Dungy: We Shouldn't Taint Hall Of Fame With This Issue

Several Hall of Famers are threatening to boycott if they do not receive health care benefits and a salary

The DA Show
September 19, 2018 - 12:37 pm

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A group of Pro Football Hall of Famers is threatening to boycott the Hall’s annual enshrinement in Canton if they do not receive health care benefits and a salary from the NFL.

Eric Dickerson, who is leading the charge, expressed these requests in a memo sent to Roger Goodell, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, and Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker.

What should we make of this?

“I don’t think this is a Hall of Fame issue. I think this is an NFL players and Players Association issue,” Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dungy said on The DA Show. “If we use the Hall of Fame and the Hall of Famers to bring it to light, that’s good. I don’t think we should taint the Hall of Fame, saying the Hall of Fame isn’t doing enough for people. Hopefully we can get that clear. I think the idea behind it and trying to get resources for everyone and all the former players is a good one. I just don’t know about this venue and this avenue.”

Dickerson serves as chair of a board that includes Marcus Allen, Mel Blount, Derrick Brooks, Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, Richard Dent, Carl Eller, Marshall Faulk, Mike Haynes, Rickey Jackson, Ronnie Lott, Curtis Martin, Joe Namath, John Randle, Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Jackie Smith, Lawrence Taylor, and Kurt Warner.

Dungy, who played three seasons in the NFL, was not a part of the memo.

“I think it was more for former players,” he said. “Even though I played, I did not get involved with that. I thought this was more of a Players Association issue. . . . I would be happy to get involved, but I do not want to say the Hall of Fame is not doing enough or the Hall of Fame should do this, this or that. I just don’t think that’s appropriate at all. I think all of us in the Hall of Fame and everybody involved with football trying to get better health care for everyone who played in the NFL – to me, I’m all for that. But to say just the Hall of Famers need something – I don’t need it. I’m not sure where this is going.”

While Dungy, 62, is in good health, many former players are not.

“I think we need to do more, no question about it,” he said. “I played three years. I don’t have a lot of debilitating injuries. I have an NFL pension from my time in coaching. So I really cannot complain about how the NFL has treated me. Now I know that is not the case with everyone, especially the pre-1970s guys. You hear those stories. But I think that is what we need to put the focus on and how can we illuminate that – and not make it look like it’s just these 60 people from the Hall of Fame or whatever. I hope the message doesn’t get lost. I think if we put the focus on everyone, that’s going to be a little bit more effective.”

Dungy was also asked about another Hall of Famer: his former teammate, Terry Bradshaw, who has been highly critical of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

“I really don’t understand it,” Dungy said. “We all are proud Steelers. We want the Steelers to do well. We want the Steelers to win every game. But to me, saying that Mike Tomlin is not a good coach and he hasn’t been effective when you’re winning all these games and going to Super Bowls and you have a better record than Chuck Noll or Bill Cowher or anybody who’s been there, it’s a little hard to believe when you just look at the facts.”

Bradshaw, though, is apparently not alone in his Steelers criticism.

“I talk to guys and they say the same thing: ‘Oh, when we played, you wouldn’t have the guys on the cell phones and social media and all of that, and you wouldn’t have the guys celebrating the way they do,’” Dungy said. ‘I understand that. What some of my teammates don’t understand is it’s a different world now, and these young guys are a little bit different. Keeping them roped in but focused, sometimes you have to do it in a different way. But I haven’t heard any of the criticism that, ‘Hey, Mike Tomlin’s not a good coach and he shouldn’t be there.’ I’ve not heard that from anybody but Terry.”