement:
"We, the National Football League Players Association, pay homage to our predecessors for their courage, sacrifice and vision; pledge to preserve and enhance the democratic involvement of our members; and confirm our willingness to do whatever is necessary for the betterment of our membership - to preserve our gains and achieve those goals not yet attained."
The FPSD vision is "We are "One Team", built around a fraternity of former NFL Players who are aligned, connected and engaged, working together in life beyond football."
When you become a former player member of the NFLPA, the nearest NFLPA former player chapter is notified that you have become a local member. Each member decides how active he wants to be in the chapter. Spouses are welcome and encouraged to participate. Elections of officers are held every odd year in November. Local members vote on the local chapter offices of president, vice president, treasurer and secretary.
The NFLPA Former Players leadership remains active in protecting the rights of former professional football players. The Former Players Board of Directors Chairman and one other Board member serve on the NFLPA Board of Player Representatives Executive Committee, which allows them to be at the table during CBA negotiations with the league and at other occasions that involve former player issues. The chapter president has additional duties that require him to attend an annual leadership meeting in the Fall, as well as a meeting of the officers at the Former Players Convention. Individual members also attend and enjoy the camaraderie the annual Former Players Convention. The election for the NFLPA Former Players Board of Directors, the only elected national body representing retired players on the current players executive committee, takes place at the Convention during the general session. Former players are nominated, make campaign speeches and those members attending the Convention cast a vote. A former player must be present in order to vote.
Along with the overlap of the former player convention and the Board of Player Representative meetings, every year, a contingent of retired players attends the full active players’ Board of Player Representatives Meeting in March. At this meeting, they spend time with the player representatives and have the opportunity to discuss retired players’ issues with the active players attending the general session and break-outs. Former players in attendance are privy to all printed material and participate in the breakout sessions, general sessions and open forum discussion.
Below are examples of the process at work. The resolutions below specifically dealt with former players issues and were submitted by active players and adopted at the Players’ Board of Reps Meeting in March 2006.
Increased Benefit Credit Amounts
WHEREAS, each time the NFLPA has successfully extended the CBA, it has gone back to increase the pension of retired NFL players; BE IT RESOLVED, that the NFLPA shall use its best efforts in bargaining with the NFL to increase the benefit credit amounts for retired players.
Submitted by Kyle Brady
Retired Players Convention
WHEREAS, the NFLPA Board of Player Representatives desires to continue to effectively represent the interest of Retired NFL Players; and WHEREAS, the Annual NFLPA Retired Players Reunion provides an excellent opportunity to hear the voice of Retired NFL Players on issues affecting them;
BE IT RESOLVED, that at least one (1) member of the Executive Committee attend the NFLPA Retired Players Reunion each year and thereafter report back to the Board of Player Representatives on his findings on matters relating to Retired NFL Players.
Submitted by Tyoka Jackson
Amendments to the NFLPA Constitution Regarding Retired Players
BE IT RESOLVED, that the NFLPA Constitution and Bylaws be amended to provide that: 1. The NFLPA Retired Players Steering Committee, elected at the national convention of retired players chapters, shall, in its sole discretion, have the authority to remove any Chapter Officer from his position upon a determination that the officer has: A. Caused or failed to prevent a Chapter from violating the NFLPA Retired Players Chapters Local Bylaws or any other binding contract to which the Chapter is a party; B. Engaged in conduct detrimental to the Chapter; or C. Engaged in conduct prohibited under applicable law or regulations. A determination by the Steering Committee shall not be subject to appeal and shall be final and binding on the Chapter and its members. Any Officer removed shall be barred from being elected as an officer for two (2) years from the date of his removal. 2. Upon official retirement and/or collection of Severance Pay, each retiring NFL player shall receive membership in the NFLPA Retired Players Organization for two (2) years without annual dues; 3. Retired Player members otherwise shall be charged annual dues with the option of paying multi-year or lifetime dues memberships. The amounts of such dues shall be established to cover all reasonable administrative costs. 4. Except as specifically authorized through collective bargaining, neither the NFLPA nor any Chapter shall offer, sponsor, endorse or recommend for retired members any health or life insurance program or any retirement or other benefit plan or program of any kind, and the NFLPA and the Chapters shall assume no liability whatsoever for any claim, benefit or amount owing under any plan or program in which chapter members participate. 5. Modifications or amendments necessary to conform the new provisions of Section 2.11 to the NFLPA Constitution and Bylaws.
Submitted by John Kasay
It is important to work through the Chapter System and Steering Committee to be most effective. The strength of who we are as an organization is the work done at the chapter level, getting involved in your communities, having compassion for fellow members, and taking advantage of the opportunities that the NFLPA facilitates.
We as an organization have a responsibility to the truth and will continue to answer your questions and deal with your concerns. The NFLPA and the Former Players Department are poised to help you better understand your union, the collective bargaining process and NFLPA Constitution.
As a Member, what am I supporting?
As a former player member, you have voting rights to elect a nine-member national Former Players Board of Directors, who then elect two members to serve on the NFLPA Board of Player Representatives Executive Committee. There is also an opportunity to vote for two at large Board of Directors, exclusive to our membership.
Another important membership benefit is showing solidarity with the current NFL players and their efforts on and off the field. This solidarity translates into increased awareness and understanding of the important former player issues when it comes time for CBA negotiations.
What Rewards Will I Receive?
As a former player, you are eligible for the NFLPA Membership Rewards Program. Visit https://www.nflpa.com/former-players/membership-discount-programs for the extensive list of discounts and rewards we offer in categories including Travel, Home and Fashion, Personal Security, Leisure, Hotels, Professional Development, Moving Services, and more.
What are Former Player Chapters?
When you become a former player member of the NFLPA, the nearest NFLPA former player chapter is notified that you have become a local member. Each member decides how active he wants to be in the chapter. Spouses are welcome and encouraged to participate.
Our chapters are places where former player members, of all eras, can connect with, or reconnect with their brothers, network and share business resources and mentorship, and re-create the locker room players were accustomed to during their playing days.
Local chapters receive funding from the Professional Athletes Foundation to give away every year to deserving female and male student athletes in the community.
Elections of officers are held every odd year in February. Local members vote on the local chapter offices of president, vice president, treasurer and secretary.
For a list of NFLPA Former Player chapters, go here.
When will I be able to access my Membership Rewards?
As soon as you become a Former Player Lifetime Member with the NFL Players Association, you will receive a confirmation email with information about how to access your Membership Rewards. Your membership card is then prepared and mailed out. It usually takes 4-6 weeks for your new card to arrive in the mail.
How does collective bargaining in the NFL work?
Collective bargaining in the NFL is the process by which the representatives of the players and the representatives of the owners/clubs negotiate a legally-binding agreement (called the Collective Bargaining Agreement or CBA) which governs the employment relationship between players, on the one hand, and the clubs and league, on the other, and covers compensation, working conditions, and benefits. Under federal labor law, the NFL Players Association is the exclusive bargaining representative for players. The lead negotiator for the NFLPA is its Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith. The NFL owners and clubs are represented for bargaining purposes by the NFL Management Council, whose chairman is Harold Henderson. Henderson is appointed by the NFL Commissioner.
Labor law requires the NFLPA and NFL Management Council to bargain in good faith over working conditions, benefits, and compensation affecting the bargaining unit of players. The bargaining unit is composed of professional football players employed, or who are seeking to be employed, by a member club of the NFL. Retired players are not part of the bargaining unit and, therefore, the NFL Management Council is not legally obligated to bargain in good faith over any improvements in already-earned player pension benefits.
Despite this fact, in every negotiation during the past 25 years, active players have spent their leverage at the bargaining table to insist that benefits be increased for players retired from football.
What is the Professional Athletes Foundation? What is the Player Assistance Trust?
In 1987 the Professional Athletes Foundation was created by the NFLPA to provide vocational, educational, recreational and athletic opportunities for people of all races, religions and nationalities, male and female, wherever they may live, including but not limited to needy, former, amateur and professional athletes and young people who might not have the fullest opportunity to develop their vocational and educational capabilities.
The Professional Athletes Foundation is a 501(c) 3 private foundation under the Internal Revenue Code.
To address the needs of former players, the Professional Athletes Foundation established the Player Assistance Trust (PAT) in 1992 as a fund of the Professional Athletes Foundation to provide financial assistance to former professional and amateur football players and their families in times of financial crisis, among other exempt purposes.
The PAT is governed by the Board of Directors for the Professional Athletes Foundation, which oversees all aspects of the funding process. The board is made up of nine members, five of whom are former players. Dee Becker is secretary, a non-voting officer. Tom DePaso serves as legal counsel. The Grant Review Committee is a smaller committee made up of voting board members who determine eligibility based on the delegated authority of the board.
In 1997, to make sure that the Professional Athletes Foundation met IRS requirements regarding minimum distributions each year, on advice of Legal Counsel, the Foundation expanded the recipients of Foundation grants to include charitable organizations with like-minded goals and purposes (not enough players applied for and received PAT grants to meet the minimum percentage of distributions by the Foundation). Even with these additional Foundation grant recipients, no former player has been denied a grant due to the lack of assets in the Foundation.
What funds the Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund?
The Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund is funded by several sources including donations from the NFLPA, NFL Charities, a percentage of the fine money levied on the active players each year, and individual contributions. To date, individual contributions from retired players have represented 1.5% of total contributions. Fines levied on NFL agents by the NFLPA are also designated to the GU-PAT. Contributions from the NFL and from the player fine money are guaranteed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA.