Blog Entry

Current, former player squabble

Posted on: April 7, 2011 9:08 am
Edited on: April 7, 2011 12:58 pm
Former NFL player Jeff Nixon hasn't been shy about his criticism of the current NFL union leadership. What Nixon did recently won't help his relationship with them.

Nixon wrote about the arrest of Mike Vrabel, a member of the NFLPA's executive committee, on his blog. Tight end Bennie Joppru, who last played for Seattle and is currently a free agent, wrote Nixon a note saying Nixon crossed the line publishing the arrest and all but accused Nixon of plagiarizing the site

Nixon responded and published his letter. Here's the letter from Jeff Nixon to Bennie Joppru. 
Joppru's email to Nixon is at the bottom.
Dear Bennie:

Thank you for your email. (It can be viewed under my response)

I have removed you from my email list, but for the record I did not rip off anyone. The posting of the article about Mike Vrabel on Fourth and Goal clearly shows at the top of the article that this was from - news service.  They mention - the original source - in the article.  

Apparently you don't think retired players should be aware of this incident.   

Do you think this should be hidden from retired players because he is an active NFL player and a vocal member of the NFL Players Association and is among the 10 players named in the NFLPA’s antitrust lawsuit against the league.   Isn't that newsworthy?    

I'm not the first to talk about this. As you noted yourself, first released this information and since then, it has been widely reported on all the major TV and cable networks, newspapers and has been talked about on radio sport shows.   

Obviously, Mike Vrabel is innocent until proven otherwise, but to say that I have "crossed the line" because I made the information available to retired players is absurd.  

Heaven forbid retired players should hear anything even remotely negative about the current players. Our delicate ears might not be able to take it. Or maybe worse, if active or retired players talk about it they might get blackballed by DeMaurice Smith. Afterall, he is the Chairman of NFL Players Inc. and sits on a the throne of a $219 MILLION  (2009 net assets) marketing company that determines who, and who doesn't get paid for meet and greets, autograph signings, etc.  You don't want to get on the list that he said Gene Upshaw left for him!

Since you just recently retired (2008), I assume you played against Mike Vrabel - so maybe you feel some loyalty to him.  Maybe he's a friend of yours.  I don't know, but to say that I have "crossed the line" does not sit well with me - or a lot of other former players. 

That's the same load of crap that DeMaurice said about Bruce Laird (Fourth and Goal) and George Martin (NFL Alumni) His exact words were “There will be those who cross the picket line of player loyalty tomorrow just as there were those who crossed the line against you. While many don’t remember the players who crossed and betrayed players trust, I do remember and our current players know”

Maybe you think I'm a "scab."  Maybe that's how you really feel about me, I don't know.  

But I do know is this:  I was involved in the 1982 NFL player strike.  I did not cross the picket line. In fact, not one single player did! We shut down the NFL for 8 weeks. We fought for a number of benefits that you benefitted from during your 6 year career (2003-2008). The 1982 player strike accomplished more than most people realize.  For the first time in the history of the NFL the Union was finally able to get full financial disclosure of all player salaries, which continues to be extremely helpful when players and their agents negotiate contracts with the owners.  We got severance pay. We got the minimum wage scale.  Players were finally allowed second medical opinions on our injuries - and we didn’t have to have the surgery performed by the team physician. We increased the Pension plan funding and improved the Disability Plan.  

You're welcome!    

I guess you can see why I'm a little sensitive about the phrase "I've crossed the line." 

Your NFLPA Minnesota Chapter President - Joey Browner was involved in the strike of 1987, where owners brought in replacement players.  The striking players denounced their replacements as "scabs".  Even though the strike was not successful, it finally made the Union realize that it needed to gain leverage by going to court. That eventually led to the decertification of the union, lawsuits and the historic 1993 CBA that helped active player salaries and benefits skyrocket!    

Mike Vrabel is a 14 year NFL veteran that never had to go on strike.  He has benefited from the sacrifices of players that came before him.   

His salary just for the past five years was:

2006..... $3.19 Million

2007......$3.74 Million

2008......$3.99 Million

2009......$4.39 Million

2010......$3.27 Million 

I'm not against the active players making good salaries. They are deserving of them.  But, in addition to the millions of dollars he has made in his stellar career, he will also have the following NFL benefits waiting for him when he retires:  

  • $600,000 in his Second Career Savings Plan (that doesn't include interest that will increase the account)

  • $580,000  in his NFL Annuity Plan  (that doesn't include interest that will increase the account)
  • $300,000 in his Health Reimbursement Account (  For Cobra payments and other medical after 5 free years)
  • $157,000 in Severance Pay  ( If he retired before next season - it will go up $15,000 each add. year he's active)
  • $45,000 in his Tuition Assistance  account (not that he'll need to go to school to make a decent living)
  • $77,700 annually in his NFL Pension -  $6,475 monthly that he can start drawing on at age 55
  • 5 Free years of medical insurance coverage for him and his family after retirement
  • Why don't the active players start putting more money in the Pension Plan to help ALL retired players!

    When the active players - like Mike Vrabel - start showing some "loyalty" to retired players - particularly the older generation - then maybe we will be more inclined to get behind them. They can start by increasing the pre-1993 player's Pension by splitting the $300 million annual contribution the owners put on the table for active and retired player benefits. Do you think that Mike Vrabel would do that for us?    

    Mike's a good guy, but it looks like he made a bad decision to be at a casino at 5:30 in the morning and "allegedly" took a few alcoholic drinks on the house.  

    Maybe.... just maybe...... he crossed the line.   

    A court will determine his fate. Or maybe the casino will drop the charges if he does a few "meet and greets" with the other high rollers that have enough cash to throw it away at a casino. 

    One thing's for sure. He can afford a very good lawyer.

     Jeff Nixon

    And the original email from Bennie Joppru to Jeff Nixon. Emails redacted for privacy purposes.
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Benjamin Joppru
    To: Jeff Nixon
    Sent: Wed, Apr 6, 2011 10:32 am
    Subject: Re: Mike Vrabel arrested for theft

    Jeff, You have officially crossed the line.  Why would you publicize a fellow player's arrest.  Take me off of your email list immediately.  Way to rip off from 3 days ago. 
    Bennie Joppru

    Category: NFL
    Tags: Labor

    Since: Mar 19, 2009
    Posted on: April 8, 2011 1:00 pm

    Current, former player squabble

    As an avid Seahawk fan living in Seattle, I've never heard of Joppru. I also could not even find a statistic for him ever doing a thing. The writer also has one career interception.

    Do we really care about them? This world of forums, facebook and twitter are too much. File this under don't give a ****.

    Since: Apr 8, 2011
    Posted on: April 8, 2011 12:31 pm

    Current, former player squabble

    Wow! I had no idea they got so much upon retirement. Yet they still go broke. Sounds like they NFLPA should hire a couple of accountants, and get back to work!

    Since: Apr 8, 2011
    Posted on: April 8, 2011 11:55 am

    Current, former player squabble

    Enough with the bickering, can we get a deal done and have a season?

    Since: Dec 27, 2010
    Posted on: April 8, 2011 3:41 am

    Current, former player squabble

    Benjamin Joppru should mind his own business hes just mad because he had to retire

    The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or