It’s great that Mike Ditka has taken up the cause of disabled NFL veterans, especially as he makes it clear he’s relatively well off and is fighting for those without his clout and monetary resources. Considering the amount of cash the NFL rakes in every year — an estimated $7 billion in annual revenues — and the average life span of an NFL player’s career, it’s shameful how poorly the league takes care of those who helped give it the license to print money it has today. But if Ditka bemoans how the NFLPA doesn’t have the power of Major League Baseball’s Players Association, he’s one of the people most to blame. When the NFLPA called a strike during the 1987 season, Ditka, then coaching the Bears, was one of the strongest defenders of “replacement players” — read “scabs” or at very least “spare Bears” — calling them his “real” players. With Ditka helping to shore up the owners, the players lost that strike, and since then they have never come close to matching the deals their baseball and basketball brethren have gotten. Maybe now Ditka regrets having once said, “Those who live in the past are cowards and losers.”