Who Cares If NFL Players Have Health Insurance?

Their million-dollar salaries make it tough to be compassionate

Just a few moments after this blog is published, a federal court judge in Minnesota will rule on an injunction to stop the NFL owners’ lockout of the players and issue perhaps a temporary resume of league business.

If that injunction is issued, the Eagles can go about the business of fostering a trade for backup quarterback Kevin Kolb for perhaps as high as the fifth pick in the draft, which could turn out to be a player as highly rated and needed as cornerback Patrick Peterson.

If not, then we’ll go back to players whining about their lack of a health plan.

I don’t want to be insensitive here, but do NFL players, even the ones making the lowest of league salaries (which equate to about $500,000 a year), think that the rest of America could give a crap that players don’t have health care? Do these players realize how many regular people walk a tightrope every day of their lives without adequate health care? Do they actually think that Mr. and Mrs. Everyday Joe—who are unemployed and trying to raise young children—can actually find the $25,000 or so to tap into a COBRA plan?

I’m sorry that David Akers has a child who’s not well. But the man has played for about 10 years in the NFL, gathering an average of about $1 million a year. He at least has a little more money stashed away than the average person.

I’ve got my own views on the exorbitant fees charged by doctors these days. I get it that tests are expensive to process. But can’t doctors lower their fees a little? The Hippocratic Oath they took when they entered the profession emphasized helping people first, not making a lot of money. How about they limit office visits to 25 bucks? But I digress.

I was on strike once when I was a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer. The strike lasted seven weeks. You know what I had to do to make ends meet? I had to get two jobs. The day job entailed ripping out the insides of a catering hall someone had purchased to turn into a restaurant. I made $5 an hour banging down cinderblock walls with a sledgehammer. During the evening, I worked as a perfume spritzer. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about: the person who stands in the middle of the department store cosmetic department and looks for middle-aged women to ask if they’d like to try the new fragrance. I did it because I had to.

So, players, take that whine up the street. It’s not my fault if you didn’t save enough of your lofty salary to pay for health care in the event of a strike. And if you didn’t save enough, then go out and spray some folks with perfume and see how Joe Everyman has to grind out a living.

Random Thoughts

  1. As the Flyers slog along toward the end of the regular season, stay firm. There’s no reason to panic. This is not the playoffs. Is it a good sign that the Flyers seem to be struggling right now? No. But it’s not the end of the world either. Players know that these games in the final week aren’t that essential. It’s not going to matter much that the Flyers don’t finish with the top overall seed. They will be better than any team they play in the first round anyway, whether it be the Rangers, the Buffalo Sabres or the Carolina Hurricanes. By then, Chris Pronger will be back to solidify things. Relax.
  2. All of a sudden Tiger Woods is going to be formidable in the Masters after losing his swing and his swagger in the last year? Please. Tiger stinks right now, and he no longer intimidates with his feeble game. He’s the PGA’s version of Donovan McNabb.
  3. Why has it become popular for professional teams to describe a player’s injury as a “lower body injury,” and why is the media letting them get away with it? What the frig is a lower body injury? Is it the hamstring? The knee? The ankle? The crotch? For God’s sake, just say what it is!
  4. Ripped into one of the producers at our radio station, a married man, for his act of hosting a group of couples at his home to watch Wrestlemania and then collecting $10 from each to help pay his costs for food and drink. Come on Bro, that stuff when out with the college party. But how about this dilemma: If Ross Fisher, a lesser-known English golfer, hopped a ride from England with better-known Lee Westwood on Westwood’s private jet, would Fisher be responsible for chipping in for gas?