In 2015, the NFL Players Association re-elected DeMaurice Smith as its Executive Director. Smith, 53, has been the Executive Director of the NFLPA since 2009 and negotiated the 2011 NFL CBA on behalf of the NFLPA.
Cyrus Mehri, 56, is a civil rights lawyers who has won big settlement cases against massive corporations such as Coca-Cola, Texaco, Ford, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, and others.
Mehri wants to take on the NFL for the NFLPA in place of Smith.
In an interview with Bryant Gumbel on HBO’s Real Sports, Mehri announced his intentions to run against Smith in the next NFLPA Executive Director elections in March 2018.
“I’m gonna throw my hat in the ring to challenge De Smith for the leadership of the NFLPA,” Mehri told Gumbel in the clip.
If Mehri were to win, it wouldn’t be his first rodeo with the NFL. Back in 2002, he spoke with Gumbel about the need for the “Rooney Rule.” Shortly after Mehri’s appearance on Real Sports, the NFL instituted the “Rooney Rule,” which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for every head coaching vacancy they have.
“It’s intolerable for them to continue to have practices that are biased, that everyone in this country knows about. Something has to be done and now is the time,” Mehri said back in 2002.
Now the lawyer wants to help NFL players when the CBA is up after the 2020 season.
Mehri: “The more I dug into this and saw how unfair the last CBA deal was, the more I felt I had to answer the call.”
Gumbel: “Going back to those negotiations, what do you think he could’ve gotten that he didn’t?”
Mehri: “The players went backwards economically in a massive way, and that’s hundreds of millions of dollars that were forfeited and De Smith gave the commissioner a blank check. ‘Dear Commissioner, you can do whatever you want on player discipline.’ Well, we’re gonna fix that.”
Gumbel: “Do you know Roger Goodell? Does he know you?”
Mehri: “Yes, I know him very well.
Mehri: “Professional relationship.”
Gumbel: “What do you think the NFL owners, Commissioner Goodell think of Cyrus Mehri?”
Mehri: “Honest broker. Someone with integrity and someone who gets things done. I think I’ve earned their respect and that respect I’m gonna carry forward on behalf of the NFL players.”