Retired NFL Players Want Mad(den) Money Now

The NFL and the NFLPA (the union) have done little to promote players until recently, creating a Q Rating gap between current players and retired ones.  The NFL wanted to promote teams over players to keep loyalties (and cash flow) strong.

On the other hand, the NFLPA, under the guidance of the recently-passed Gene Upshaw, didn’t give a damn about anyone that wasn’t currently filling the union’s coffers.

Brett Favre with Madden 09

(Brett Favre, trying to have it both ways)

Showing that some things haven’t changed, a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of some 2,000 former NFL players to claim royalties from likenesses and near-likenesses on all kinds of licensing deals (like with EA Sports for Madden) when the NFLPA allegedly cut them out of the deals to protect their active players/dues-payers.

It’s quite the ingenious scheme, really: don’t promote the retired players at all because the gains would supposedly be marginal and then claim that you don’t owe those men a damned thing because they aren’t marketable now.  If only the NFLPA could have wrapped them up in bonds, double-insured them, and sold them to Lehman Brothers, too…

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Japan Upsets US In Final Olympic Softball Match

Jennie Finch & the U.S. softball team gets jumped by Japan in the sport’s final Olympic gold-medal game.

US softball loses gold gets silver

Mark Spitz says he could’ve taken Michael Phelps - to at least a tie.

Jerry Jones pops up an idea on how to keep Peter King quiet.

Gene Upshaw goes to that great bargaining table in the sky.

• Chinese authorities have no problem sentencing 70-year-old ladies to manual labor. It’s their own fault for complaining about their houses being bulldozed for the Olympics.

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Blog Jam: ‘Boom Goes The Dynamite’ Gets a Job

• DEADSPIN happily informs us that the “Boom Goes The Dynamite” guy has found himself a real life sports reporting job.

Boom Goes The Dynamite guy

• WITH LEATHER will happily rain on the Olympic beach volleyball parade.

• BLOG OF HILARITY finds USC WR Vidal Hazelton going the Vince Young/Jeff Reed route in having some shirtless fun with his buddies.

• MR. IRRELEVANT finds a classic Redskins hog hat that’s the tops.

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Gene Upshaw, Hall of Famer, NFLPA Director, Dies

Gene Upshaw, who made his name as an offensive lineman for the Raiders before becoming the executive director of the NFL Players Association, has died. The Hall of Famer, 63, had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just four days ago, and according to the NFL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION web site, he passed away with his family by his side.

Gene Upshaw

As NFL.COM notes, Upshaw had been involved with labor issues for more than 30 years, first as a player, and then as the head of the NFLPA. His tenure was not without controversy, however.

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Goodell Takes Aim At Record Rookie Contracts

Ah, the broadsides that inevitably come with labor negotiations. Per the AP, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is planning to take a crack at reducing the rookie contracts many think are ridiculous — considering they are much more than what veterans will earn. The commissioner called deals such as the ones Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan and Miami Dolphins O-lineman Jake Long signed “ridiculous.”

Roger Goodell in chair

It will be particularly difficult for Lord Rog to be able to extract a change in the rookie salary scale out of NFLPA head Gene Upshaw because the union can and will demand some serious concessions in any change to the draftees’ first contracts.

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Goodbye, Gumbel: Bryant Bolts From NFL Network

Mike Florio of PRO FOOTBALL TALK reports that Bryant Gumbel is bidding adieu to the NFL Network.

Bryant Gumbel NFL Network

The lead play-by-play announcer during the network’s first two years of existence is apparently hanging up the mike. In a released statement, Gumbel explains that he “thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity” to call games on NFLN, but added that he & the network “agreed that we’d all be better served going in different directions.”

Creative differences? Or a cute way to say you were canned? Either way, Bryant is bidding adieu. But it might have been his earlier comments about Gene Upshaw that could have paved the way for his eventual exit.

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Blog-O-Rama: Purple Jesus Will Break Your Hand

• THE 700 LEVEL has to hand it to Adrian Peterson, as Purple Jesus divinely demonstrates his powerful grip while exchanging pleasantries.

Adrian Peterson big hands

• THE SPORTING BLOG has a new look. MR. IRRELEVANT approves.

• EVERY DAY SHOULD BE SATURDAY is relieved that new Baylor coach Art Briles was able to reach his #1 spring practice goal - no one got injured.

• D.C. SPORTS BOG sneaks along news of a couple of Nats fans crashing the Opening Day festivities at the new ballpark.

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