Tom Brady and Drew Brees are best known for being two of the greatest quarterbacks in the National Football League today. But while they play for opposing organizations, the two superstars have recently teamed up to write a guest column in the San Francisco Chronicle voicing opposition to AB1309, a proposed California bill that would change the workers’ compensation rules particular to professional athletes in that state.
The California bill would limit the ability of professional athletes like those in the NFL to file cumulative trauma workers’ compensation claims in California if those athletes had not retired from a team based in that state. However, players retiring from teams outside of California would still be permitted to file workers’ compensation claims if they spent 80 percent of their career with or played eight or more seasons for a California NFL team. Workers’ compensation claims would have to be filed within a year of an athlete’s final game or of a doctor diagnosing the condition, whichever is later.
Representatives from several professional sports associations have expressed concern that teams outside of California are cashing in on workers’ compensation benefits from that state, raising costs for sports teams as well as all employers in California.
In their column, Brady and Brees voice their opposition to the bill, a position echoed by the NFL Players’ Association. The quarterbacks acknowledge their considerable salaries but emphasize the severity of NFL injuries and their impact on the affected players. According to Brady and Brees, the bill “unfairly targets professional athletes by attempting to classify them differently than other a href=”travel-for-work-you-may-be-entitled-to-workers-compensation-benefits-in-multiple-states/”>interstate workers,” and “there is no good reason for professional athletes to be singled out.” Drew Brees is one of the players that would be ineligible for California workers’ compensation under the bill, despite playing five seasons for the San Diego Chargers.
High-profile contention over AB1309 has propelled the bill to the forefront of discussion about workers’ compensation law throughout the entire nation. The bill is now awaiting a vote in the California State Assembly.