In his Real Sports interview with incoming NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Gumbel concluded the interview with the following:
"Before he cleans out his office have Paul Tagliabue show you where he keeps Gene Upshaw's leash. By making the docile head of the players union his personal pet, your predecessor has kept the peace without giving players the kind of guarantees other pros take for granted. Try to make sure no one competent ever replaces Upshaw on your watch."
Incendiary? Sure. Out of line? Well, I don’t know. Does it pass the true-or-false test? Yeah, I think it does. I think Upshaw has been Tagliabue’s Chihuahua as long as he’s been the union president. Upshaw’s pension negotiations have always seemed to favor the higher end players, and disregarding those who need the help the most; the guys who have a 2 year career as a special teams backup.
And now some people are actually playing the racist card on Gumbel! Yep, the same Gumbel who has won the Frederick D. Patterson from the United Negro College Fund, the Martin Luther King award from the Congress of Racial Equality, Three NAACP Image Awards, the Africa’s Future Award from UNICEF, and who has reportedly raised more than $8 million for the aforementioned United Negro College Fund.
Upshaw has had no comment. The truth hurts, I suppose. Tags tried to laugh it off, calling the remarks called Gumbel’s comments ‘uninformed and quite inexcusable.’ but they were unquestionably on the money, in my opinion. Make no mistake, I think Bryant Gumbel is an arrogant, egomaniacal blowhard; and his comments were, for someone about to start a gig calling NFL games for the NFL network, completely moronic.
But they were 100% on the money.