DeMaurice Smith and the NFL Players Association is entering uncertain times. As the union and the NFL owners prep for the start of CBA negotiations, Smith has been busy prepping the players by telling them to save their money and be prepared for a potential work stoppage in the 2021 season. The head of the NFLPA, Smith, said that it is a “virtual certainty” that there will be a work stoppage.
Smith sat down with Bryant Gumbel and HBO Real Sports to talk about a wide range of issues facing the NFLPA and the NFL itself.
In the trailer, Gumbel questions Smith as to why he and the NFLPA agreed to a ten-year CBA and quite frankly doesn’t really buy what Smith is saying. Smith is trying to put a spin on it and you could argue that he has a point in that we don’t see as much about the economics and financials into the deal as he would, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that with the rapid, continuous growth of the NFL and how they make money, that the longer the CBA, the more the owners benefit at the expense of the players Smith is representing.
I don’t need to know the specific numbers of the CBA to realize that the owners benefit more the more years that the CBA covers. When the last CBA was agreed to in 2011, streaming games on Amazon or social media wasn’t even a thought. Now, Amazon is set to stream Thursday night games and while Twitter no longer has a deal to show games, they have a partnership to show NFL content and live programming. Maybe Smith felt that his side got a bigger piece of the pie that was expected in 2011 and in exchange was okay with having a ten-year agreement, but that seems like it’s more likely to backfire on the players due to the continuous growth of the NFL.
Gumbel and Smith also talked about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s role as the judge, jury and executioner of any player discipline as well as Goodell’s seemingly unfulfilled promise of developing a new personal conduct policy with the NFLPA back in 2014. Smith said that Goodell’s power could be a potential issue to bargain if the players deem it important to fight to change.
And when Gumbel described Goodell’s actions regarding changing the personal conduct policy without NFLPA input after publicly stating he would, Smith said it would mean Goodell lied. Real Sports reached out to the NFL for comment about what Smith said. NFL Spokesman Brian McCarthy said, “We repeatedly tried to engage the union but they had no interest in developing a tough and enhanced personal conduct policy.”
This seems like it’s going to be a very in-depth interview that’s going to give us an inside glimpse of the NFL Players Association. The interview as well as the show will premiere this Tuesday at 11 et.