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Damar Hamlin’s heart attack and future are labor questions, this week in The War on Workers

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Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is now breathing on his own and talking as he recovers from his on-field cardiac arrest in Monday night’s NFL game, but the issues his near-death and ongoing recovery raise are very much not over. For one thing, there was the long delay before the game was officially postponed (it was later cancelled), when the call to postpone a game following an on-field near-death should be a pretty much immediate one. Reportedly the decision was only made after intervention by the players’ union.

But there’s something else. Hamlin, an early-career player, is uncertain about his future. He has not made a lot of money in a career that has left him hospitalized in critical condition, and the NFL does not guarantee his long-term financial security if he can’t get back on the field and risk his life again. As I’ve watched the donation count rise on Hamlin’s charity GoFundMe, more than once I’ve thought that he might really be needing that money himself, depending how his recovery goes.

He’s 24 years old. He got a contract for $160,000—that’s his bonus—and he earns $825,000 this year. He’s been in the league two years. That means he’s not vested. That means that if he never plays another down in his life, he doesn’t get another check from…



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