Sports Outside the Beltway

NFLPA Paid DeMarco’s Bills

The NFLPA is fighting back against allegations that it has failed to assist former player Brian DeMarco. Chris Mortensen reports:

Mike Ditka has been saying for months that if the NFL and NFL Players Association want to back up their claims that they are meeting the needs of retired players then to provide “documentation.”

In what may be a first significant strike back at a nasty public relations campaign waged by some retired players such as Ditka, the NFLPA on Monday night provided ESPN with nine cancelled checks totaling almost $10,000 that it paid in the past 12 months for items such as rent, utilities and child support to former NFL lineman Brian DeMarco.

DeMarco, 35, appeared at a press conference on Monday with Ditka and fellow Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure, claiming the players union had turned its back on him during a time of financial need caused by his physical disabilities from a five-year NFL playing career. DeMarco had also told the Chicago Sun-Times that the union had ignored many of his pleas for help.

The NFLPA struck back Monday night with the documents, which included two payments in March from the Player Assistance Trust that totaled almost $3,000 covering rent and a moving company bill. The nine checks covering just under $10,000 since last June were only a “partial report,” a union official said, and added that as recently as this past weekend that an NFLPA employee wired $300 “out of his own pocket” to DeMarco, who had called saying he was desperate for cash.

Frankly, the plight of the Brian DeMarcos of the world doesn’t much concern me. He played in the modern era, where even bench players made handsome incomes. It’s the guys from the 1960s and earlier, who built the NFL into what it is today, who played before big paydays and great medical care, that deserve some sympathy.

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