Joe Montana: Tarnished hero

Allen Barra responds

By Salon Staff
Published August 16, 2000 7:17PM (EDT)

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I usually don't reply to letters about my columns, but if the letters I saw are an indication, I did a poor job of explaining what the circumstances of the football strike were, and I need to correct that. First, the strike was not for "more money," it was to preserve the players' hard-won free agency. This would have benefited the new players coming into the league as much or more than the veterans. In other words, vets who had just signed big contracts, like Boomer Esiason, were holding together and losing their own money in support of players who had not yet had a chance to get the big bucks. Second, and this is really the important part, Joe Montana was a millionaire not because of anything he did on the field but because the union won the right to free agency through collective bargaining. That's COLLECTIVE BARGAINING, not individual bargaining between the team and Montana's agent. And this, sadly, is something Joe Montana has never acknowledged.

-- Allen Barra

Salon Staff

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