On Wednesday, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith was interviewed on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning. A source with knowledge of the dynamics between the NFL and the players’ union predicts that Smith’s comments about the rookie wage scale likely have ruffled some significant feathers at 280 Park Avenue.
Specifically, the source believes that Smith didn’t tell the whole truth regarding the union’s position on a possible rookie wage scale.
Smith said that the NFLPA proposed taking $200 million out of the current rookie compensation system, with only two requests. First, the union wanted to give $100 million to retired players. Second, the union wanted the other $100 million to be spent on proven veterans.
But there was a third condition, which Smith didn’t mention. A big one. The league contends (as NFL general counsel Jeff Pash said on the same show Thursday, and as Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal previously reported) that the union requested that the path to free agency be reduced to three years, with all franchise and restricted free agency tenders eliminated.
Said the source, “A P.R. campaign
in Washington that is misleading works because voters pull the lever on emotion. Here, the fan reaction, while important, is secondary. If trust is to be established, a good place to start is with honesty.”
We agree. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. (And, probably, again.) These two sides are acting like Hatfield and McCoy at a time when they should be behaving like Batman and Robin. As a result, the sport that has been bigger than Lennon and McCartney could make fans eventually react like Statler and Waldorf.