Sometimes I think that these networks give WAY too much leeway to guys that they think are untouchable in the media. Thus has to be the case with the Host of HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” who is now in hot water after some comments about NFL Union head Gene Upshaw.
Gumbel was doing some rant (commentary) at the end of his show, and said the following to new NFL Commish Roger Goodell:
“Before he cleans out his office,” Gumbel said, “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.”
Wow. I guess Bryant wasn’t a big fan of the latest labor deal? Or maybe, and more likely, Upsahw blew off an interview with Gumbel, and it was Bryant’s way of getting back at the Union boss.
Whatever the case may be, Gumbel’s job at the NFL Network, where he was hired to be the PBP man for the networks 8 live games later in the 2006 season, apparently is now in question. Commish Paul gave a retort to the mouthy Gumbel in an interview with the AP:
“I think things that Bryant Gumbel said about Gene Upshaw and the owners are about as uninformed as anything I’ve read or heard in a long, long time, and quite inexcusable because they are subjects about which you can and should be better informed,” Tagliabue said.
It just irks me that Gumbel felt the need to play the “leash” card with Upshaw and his working realtionship with the outgoing commish. The two got along (Upshaw and Tags), and were able to get the labor deal worked out before things got any worse a few months back.
I am all about opinions and free speech, but I have to agree with Tags on this one – Gumbel should have done his homework, and been a little more accurate in his accusations about the realtionship between the two. Needless to say there won’t be a Christmas card exchange this year between Upshaw and Gumbel.