Q&A with Derrick Mason ….

March 15, 2011 |

I would like to thank everyone who submitted questions for yesterday’s Q&A with Derrick Mason. As I mentioned, I think it’s always beneficial to gain information from a player of Derrick’s caliber and experience. I think you will find his answers to be direct and concise. He answered everything and certainly gave a fresh perspective on many misunderstood issues and beliefs. Below, find the transcript for the Q&A session …..

Will players be able to practice as a team or will that be cut off?

When the owners decide to lock us out, we can’t practice at the facility. Players will have to organize something “on the side” ourselves which would include finding and paying for our own location, medical staff, trainers, referees, venue insurance, etc.

Now that the union has decertified, will players be able to communicate with team staff, trainers, coaches, owners?

No. We can’t communicate with anyone except fellow players.

What were the major sticking points that led to the breakdown in negotiations? Was it just money?

Many factors led us to where we are today but one thing was the dollar amount that the owners wanted back. The owners say they are losing money. Players aren’t asking for any more money that what’s been negotiated in their individual contracts. The other issues are insurance benefits for players past, present and future and our health.

What are the possible outcomes at this point?

We could get a deal done in the next few weeks and it will be business as usual as far as schedules (training camp, etc.) It could drag out until June or later and season is delayed. As of now, it becomes litigation in the courts.

Why do players feel they have a right to see the owner’s financial records?

Because if the owners are claiming they are losing money, the players would like to have that proven. If it’s proven that there are losses then players would be willing work with that. The owners say they “need” to have an 18 game season (so they can make more money.) If it is going to be my body put at risk for that, I want to know that it’s justified!

I’m a teacher (policeman, firefighter, unemployed) When you’re a millionaire and we have nothing, why should we have any sympathy?

Nobody is asking you to have sympathy. This is a profession that we chose and regardless of what money we making or not making, we want it to be fair. If the city wanted money back from the police, the police should fight that. Just because I happen to have a profession that pays more than some others, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t stand up for what I believe is fair and right. Comparing me laying down and not fighting for what’s right just because I make more than a teacher, for instance, isn’t comparing apples to apples so to speak. Regardless of my situation or yours, there is always someone FAR worse off than we are. Does the fact that there are people in this country and others who are much worse off than you mean you should forego what you think is right? What I make in the profession I chose has nothing to do with what someone else makes in the profession they chose. One thing isn’t relevant to the other.

Can you break down how the player insurance works and how/if the league compensates a player who suffers a career ending injury? Especially the young men who have their career cut short before they earn enough to actually retire.

As long as you’re an active player, your insurance is paid for. Once you have been in the league 3 years then you retire, you get five years of insurance benefits. If a player has a career ending injury that is handled through workman’s comp, not health insurance and those benefits. It’s important to be a part of a group because of high risks, pre existing conditions, etc. It’s not about paying for the insurance as a retired player, it’s about being easily rejected and not insurable as an individual at all regardless of cost.

What about people with season tickets? How does that work if there is no season or if it’s shortened?

I have no idea…you would have to call the Ravens ticket office (they are some of the nicest people in the world and will be happy to help!)

How can the players just walk out on the game at the expense of the fans?