Group of Pro Football Hall of Famers threaten boycott as they seek insurance, pay from NFL

Eric Dickerson and 20 other members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame are threatening to boycott the organization's annual induction ceremony unless all Hall of Famers receive health insurance and an annual salary, according to a letter obtained and published by ESPN on Tuesday.

In the letter, which is addressed to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and Hall of Fame president David Baker, the Hall of Famers cite the league's growing revenue — which was estimated to be around $14 billion in 2017 — and say they deserve to be treated like "the founders and early employees of a wildly successful business."

"The time has come for us to be treated as part of a game we’ve given so much to," the letter reads. "Until our demands are met, the Hall of Famers will not attend the annual induction ceremony in Canton."

According to the letter, Dickerson — the longtime Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis Colts running back — will spearhead the group's efforts. Marcus Allen, Jim Brown, Marshall Faulk, Joe Namath, Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders are among the other notable names who signed the letter.

The letter states that health insurance for every member of the Hall of Fame would cost about $4 million, while an annual salary for Hall of Famers would cost "about 40 cents for every $100 in annual revenue" — which works out to an estimated $56 million. The group of Hall of Famers wants the salaries to include a share of the league's revenue, according to the letter.

Spokespeople for the NFL, NFLPA and Hall of Fame did not immediately reply to requests for comment from USA TODAY Sports.

While the letter states that the group hopes to create "a template for active players in the next round of (collective bargaining agreement) negotiations," its stated demands would only benefit the 318 members of the Hall of Fame — not the thousands of other current and former players.

Dickerson and company will also likely face an uphill battle given the financial heft of their request — about $60 million annually, by their stated estimate — and the fact that the NFL, NFLPA and Hall of Fame all operate as independent entities. (The Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization but has received millions in funding from the NFL, according to The New York Times.)

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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