NEW YORK (WFAN) — Boomer Esiason wants to make one thing clear: his foundation to help battle cystic fibrosis is on the up-and-up.
The former NFL quarterback and his wife, Cheryl, each receive a small annual salary which entitles them to health, life and disability insurance from the Boomer Esiason Foundation, the New York Post revealed in an article this weekend.
Esiason, an analyst for Monday Night Football on Westwood One and co-host of WFAN’s Boomer & Carton morning show, said Monday there’s much more to the story.
“The reason I do that is because as a former 14-year NFL football player, I do not have long-term health care (or) insurance benefits through the NFL. It’s been a big bone of contention,” said Esiason. “WFAN, CBS and Westwood One, they do not offer me health care through their programs. I have to go through a different union health care situation that does not optimize Gunnar’s care.
“And Gunnar is the most important thing in my life; he suffers from cystic fibrosis, it’s a fatal genetic disease. I have never made any apology for ever making sure that my son is taken care of the way that he’s supposed to be taken care of.”
LISTEN: Boomer responds to NY Post
It was clear Esiason didn’t appreciate any conclusions the piece may have implied.
“The article implies an inaccurate sense that there’s some impropriety going on here,” he said. “And I don’t know why they went down this road.”
Esiason said yes, he and his wife are on the payroll — but that money is given right back.
“Me and my wife are on there,” he said. “We receive $10,000 each — by law — so we can then receive the benefits that are given through the BEF group, if you will. We donate that money back to the foundation.”
The article cited the foundation’s 2010 tax return, which stated the couple each worked 30 hours per week for BEF during that year. In the same sentence, Esiason’s roles at WFAN, Westwood One and CBS Sports were highlighted.
The 51-year-old described the foundation as his “life’s work” for the past 19 years.
“I would say at least,” Esiason said of his 30-hour time sheet with BEF. “Easily.”
The Boomer Esiason Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. National watchdog group Charity Navigator gave it the maximum four stars and an overall score of 63.88/70.
Morning show co-host Craig Carton used the American Red Cross as a noteworthy comparison, which received three stars and a 59.64 overall score from Charity Navigator.
“We are a public entity. We take money from the public, therefore we have to be transparent about everything we do,” said Esiason. “We are not a private family foundation, we are a public foundation.”
Esiason called for a mea culpa from the authors — and the paper.
“I believe that our foundation, our board, my employees, all of our volunteers and most certainly the people that have supported us over the years deserve an apology.”
For more information on BEF, visit esiason.org.
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