Being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a blessing, but some of those enshrined want more than their bust, ring, and gold jacket.
In a letter addressed to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, and Pro Football Hall of Fame President C. David Baker, Eric Dickerson -- the chairman of the newly-assembled Hall of Fame Board -- sent out demands that includes "health insurance and an annual salary for all Hall of Famers that includes a share of league revenue."
"They see us honored and mythologized before games and at halftime, and it would be reasonable if they thought life was good for us," Dickerson wrote. "But on balance, it's not. As a group we are struggling with sever health and financial problems. To build this game, we sacrificed our bodies. In many cases, and despite the fact that we were led to believe otherwise, we sacrificed our minds."
Among the signees of the letter were former Giants LB Lawrence Taylor. Former Jets Joe Namath and Curtis Martin as well as Marshall Faulk, Jerry Rice, and Deion Sanders were also signees.
The main crux of the letter is Dickerson stating the signed individuals will not attend the annual induction ceremony until the demands were met.
"The time has come for us to be treated as part of a game we've given so much to," Dickerson writes. "Until our demands are met, the Hall of Famers will not attend the annual induction ceremony in Canton. It's well-known that the NFL is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020, and while we are proud of our role in building this league, we don't believe 100 years of player exploitation is something to celebrate. As we approach this momentous date, we challenge the NFL to honor its past by helping retired players instead of exploiting their images for marketing purposes."
Dickerson also makes light of how the MLB treats their retirees, let alone Hall of Famers. Players who have played just one day on a Major League roster is awarded health insurance for life. And if that player is on a roster for 43 days, a lifelong pension is given as well.
Last year, the NFL made $14 billion in revenue, and these select Hall of Famers want a piece of it of that profit.
"An NFL marketing slogan states that 'Football is Family,' " Dickerson finished the letter. "We agree, which is why we're demanding to be treated like family memebers who are integral to the league's present and future. As the lengeds of the game's past, we deserve nothing less."