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Archive for Friday, October 5, 2007

Ditka criticizes union for disability strategy

October 5, 2007

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— Mike Ditka and other former pro football players kept up their attack on the NFL Players Association on Thursday.

Led by the Hall of Famer, they again criticized the union for what they claim is a strategy to discredit disabled retired players trying to get disability benefits.

"These people got in front of Congress and lied, actually lied to Congress and said, 'We're going to try to fix this system,"' Ditka said at a news conference, referring to last month's appearance before Congress by players association executive director Gene Upshaw.

At the hearing, Upshaw asked Congress for greater authority to improve disability claims, saying the union is now limited in what it can do.

But then, said Ditka, "Two weeks after being in front of Congress they come out and they attack the individuals."

The NFL recently posted on its Web site a page titled "The NFLPA Truth Squad: Facts vs. Fiction" that explains it will ''correct serious misstatements of fact." The union identifies former players and disputes some of the statements they have made that have been reported in the media.

On Thursday, union spokesman Carl Francis defended the page, saying via e-mail: "While the NFLPA would prefer not discuss any individual cases, when a player makes false or misleading statements about the facts of his case, we believe the NFLPA has no other option but to respond and correct the record."

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