Wednesday, May 23, 2007

NFL'S UPSHAW DISSES RETIRED PLAYERS


Throughout my life, I’ve lived along the east side of Baltimore. First there was Fells Point, then the Herring Run/Parkside area followed by White Marsh and now Canton. My journey while short is not unlike many who I grew up with and many that remain my friends.

There’s a sense of community about us and regardless of the societal and economic ebbs and flows of those areas, we don’t deny our roots. We embrace them and we watch the backs of others like us who do the same. We affectionately refer to that as “neighborhood.” If you are labeled a “neighborhood guy” it’s a badge you wear proudly. It’s a complimentary term used to describe a real down-to-earth guy or gal who remembers where and what they came from regardless of their current social status.

NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw is NOT “neighborhood.”

Clearly he’s forgotten where he came from or worse, he’s turning his nose up at his roots.

If you go to the nflpa.org and seek out the “About Us” button it reads:

“The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected -- including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989.”

The NFLPA’s Constitution starts off:

“We, the National Football League Players Association …pay homage to our predecessors for their courage, sacrifice, and vision; …Pledge to preserve and enhance the democratic involvement of our members; …confirm our willingness to do whatever is necessary for the betterment of our membership – to preserve our gains and achieve those goals not yet attained.”

Apparently the Executive Director hasn’t read this constitution lately.

Let’s break down that opening credo – that mission statement of sorts.

“Pay homage to our predecessors”

When you look up the word homage in the dictionary it defines homage as a public show of respect to someone to whom you feel indebted. Hmm…interesting.

When did ignoring the physical ailments of legendary players such as John Unitas and John Mackey become a public show of respect? Hundreds of former players – those courageous predecessors are confined to wheelchairs or they are suffering from dementia or they are so depressed that they’ve contemplated or committed suicide.

“Pledge to preserve and enhance the democratic involvement of our members”

Really Gene?

Then why did you threaten and then try to put the muzzle on a group of retired players who were advocating for retired players benefits? Gee Mr. Executive Director, last time I checked that doesn’t exactly fit the description of democratic. And then you have the unmitigated gall to address a memo to this group which read, "Retired players do not hire me, they can not fire me and they are not union members and are ungrateful for what they have been given to date.”

Ungrateful? Are you kidding me?

You better recognize!

Your cushy little multi-million dollar job Mr. Executive Director, the very office you sit in Mr. Homage Paying Democrat exists in large part because of the predecessors of your constituency. And what makes your behavior even more unconscionable and grotesque is the fact that many of the afflicted players that cry for your help were teammates or contemporaries of yours.

How do you sleep at night? When did you morph into the modern day Ebenezer Scrooge?

You are an overpaid phony Gene Upshaw – a puppet in the ivory tower of La La Land.

You aren’t neighborhood.

You aren’t a guy I’d turn my back to either.

There are football legends in battered wheelchairs who unfortunately made that mistake.

Thankfully Roger Goodell is stepping up.

Let’s just hope his suit isn’t as empty as yours.

7 comments :

Bruce Laird, NFL Retired Player said...

Tony,

A lot of hard work has gone into making this happen for the many hundreds of our fellow NFL brothers that played in the NFL, and are considered the makers of the game. The Baltimore colts Alumni have reached out and found out that hundreds of retired players need help now! Immediately – NOT in a year and a half when all the red tape is finally taken care of which is what happened to the Mackey family.

The Baltimore Colts Alumni group has work tirelessly since 2004 with no budget and just a few dedicated individuals to make this announcement from the league happen. We had to sell Baltimore Colts memorabilia and had the first fund Raiser for John Mackey in March of 2005 with the help of the Ed Block Courage Foundation after his teammates realized that the Mackey family was in dire need and that John’s wife had to go back to work just to make ends meet. Still there was no help from the NFLPA where John Mackey served as the first President after the merger between the AFL & NFL.

The NFLPA does not legally represent retired players and retired players for years have believe that to be the case but finally found that to be true when the Executive Director wrote this statement in a memo to a retired players group that was advocating for retired players benefits. Gene Upshaw said and wrote "Retired players do not hire me, they can not fire me and they are not union members and are Ungrateful for what they have been given to date.

"Writer Upton Sinclair wrote " It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it "

I think that describes the Executive Director of the NFLPA he does indeed work for the active players and has done a very good job for them since the new CBA of 1993 and beyond. There salary and their ancillary benefits have increase to God knows how much 14 years. Pension, Severance paid , 5 years health and dental, 401 K program has grown to 15K per year with a 2/1 match by the league, annuity program 65 K a year after 4 years in the league, just to highlight a few programs the that active players receive today beyond there salaries that were not afforded to NFL players prior to 1981.

We the makers of the game are very grateful to the league and the fresh approach of Commissioner Roger Goodell for taking the position that indeed the NFLPA does not represent retired players and that something new and exciting had to happen before all the makers of the game are dead and buried. The Baltimore Colts Alumni which has a blog that communicates with over 1,500 retired players applaud the league and look forward to working with the league to fight for medical assistance for the retired players across the country.

Harryos29 said...

Harry o 29 5/23
I think that GENE UPSHAW has lost his perspective. I was there Christmas Eve 1977, when he was toiling in the trenches blocking for the SNAKE (Stabler) when he fired the ghost to the post pass...over a confused Nelson Muncy. Some fans may not go back that far...but I go back to the time when the Baltimore Colts arrived in town. Now I am an avid Ravens fan.. I support efforts of Bruce Laird and others, to do the right thing for players from earlier times. Like a certain OWNER of a Baseball team in CRAB TOWN....Gene..you just don' t get it....
sincerely
Harry O 29
sykesville, md

Dawan Song said...

I hope that now that the owners and Goodell have stepped in to save face for the game, that Upshaw is exposed for the fraud he is. What a POS! TL, you are right, how does he sleep at night or look in the mirror?

Go Bruce Laird!!!

Ebenezer Scrooge said...

At least I eventually came to my senses just like my friend Mr. Grinch.

Here's hoping Upshaw is paid a visit by those three ghosts that scared me straight.

MB Genius said...

I don't know how long Upshaw has left on his contract but unless his lips start to afix themselves to the glutes of Roger Goodell like a snail afixes to the side of an aquarium, he's done!

And that will be a good day for us all.

Pucker up you phony ph---!

Tony Lombardi said...

According to a letter sent to Roger Goddell by the NFLPA:

“For all of the foregoing reasons, the NFLPA hereby requests that you reconsider the one-year suspension [of Pacman Jones] you imposed… as it is excessive and inconsistent with the treatment of other similarly situated players,’’ according to the letter. “We will defer to Jones’ counsel for appropriate discipline, if any, to be suggested.’’

Blah, blah, blah....

And if the punishment is consistent with previous punishments for similar thuggery, what then would be the deterrent? Previous punishments certainly haven't slowed down Jones or Chris Henry. I think this one will if Goodell sees it through and something tells me he will.

And when Vick is indicted, watch out!

Bette said...

Thanks for writing this.