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SBD/Issue 141/Leagues & Governing Bodies
Upshaw Seeks Two Hires To Strengthen Control Within NFLPA
Published April 14, 2008
|Upshaw Reaches Out To Two Former
NFLPA Members For Advisory Roles
SKATING ON THIN ICE: Upshaw said that his decision "not to name a No. 2 executive is linked to the disastrous results that structure had" for the NHLPA during the league's lockout. SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Liz Mullen reports Upshaw was "so focused on not repeating the mistakes" of the NHLPA that last month during the NFLPA meetings in Hawaii he "discussed what happened during the hockey lockout at length." Upshaw added that his "concerns were heightened" when the NFL hired Bob Batterman, the NHL's labor attorney during the lockout. Upshaw: "You have to put this in the context of Bob Batterman being over there, advising the NFL owners. How can we look as much as possible like (the NHLPA)? One way is if you have a No. 2 you can make a deal with if you cannot make it with a No. 1." Mullen notes former NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow "deputized" then union lawyer Ted Saskin to lead CBA negotiations with NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. But as Saskin and Daly "developed a close relationship, NHL players ended up making many concessions in bargaining, including agreeing to a salary cap." Upshaw noted, "There can only be one person in charge. Bob Goodenow was a good example of that" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/14 issue).
Feely Feels Upshaw Has Done Pheonomenal Job,
But His Leadership Style Can Also Be Detrimental
REAX: CBSSPORTS.com's Mike Freeman wrote Upshaw "hasn't been perfect," but "unions are messy, bloody places." Upshaw has been a "solid leader, surfing the egos, manipulating the membership (sometimes intimidating them) but most of all making his membership filthy rich. ... What's happening to Upshaw at the hands of some union memb ers is not only positively disgusting, intellectually lazy or borderline dishonest. ... What's happening to Upshaw is disloyal and traitorous" (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/11). In Boston, Mike Reiss wrote when NFL players and owners "agreed to the most recent CBA extension, it was owners who appeared more divided. Now, it seems, the tables are turned a bit" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/13). And in Chicago, Dan Pompei noted "political infighting in the NFLPA could provide owners with more incentive to opt out of the [CBA] as soon as November and set up an uncapped year in 2010." With Upshaw in control, the players are "getting the biggest slice of the pie they have ever gotten. Their slice is so big, in fact, that NFL owners want some of it back. That should tell the players what kind of job Upshaw has done." Pompei noted there "may be enough opposition [to Upshaw] to create problems." A source indicated that Stover is "acting at the behest" of Vincent (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/13).