Former New York Giants wide receiver Phil McConkey was a guest on Boomer and Carton on 660 WFAN in New York and he made it clear that he’s upset that the NFLPA fought the NFL’s free agency policy 25 years ago.
McConkey said the Giants got together and listed their grievances — improved health benefits and severance pay among them. Free agency was at the bottom of the list, but was later announced as the union’s top priority by late NFLPA head Gene Upshaw.
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘Are we that different than (other teams)?’” McConkey told WFAN’s Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. “I don’t think so. No, we weren’t. And what it was, was Gene Upshaw wanted to create favor with the top couple percent of guys in the league so he could stay in power, make all that money.”
McConkey says the strike of 1987 is “one of the great regrets of my life.”
“I see so many of my colleagues suffering terribly,” he said. “And I don’t blame — I really don’t blame the owners and the management. I don’t. It’s the players’ association, they’re the ones that should have taken care of the guys that went before them. And they didn’t, and they still don’t.”
McConkey said many players who went on strike lost a sizable chunk of their salary “and got nothing in return.”
McConkey is also still very upset with the comments that were made by Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
“There’s some guys out there that have made bad business decisions,” Brees said in 2009. “They took their pensions early because they never went out and got a job. They’ve had a couple divorces and they’re making payments to this place and that place. And that’s why they don’t have money. And they’re coming to us to basically say ‘Please make up for my bad judgment.’ In that case, that’s not our fault as players.”
“All (the strike) benefited were some of the guys of today,” McConkey said. “There are some guys today that have absolutely no clue and that run their mouths. And Drew Brees is one of them.”
“I know he’s canonized and people think he’s great,” he added of Brees. “If he got in front of a group of ex-players, I don’t know what would happen. … It’s just — it’s disgusting, but that’s some of the mentality that’s around.”
McConkey doesn’t understand why former players aren’t suing the NFLPA rather than the NFL for withholding concussion information.
“I don’t understand why they’re not suing the players’ association also,” he said. “I think they’re more responsible than the NFL.”