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View Full Version : Vikings C Matt Birk: "Gene Upshaw is a piece of ****"


Garcia Bronco
03-03-2006, 08:55 AM
From Bronco Militia and SSJ

Birk pins much of the blame on Upshaw for labor standoff
The Vikings center did not play last year, but he sure delivered a Pro Bowl-sized verbal pancake on the executive director of the NFL Players' Association when no CBA deal was reached on Thursday.

Vikings center Matt Birk isn't a big fan of the players union in general and of Gene Upshaw, its executive director, in particular.
"Don't put this in the paper ... no, wait, go ahead and put it in," Birk said. "Gene Upshaw is a piece of" well, you know.

Birk spoke as the union and the NFL were about to go Tony Soprano on the goose that lays the kind of golden eggs other sports can only dream about.

Fortunately, both sides blinked. Seven hours before what would have been the beginning of the end of the NFL's salary cap, it was mutually agreed that three more days are required for someone -- anyone! -- to come to his senses and extend the collective bargaining agreement. So free agency will start on Monday, not today.

"It's a joke, it really is," Birk said. "Everyone is making money. A lot of money. You think anyone wants to hear about the money problems of the NFL owners or players? It's bad pub for the league. It's bad for all of us."

Birk was the Vikings' union rep until he couldn't stomach Upshaw's "propaganda and poor leadership" any longer. He has fought Upshaw on other fronts over the years, speaking out against the inordinate distribution of money to unproven rookies and Upshaw's refusal to fight for guaranteed contracts that players in other sports enjoy.

"Someone asked him about me when I was going through my deal last summer trying to get my contract guaranteed," Birk said. "He said he played with a lot of great centers in his time and none of them made $4 million. That's our union rep? C'mon."

Birk doesn't place all of the blame for the CBA mess at Upshaw's feet. But he does blame him for not being forthright while explaining what it would mean to the players not to have a salary cap in 2007.

"When you go to those CBA meetings, you always feel like you're being sold something instead of being given the straight facts," Birk said. "Through all the meetings leading up to this, it was always: 'The owners don't want an uncapped year. We'll get a deal, and if we don't, so what? There will be an uncapped year and there will be crazy money out there.'

"The reality is that's not the case. And you're seeing that it's not the leverage we were told it would be."

While the lack of a salary cap would encourage the richer teams to overspend on certain players, there also would be rules in place that would be unfavorable to players.

Players would become unrestricted free agents after six seasons, not four. Raises would be capped at 30 percent above the previous season. And there would be no minimum salary cap, whereas now it's 54 percent of the defined gross revenue.

"And we'll lose some of our 401(k) and annuities, and some benefits, too," Birk said. "That's a huge deal to the younger guys making the minimum who might not have 10-year careers. Those are guys the union needs to look out for.

"Instead, you go there and it's like some kind of religious revival. You don't feel you're getting the true message. And they're always talking too fast."

Birk wishes the actual players had more power and say in how the union operates.

"Too many guys in the league just accept whatever Gene says," Birk said. "I don't know why no one has called this guy out."

It's hard to believe we're discussing labor unrest when the NFL generates $5.2 billion a year and signed the largest TV deal in sports history. The league gets $3.7 BILLION in TV money this year alone.

"Gene thinks we're making all this money because of Gene Upshaw," Birk said. "No, we're making all of this money because of TV. This sport is huge, and what's going on right now is hurting all of us."

http://www.startribune.com/101/story/282098.html (http://www.startribune.com/101/story/282098.html)

Bowser
03-03-2006, 09:00 AM
Whoa.

Dissention in the ranks. And Birk isn't wrong, btw. The NFL turned into a powerhouse BECAUSE of television.

jspchief
03-03-2006, 09:01 AM
Great post.

Props to Birk for speaking the truth. It's too bad he has a history with Upshaw, because some might see that as making his credibility questionable. But I think it's good that there are guys out there that recognize that they make be taking the wrong approach.

Nate Kaeding, the SD kicker was on Des Moines radio this morning basically saying that everyone is making good money and he thinks they should just play ball.

It's nice to hear there are players that see this from a reasonable point of view.

kaplin42
03-03-2006, 09:04 AM
OMG, someone out there has common sense. How did that happen? Go Birk for realizing what is really going on with Upshaw.

Garcia Bronco
03-03-2006, 09:08 AM
Birk...I believe is an Ivy Leaguer

SBK
03-03-2006, 09:10 AM
Birk is right about one thing, unions don't look out for their members, they look out for the union.

KCTitus
03-03-2006, 09:11 AM
Im of the opinion that the rank and file arent all that excited about the actions of their leadership on this. This just confirms that.

HC_Chief
03-03-2006, 09:21 AM
Props to Birk! (even if he is a dirty stinking viqueen)

Iowanian
03-03-2006, 09:30 AM
It'd be nice if more players would step up and speak out a little too.

In reality, its the vets that are going to get hurt by this thing unless its corrected.

jidar
03-03-2006, 09:31 AM
Hopefully he will get enough players to listen to him and they can put some pressure on Upshaw to get this deal done.

BCD
03-03-2006, 09:57 AM
Methinks Birk is not a Union man...

ChiefsCountry
03-03-2006, 10:41 AM
Well Birk did graduate from Harvard.

Extra Point
03-03-2006, 10:58 AM
I'd like to compare Birk's and Upshaw's Wonderlic scores. Birk pegged the TV issue. "Upshaw's answer would be Gene Upshaw." How much is Upshaw drawing from the union? Like the Wonderlic scores, that's kept "confidential."

ChiefsFanatic
03-03-2006, 11:04 AM
I don't know what college Upshaw went to, but didn't Birk go to an Ivy League school? I think it was Harvard.

I would think that the majority of star players are a year or more into deals that they would not get again at this point in their careers. I have no facts to back that, but most veterens lose money as they get older because of the obvious reasons.

I wonder what guys will think when they go from a 5 year $35 million dollar contract to a 2 year $6 million dollar contract. Maybe then they won't be so happy with Upshaw.

Mecca
03-03-2006, 11:12 AM
It'd be nice if more players would step up and speak out a little too.

In reality, its the vets that are going to get hurt by this thing unless its corrected.

Most NFL players aren't smart enough to realize what Birk does.....So they just back whatever Upshaw says and don't think twice about it.

Now I've said I think think the players should get more, but not at the cost of ruining the league. They want 60 when what they get now is 56, if the owners have offered 58 then they should take that as the compromise.

I do agree with Birk, they should be trying to do something to get some guarenteed contracts for players more so than getting a higher %. There are alot of things for players that can get really screwed up too, if the owners are willing to give them anything more than they get now they should take it........

StcChief
03-03-2006, 11:17 AM
I mentioned in another thread the rank and file may not be happy losing the CBA and going down the other road.

Birk speaks out for players, or at least gets them thinking maybe calling there team rep....

Upshaw does have the HOF and Raider thing going for him though... :rolleyes:

pikesome
03-03-2006, 11:22 AM
Most NFL players aren't smart enough to realize what Birk does.....So they just back whatever Upshaw says and don't think twice about it.

Now I've said I think think the players should get more, but not at the cost of ruining the league. They want 60 when what they get now is 56, if the owners have offered 58 then they should take that as the compromise.

I do agree with Birk, they should be trying to do something to get some guarenteed contracts for players more so than getting a higher %. There are alot of things for players that can get really screwed up too, if the owners are willing to give them anything more than they get now they should take it........

This is a result of the advocacy groups is this country. If you speak out against the group you will be vilified and destroyed. It doesn't matter what group. If I just wanted to play football and avoid trouble I'd keep my mouth shut and hope someone fixes this crap.

alpha_omega
03-03-2006, 11:37 AM
Excellent thread...especially the title!!!!!!!

RaiderH8r
03-03-2006, 12:08 PM
I liked Birk before. Excellent football player. I said his injury last season was the worst thing to happen to the Vikes. The guy has talent and brains, I bet he scored better than 6 on his Wonderlic.