Hooked On The NinersBianchini's Market

On the Tunney Side of the Street 17

by Jim Tunney

After Further Review ... Recently I had the pleasure of playing in the 28th Annual National Football League Alumni (NFLA) Charity Golf Classic at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. This year the Northern California Chapter honored Fred Biletnikoff, former Oakland Raiders receiver and MVP of Super Bowl XI, and Dwight Clark, former San Francisco 49ers receiver, who made "the catch" in the 1981 NFC Championship game.

I was fortunate to have officiated both of those contests. Although those games may be prominent in my history, what really stands out for me is the opportunity to be a member of the NFL Alumni and its charitable giving. The Northern California chapter, now in its 28th year, has raised more than $3 million for charity and CARING for Kids.

The NFL Alumni, with its 32 chapters, has consistently donated its time, inviting former NFL players who spend their own time and money, to help raise funds not only for CARING for Kids, but also for the support of the Dire Need Fund (DNF). The DNF is there for former players who need financial aid for medical or personal needs. All 32 chapters are manned by former players, who volunteer their time and efforts to raise funds for these charities. Together those 32 chapters have raised and contributed an average of $2.5 million every year, for the last 5 years. Equally important to its charitable giving is that these former players have devoted themselves to promoting the positive image of professional athletes. Their volunteerism is an example for all.

There is currently a need of many former NFL players for increased medical assistance due to injuries sustained as a player. Groups are forming to petition NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to provide funding for these players. While that is logical and necessary, it seems here that the petition needs to be directed to the 32 NFL Club OWNERS. That's where the funds for helping needy players lie.

Well, ok, but what about the NFLPA - the National Football League Players Association? Yes, of course, they, too, need to step-up to help their own. Under new Executive Director De Smith, they plan to do just that. We'll see. However, to ask current players to donate part of their salaries to help their former brethren is a hard sell. The power lies with the OWNERS! With a new (CBA) Collective Bargaining Agreement on the horizon, the owners could restructure some of those "out of control" bonuses and salaries and provide funds to help former players in need. They are the ones that made the NFL what it is today.

Will you support the efforts to help former NFL players in need due to injuries?

For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website: www.JimTunney.com, or if you would like to respond to this message, please send your email to Jim@JimTunney