“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” Englishman-scholar Lord Acton penned this phrase in 1877, and while the first part of this statement pertains to Upshaw, the second part certainly does not. As head of the NFL player’s union, Upshaw wields absolute power and really hasn’t done too much to protect the long-term interests of those who he serves, and certainly hasn’t done enough to look after the interests of needy, retired NFL old-timers.
Upshaw has been an impediment to the process of implementing a true performance enhancing drug testing program and has pinched pennies when it comes to doling out money to former players who gave up their bodies to build the NFL into a billion dollar business.
Upshaw has done nothing to protect his players from concussions, as he has not insisted that the league make the mouthpiece a mandatory piece of equipment. Despite all the concern displayed over the NFL’s concussion problem, nobody has lifted a finger to take the most basic step and require that the players use this $30 piece of equipment, even though data indicates that the mouthpiece can help reduce the risk of head injuries and concussions from lower jaw impacts.
The latest hubbub revolves around a threat Upshaw made to break the neck of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Joe DeLamiellure because DeLamiellure saw fit to criticize the way Upshaw has treated NFL retirees. Here’s what Upshaw said about DeLamiellure, a vocal critic of the union head’s handling of the financial needs of down-and-out NFLers: "A guy like DeLamielleure says the things he said about me, you think I'm going to invite him to dinner? No. I'm going to break his goddamn neck."
Upshaw has shown himself to be unfit to hold a position of power and authority by virtue of his words and actions over the years. This latest tirade is just another in a long line of inappropriate and unprofessional comments Upshaw has made over the years. Given the current climate in which people have lost their jobs for making bad jokes; Upshaw should be canned for threatening the life of DeLamiellure. Unfortunately, there’s not much of a chance that anything will happen since the NFL’s new conduct policy doesn’t apply to Upshaw.Powered by Sidelines