San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis was in attendance at Roger Goodell’s state-of-the NFL press conference on Friday. However, Davis was not in New York as a football player, but as a reporter for MMQB.com
The crux of Davis’ question had to do with the NFL offering free health care to players for life. Goodell answered the question in a diplomatic way, likely not wanting to cause waves with a current player in a role of a reporter.
Below is a transcript from the exchange between Davis and Goodell. You can watch the video by clicking here.
Davis: “Hey, Roger, Vernon Davis here, tight end for the San Francisco 49ers.”
Goodell: “I know who you are, Vernon. I’m glad to have you here.”
Davis: “Thanks, Roger. I appreciate it, buddy. I’m writing for MMQB.
“Roger, we play one of America’s most dangerous and most lucrative games. But, still, we have to fight for health benefits. We have to jump through (hoops) for it. Why doesn’t the NFL offer free health care for life, especially for those suffering from brain injury?”
Goodell: “Vernon, first off, we had lots of discussions about that in the collective bargaining process. We went back and improved a lot of our health benefits, both for former players and for current players, to the point where I think the health benefits that are provided to current NFL players are the best in the world. And so I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do with the union in approving those benefits.
“We also still have a lot of work to do for former players. The cost of trying to provide health care for every player that’s ever played in the league was discussed with the union. It was determined that these changes were the best changes. And that’s what we negotiated. We’re all proud of the efforts that we made. We’ll continue to make more efforts and do a better job, particularly with our former players in providing them opportunities and to give them the proper health care.
“And our programs, as an example, the 88 Plan for anyone who has dementia or any other kind of neurological disorder, that’s there for the players and their families for lifetime. So we have programs that are addressing those issues that we’ve created, or the owners have created, on their own. And we also have several of them that were created with the union.”