Former Buffalo Bill Joe DeLamielleure has been an outspoken critic of National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) head Gene Upshaw. DeLamielleure, a Hall of Famer who played 13 years for the Bills, is concerned with what he feels is a lack of concern on the part of Upshaw to address life after football. He was quoted last year as saying, "Our pensions suck, plain and simple."
How does Upshaw respond? He says "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 . . . damn neck."
In defense of Upshaw, the numbers indicate that progress has been made for NFL retirees. Upshaw has negotiated pension increases for retired players in each of the last four collective bargaining agreements. The benefit credit per season for players who played in the league before 1970 has nearly quadrupled in the last 13 years.
So why the over-the-top reaction? Why threaten DeLamielleure? Is this what your $1,000,000 a year job has taught you? Is this indicative of how you handle conflict?
I personally find Upshaw's comment disgraceful. In the new Roger Goodell era, and his unbending Code of Conduct for NFL players, it will be very interesting to see how he handles this situation.