Keep It Black

Updated: August 22, 2008


In the sea of WHITE

that controls virtually

every aspect of the NFL

the NFL players union has

been the one and only BRIGHT

BLACK spot you can see in this sea

With the passing of Gene Upshaw a new era will begin no matter who replaces Upshaw as the “all powerful” executive director of the NFL Players Association. For the time being the White NFLPA general counsel ( head attorney ) Richard Berthelsen has been named interim executive director. Begin by being suspicious about him getting the job permanently.

In the coming days and weeks you will hear nothing but praise for Gene Upshaw. Accurate or not he is credited with getting big salaries for NFL players based on the 60-40 revenue sharing agreement which the White Owners have just trashed.

That aside there is also little argument Upshaw was best known for being VERY cozy with NFL brass especially former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Upshaw rarely or is it NEVER disagreed with any position the NFL took on any issue. Upshaw assiduously avoided EVER standing up for African Americans and their place in the NFL.

While Upshaw chose to be Color Blind in his role as leader of the Players Association that got him regularly criticized here in the Box. We do NOT live in a Color Blind World and specifically it is NOT a Color Blind NFL. So while Upshaw would claim his job was to treat all his union members “equally” that comes into direct conflict with addressing the needs of the MAJORITY of his members. Upshaw could have been a factor in the complete lack of Black NFL owners, the dismal amount of African American team executives, the few and far between NFL Black head coaches, lack of Black NFL broadcasters, etc. but he NEVER did.

THINK OF IT THIS WAY if that is not enough of an explanation.

The 30% of union members who are WHITE have nothing to complain about when they look at NFL ownership or management or faces in the broadcast booth. Everywhere they turn they see White and more White. The White Players KNOW that if they want an executive position or a coaching position or a broadcast position AFTER their playing days are over they have a hundred times better chance of getting that job than a Black player AFTER he retires.

That NEVER registered with Gene Upshaw

we contend not that he did not realize it

but he did not want to upset NFL brass

Upshaw likewise never used his power or position to admonish African American players that they too had more power within the NFL if they would only choose to exercise it to pressure the NFL in all the many issues of inequality off the Gridiron. How can and WHY should a business composed of over 70 % AFRICAN American “employees” have NO African Americans in ownership positions and well under 10% of management on and off the Field.

In any “regular” business it would

amount to a clear case of


not to Upshaw in the NFL

OF COURSE it would have been more than legitimate for Upshaw to have addressed these issues of INEQUALITY his membership faced but he NEVER did. Well now the onus is once again on the players specifically the 70% of the players who are AFRICAN American. Will they insist on a new Black executive director for the players union or will they be CONNED let’s say it again CONNED into accepting a WHITE leader because the last was Black. Believe it that is what Commissioner GOOdell and the 32 WHITE owners want to see.

They want their $40Million SLAVES

only complete White CONTROL of

the NFL players union is missing

Even if the MAJORITY of players support the choice of an AFRICAN American executive director will they EVER demand a Black union leader who actually stands up for the many African American players as Gene Upshaw NEVER did.

Don’t bet on it because

the biggest enemy of

the Black players is not

the White Guys in the

business suits but the

Black players lack of

any assertiveness and

ONLY caring about

The Almighty Dollar

the color GREEN is

all that they Count