Tuesday, June 14, 2011

NFL Union: Give in to Our Demands or We'll Cut off Medical Treatment for 78-Year Old Dementia Patient

I know that the headline seems a bit heavy-handed but it appears that the NFL Players' Union is going to use a hostage in its fight for even more millions of dollars in professional sports salaries.

Bruce Schwager, 78, was a former lineman for the United States Merchant Marine and helped build one of the Apollo capsules. He joined the union when he attended several NFL training camps and has been a loyal member since.

Now, due to the NFL lockout, the union is holding several important hostages. One is Schwager while they also hold the jobs of thousands of attendants at the NFL stadiums. In short-- they want millions for millionaire players-- $8 an hour janitors and parking lot attendants be damned!

But let's get back to Schwager. It's true that the charitable wing of the union is paying for his $250,000 a year expenses-- but at least from union mentality, that should be their responsibility anyway. Considering he is a member, could some of the six-figure union heads or eight-figure players consider giving a tiny fraction that may instead be, oh maybe donated to the Democratic Party.

The union knew that a potential lockout would occur last year. You would think that an organization that collects millions in dues annually would put some money aside for an ailing, elderly member, right? Instead, they have decided before the next season even starts, to cut Schwager's medical bills:

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.

With his family unable to pay for continuing care at Silverado, Schwager is scheduled to be evicted on July 2. Bette Schwager said she had yet to find a facility that would care for her husband, who remains large, strong and combative when agitated. Schwager’s doctor said in an interview that forcing him to move from his familiar surroundings, given his advanced coronary disease, could bring on a fatal heart attack.

Remember, whether there's a strike or not, the union is still sitting on millions of dollars with an entire cadre of millionaires serving as its members. The union refused to contact the Times and instead sent the Schwager family the following:
“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.”

So they made no agreement to keep funding, huh? Okay, that might be a legitimate reason to stop funding except they promised to do so until his death earlier:

“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.

“We based everything in our lives on what they told us — that they’d take care of him,” Bette Schwager said while packing her husband’s belongings. “I sold my home and signed a rental lease right around the corner from here so I could be near him. Now my whole world is falling apart.”

Schwager's son is heartbroken by the betrayal and gets to the core of the union lies:

"They say they’re going through the lockout to help players from the past, present and future, and that the little guy is as important as the big guy. But are you really going to follow through on that?”

What a shame. To let an old man die so they could be gluttons is beyond a shame.

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