Bruce Schwager, spends most waking hours staring at the NFL Network, silently comforted by the images of players running and blocking and tackling the way he did as a lineman for the United States Merchant Marine Academy so long ago. He does not notice his wife, Bette, silently packing his clothes and pictures into moving boxes, and does not understand when she blames the players union in which her husband still belongs.
Since July 2009, the charitable arm of the N.F.L. players union had voluntarily paid Schwager’s medical bills, which eventually topped $250,000. Schwager never played in a regular-season game — he joined the union by attending two training camps — and the players association treated him as one of its own.
But on March 14, the first day of business after the N.F.L. lockout began and the union prepared for what could be a long and costly work stoppage, a union official called Schwager’s son and said the aid would cease immediately.
Yep. Decertifying and taking the league to court by the NFLPA is to ensure that current and former players and members of the NFLPA are taken care of. Well, Mr. Brees, we can now call bull**** on that talking point that you love to use.
Three players association officials, including the executive director, DeMaurice Smith, did not respond to messages requesting comment about Schwager’s case. In an April 4 letter to the Schwagers’ lawyer, Cy Smith, DeMaurice Smith wrote, “We have been and remain deeply concerned about the financial and medical well-being of Mr. Schwager and his family during this crisis,” but he added that there was no “agreement to pay those expenses indefinitely into the future.”
DeMaurice Smith did not refer to the lockout in his letter. But Schwager’s son, Joshua, said that the aid ceasing so soon after the work stoppage began “cannot be a coincidence.”
Bette and Joshua Schwager acknowledged that the union had been under no legal obligation to help their family two summers ago through the Players Assistance Trust. The aid appeared to derive in part from how the union’s director of retired players, Andre Collins, played briefly with Joshua Schwager at Penn State in the late 1980s and knew the family.
Bette and Joshua Schwager contend, however, that Collins never mentioned any limit on the assistance the Players Assistance Trust would provide, and that they relied on his promises. In e-mails she shared with The New York Times, Collins initially wrote that “The NFLPA’s PAT Fund will be responsible for the hospice bill” and, eight months later, that the union was “still fully committed” to Schwager’s care.
Come on, Drew. Let's get some of your union buddies to chip in a $1,000 each and provide hospice care for one of those people that paved the way before you in the NFL. Y'all can afford it and this is one of the people you are saying that you are fighting for. And then ask your "leader" DeMaurice Smith why he and the leadership at the NFLPA has decided that abandoning one of their own is the correct decision when you are telling the American public that you are doing the decertification and suing the NFL for exactly the person that Bruce Schwager is. Hypocritical bastards.