Last month, the NFL lost a significant amount of leverage in its squabble with the NFLPA when a federal judge stripped the league of its right to “lockout insurance.” What’s ironic, though, is that one of the morsels of leverage the owners still have comes from another kind of insurance.
As of midnight last Saturday, about 1,900 active NFL players lost their health benefits. And until this stalemate is resolved, that’ll continue to weigh on all of them.
I know it’s hard to take pity on these guys. The league’s lowest-paid players made $320,000 in 2010, which was about seven times the nation’s median salary. But the issue is that players are having trouble finding insurance companies willing to cover them, presumably because of their violent profession.
Earlier today, the very well-spoken Maurice Jones-Drew took to Twitter (what’s new?) to explain the quagmire he and his peers are facing:
“I’ve been hearing a lot about players and health insurance so I want to clear it up,” wrote Jones-Drew. “Its not that we can’t afford it. The insurance companies won’t take us bc of all the injuries we have. I’ve been denied twice trying to find a insurance company for my family and I.”
The players can opt to insure themselves with COBRA, which is a government-run program that offers coverage to those who have recently lost their insurance elsewhere. But MoJo is annoyed that he and his family don’t have the ability to find something better than that.
“The sport we play is so violent the only way we can get any type of insurance is through our organizations.. Just think about a man comes to you with 3 surgeries and a gang of other injuries that doesn’t require it. Along with a wife and three young children. Would you take them?”
Apparently, even COBRA is too expensive for some of the league’s less well-to-do players. NFLPA president Kevin Mawae said recently that the “biggest concern right now” are “some young players who … may not have the ability to pay COBRA over a long term.”
Hard to believe. Players who made more than $300,000 last year can’t afford $2,400 per month for continued coverage? Sounds like these players need financial advice more than anything.
Of course, in Canada, this wouldn’t be an issue.