Minneapolis Mike Ditka said Tuesday he would dissolve his Hall of Fame Assistance Trust Fund in the wake of a report that the charity had given only a small amount of money to needy former NFL players.
USA Today reported last week that Ditka's fund had collected $1.3 million since it was formed in 2004, but netted only about $315,000 after expenses and distributed just $57,000 to former players.
Ditka disputed part of the report, saying the trust has actually given away $159,000.
"This is not about me, and I didn't ask for this, really," Ditka said. "I've become a sitting duck for a lot of people who really don't understand what the problems are."
He said the fund's balance of more than $600,000 would be divided equally between Misericordia, a residential facility for developmentally disabled youth, and Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, another fund that helps former professional football players in need.
Gridiron Greats hosted Tuesday's news conference, which included several former Vikings stars and some current NFL players. Jennifer Smith, a spokeswoman, said the infusion from Ditka's fund would "make a major impact" on her group's efforts.
Ditka, who donated an additional $25,000 of his own money to the fund, is among retired players who have feuded with the NFL Players Association over what they say is the union's refusal to award disability benefits to former players.
"I used to support the union because they were trying to take care of a majority of the players," Ditka said. "That has ceased to be the case. Until you take care of all the players, you're taking care of none of the players."