If there is a work stoppage in the NFL, most superstar players won’t have financial problems no matter how long the standoff lasts. That may not be the case with fringe players yet to establish themselves. Kansas City Chiefs guard Brian Waters suggested to SI that a fund could be created in which higher-paid players help those struggling to meet their living expenses.
“It’s something that had been on my mind for months,” Waters says. “I was thinking about which group would be the most vulnerable if there was a lockout, and I thought it would be the guys who had more to lose because they had fewer resources to pay things like healthcare and day-to-day expenses. Most of those guys really need the money that comes from the offseason workout checks, as well as the checks that come from training camp. I used to be one of those guys. I was a college free agent who was cut and played in the World League, and coming into that second season that money was an integral part of paying my bills. I knew there were a number of guys who didn’t have the medical savings and reimbursement accounts, and I knew there were a number of guys who weren’t high draft picks, but I also knew this number as a whole was a small number on every team’s roster.”
This is such a good idea, I’m not sure how it hasn’t been a part of the discussion from the beginning. If you’ll remember, the NFLPA told players to save their final three game checks in anticipation of a lockout. While that was a good suggestion, how many actually took that advice? Or more importantly, how many minimum salaried players could afford to do it?
An account anonymously funded by players with big-money contracts would go a long way to erasing any thought of caving from the union due to financial worries from players.
I’m not sure what the tax repercussions of such a move would be, but on the surface it looks like a potential home run for the players union and it’s members.