Chicago, IL (PRWEB) November 27, 2007
Today, Kyle Turley, a nine year veteran of the NFL and active member of the Kansas City Chiefs, launched a ground breaking initiative which will provide aid to scores of NFL retired players in dire need. At a press conference hosted by Mike Ditka and Gale Sayers of the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, Turley announced that he would be donating his entire game check from one game to the Gridiron Greats, and that he is spearheading a grass roots relief effort among the NFL's active players to directly help retired players in dire need.
December 23rd, 2007 has been designated by a group of active NFL players as "Gridiron Guardian Sunday." Turley is coordinating this effort with active NFL players to help retired players in dire need through the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, an IRS 501(c)(3) charitable and humanitarian organization overseen by Mike Ditka, Gale Sayers and other NFL Legends. The fund provides financial assistance and coordination of social services to retired NFL players in dire need.
Many active players will donate part or all of their entire game check, from their December 23rd game to be used to provide immediate assistance to retired NFL players in need. Turley is joined by many players around the league who have already committed to participate in this humanitarian initiative. Players can elect to keep their donation and participation confidential or release their name publicly as a participant in the effort.
"Many of my friends and colleagues have already signed up to participate. Today I am issuing a challenge to all current players of this great game to take action and stand with me and show these men that they are not forgotten," said Kyle Turley. "I am asking them to join me by donating a portion of their December 23rd game check, whether large or small, to go directly to retired players in need. Whether they choose to keep their participation confidential or release their name as a participant is not important. What is important is doing something to make a difference. This is not our responsibility, but let us unite to help many of our brothers that are in need."
One hundred percent of all the funds donated will go directly to the many retired players who are in dire need through the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund. None of the funds from this initiative will be used for any overhead or administrative costs of the "GGAF" program.
All active NFL Players will receive a letter and information packet from Turley and the Gridiron Greats on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Players can also visit http://www.gridirongreats.org to get a copy of the players sign up/donation sheet online and to learn more about the initiative. The general public is also encouraged to visit http://www.gridirongreats.org where they can read Kyle Turley's letter to the active players and learn more about his "Gridiron Guardian Sunday" project.
"The Gridiron Greats organization was selected for a number of reasons," said Turley. "They are an independent IRS §501(c)(3) organization that is not affiliated with the union or the league in any way. They have a successful system in place that immediately distributes financial aid and social services to retired players. I really like the fact that they have a great track record of providing hands-on assistance and care to many retired players in need. The legends that oversee the organization such as Gale Sayers and Mike Ditka have a passion and a deep concern for these former players and I am proud to be associated with them and the organization."
"I am honored to have The Gridiron Greats organization work with Kyle and the other players on this project," said Mike Ditka, board member of the Gridiron Greats. What Kyle is doing is amazing. "I want to make it clear that this is absolutely not the responsibility of the active players and this in no way excuses the NFLPA from cleaning up the broken disability and benefits system. With that said, the Gridiron Greats organization is so thankful and very appreciative that Kyle is spearheading this project for active players to reach out to help. Their support will make a huge difference in a lot of lives. Gridiron Greats is firmly committed to using the funds raised from Gridiron Guardian Sunday to assist as many players as possible by providing them with immediate financial aid and social services."
This initiative marks the first time an organized group of active NFL players will stand alongside retired players and take action with regard to the catastrophic conditions facing many retired NFL players due to the inadequate disability and benefits program provided by the NFLPA.
"There has been a great deal of press this past year dealing with ex-players and their struggles with the NFL and NFLPA to improve their pensions and disability benefits," said Turley. "I, along with many other active players, watched as these issues finally made their way in front of a congressional hearing. Ex-players testifying before congress of a league and union that has seemed to abandoned them. As a player in today's game, where we have multi-million dollar signing bonuses and a league that has become a multi-billion dollar industry, it's hard to believe that the individuals who built the foundation of this game would be so neglected. I have come across a great deal of merit to the claims of these men. As the league and union continue to neglect this issue, there are players who we idolized and who molded our game that are in dire straights and desperate need of financial aid, social services and medical assistance; and younger players that are having a horrific time with a severely dysfunctional disability system.
"The fact that there are so many guys out there in desperate need of help, when something could be done by the owners and the union, is shameful," said Gale Sayers, board member of the Gridiron Greats. "While they spend their time making excuses, we are committed to providing whatever help we can to improve the lives of so many of the men that played this great game. In this season of giving it absolutely wonderful what Kyle and these active players are do by reaching out to the retired players who are need."
"In the coming weeks we will work very closely with Kyle and his colleagues to coordinate this massive fundraising effort and facilitate the awareness campaign," said Jennifer Smith, Executive Director of the Gridiron Greats. "We are committed to working as long and as hard as need be to assist with this project. We are so grateful to Kyle and the other players who are participating. Because of their efforts, we will be able to help so many more players that are in need. Additionally, we hope that the public awareness of this initiative will help more players who are in need of assistance find their way to our organization so that we can help them."
Players who are in need of assistance should call the Gridiron Greats toll free number 1-800-708-1078 or email the GGAF at gridirongreats24 @ aol.com.
Kyle Turley, and members of the Gridiron Greats including Mike Ditka and Gale Sayers, will be available for media interviews through the entire three week campaign.
All media requests should be directed to the Gridiron Greats office call (920) 499-7133, or email gridiongreats24 @ aol.com. Additional information is also available at http://www.gridirongreats.org.
The Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund provides Financial support and hands-on social services to retired professional football players and their immediate families, who are in need. The Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund is overseen by a very active Board of Directors which includes: Mike Ditka, Gale Sayers, Willie Davis, Harry Carson and others.