I’ve been spending way too much time micromanaging my fantasy football team lately, and one cool thing that anyone who’s been watching the games probably noticed is the fact that the league is honoring former Oakland Raider Gene Upshaw, who passed away about a month ago now, on 8/20/08. Every player will be wearing either a patch on their jersey or a decal on their helmets with his initials “GU” and number 63.
On top of being a Hall of Fame player, what’s interesting about Upshaw is that he was the director of the National Football League Player’s Association (NFLPA), the labor union that represents the players in the NFL, until his death.
Dave Zirin has really gotten me to look at professional sports as a labor struggle, with the athletes as labor and the billionaire team owners as management, so I appreciate Gene Upshaw not only for repping the city of Oakland but also for being such an active member of the union, and the labor struggle within the world of pro-football. RIP.