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DeMaurice Smith tells Florio he welcomes settlement discussions

NFL Lockout Looms As Negotiations Reach Final Day Getty Images

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith broke some news early in his Monday talk on PFT Live.  (Still going as we type this.)

Smith told Florio that NFLPA* class counsel sent a letter to the NFL Monday morning regarding possible negotiations on before April 6.  The letter reminded the NFL that settlement discussions on the class action suit can occur anytime.

It is the clearest sign yet from the NFLPA* that talks could re-start soon, despite a report that said there was “no chance” it would happen before April 6.

“I think that the most important way we can move forward is we can sit down as businessmen and . . . deal with the lawsuit that is pending, and if both sides want to sit down and have civil, informative, and mutual conversations where we exchange relevant information, isn’t that the way we make sure football is played?” Smith said.  “Isn’t that a way to make sure the owners’ interest are served?  Isn’t that a way to make sure the players’ and fans’ interest are served?”

As Florio responded, that’s refreshing to hear.

We haven’t heard that message clearly over the last ten days.  The owners have said repeatedly they want to meet.  Now Smith says he welcomes conversation and a letter was sent to the owners Monday.

Let’s just hope we see quick action following these strong words from Smith.

UPDATE: Smith called the latest NFL offer the worst deal in the history of sports again, unprompted.

UPDATE II: Here’s video of Smith:

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54 Responses to “DeMaurice Smith tells Florio he welcomes settlement discussions”
  1. MichaelEdits says: Mar 21, 2011 12:42 PM

    If it doesn’t fit you must acquit.

    Your honor, why’re we even havin’ a trial?

  2. olskool711 says: Mar 21, 2011 12:44 PM

    I thought De’s union was dissolved.

    Why is he relevant?

  3. scudbot says: Mar 21, 2011 12:48 PM

    I’m certain it wasn’t the worst proposal made during the process of negotiations in the history of sports. It never was a “deal”. DeCertified Smith needs to shut down the drama factory.

  4. thevolcanokid says: Mar 21, 2011 12:49 PM

    He’s the worst deal in the history of sports!

    I got you good, De!

  5. joshuavkidd says: Mar 21, 2011 12:50 PM

    just listening to this clown aggravates me more and more… he’s clearly out to get this thing into litigation regardless of whatever kind of back-peddling he’s trying to pull off now

  6. warmachine2112 says: Mar 21, 2011 12:51 PM

    So Smith thinks “the most important way we can move forward is we can sit down as businessmen” but he reserves the right to be intractable and a dick.

    A puzzle in an enigma in a crappy hat.

    Just get a deal done, dammit.

  7. tdurk34 says: Mar 21, 2011 12:52 PM

    Instead of lobbing a grenade, “worst deal in history of sports”? Why not counter the offer? Take what they said and make an offer in areas where you think the offer is the worst? Clearly the owners thought the previous CBA was the worst, so now there are starting points. Get off the internet and get back in the room and make sure we the fans can “dig it” and have football in September!!!!!

  8. FinFan68 says: Mar 21, 2011 12:53 PM

    Since when is a legal settlement considered a legitimate form of “business”?

  9. scudbot says: Mar 21, 2011 12:54 PM

    So, the non-football litigator that the former NFLPA hired welcomes the NFL to cave on the lockout but does not welcome restarting CBA negotiations. Here’s your sign.

  10. dolphan343 says: Mar 21, 2011 12:55 PM

    I love how he puts the fans and players against the owners in his phrasing. Were his fingers crossed behind his back when he said that?

  11. biggerballz says: Mar 21, 2011 12:59 PM

    smith is just a mouth piece, if they really wanted to meet they wouldn’t be doing radio shows they’d be locked in meetings.

  12. biggerballz says: Mar 21, 2011 1:01 PM

    Also why is every pic of smith with his big mouth open????

  13. medtxpack says: Mar 21, 2011 1:03 PM

    Talking head…

  14. jfreddos says: Mar 21, 2011 1:04 PM

    Great interview Mike…well worth the listen.

  15. chapnastier says: Mar 21, 2011 1:06 PM

    I listened to this entire interview, this guy answered the softball questions with ease and answered the tough ones by dancing around them. Also something new that came up is what Vrabel said about him not being able to leave his kids football teams. Well Mr. Vrabel, you have made millions upon millions of dollars. If you were wise and invested properly you would have the ability to ensure your kids have it very easy as well.

    After hearing this, I firmly believe that no deal can be reached while he is calling the shots.

  16. skoobyfl says: Mar 21, 2011 1:09 PM

    Smith has a attitude that does not portray a man looking to get a deal done, it’s more like he is owed something. Those types have a way of falling harder than most, simply because they’re hyper-critical of anything against them.

    Take it easy & stop throwing everything towards one side or the other, that works better in negotiations.

  17. joshuavkidd says: Mar 21, 2011 1:11 PM

    has the NFLPA made a single concession? It seems to me their idea of “collective bargaining” is to demand everything they want and if they don’t get it, railroad this thing into court…?

  18. snowpea84 says: Mar 21, 2011 1:16 PM

    Sit down as business men huh? Wouldnt that require the union to have any businessmen to bring?

  19. moggy6actual says: Mar 21, 2011 1:17 PM

    Worse deal in the history of sports? Are you kidding me?

    So this deal is worse than what the players had in 1994 when Reggie White sued? If so, I’m sure the owners would be happy to roll their offer back to those days.

    I think the Roman Gladiators could dispute that even though they had a sweetheart deal. LOL

    Or perhaps the boxers from the ancient Olympic games where the ‘gloves’ were rope bound tightly around the fists of the pugilists. They were disfigured for life after boxing. No free healthcare either. Another sweetheart deal.

    Smith calls for ‘civil’ discussions and yet he still spews such rhetorical nonsense???

  20. wryly1 says: Mar 21, 2011 1:18 PM

    finfan

    Get a clue. The business of legal settlements occurs thousands of times a day. Give up the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and Santa Claus naivete.

  21. stairwayto7 says: Mar 21, 2011 1:18 PM

    The negotiations should have been broadcast live on NFL Network, like C-SPAN! Then the fans could see who was telling the truth and who was lying!

  22. moggy6actual says: Mar 21, 2011 1:21 PM

    scudbot says:
    Mar 21, 2011 12:48 PM
    I’m certain it wasn’t the worst proposal made during the process of negotiations in the history of sports. It never was a “deal”. DeCertified Smith needs to shut down the drama factory

    —————————————

    “Decertified Smith” – Haha.. I like that. Perhaps PF Talk can use that along with NFLPA*

  23. src3346 says: Mar 21, 2011 1:21 PM

    (9), 9, NINE Billlllllllllllllllllllllllllllion Dollars.
    Negotiate!

  24. biggerballz says: Mar 21, 2011 1:22 PM

    He should wear the jersey “he hate me” since everyone hates him!

  25. nolongerafan says: Mar 21, 2011 1:25 PM

    I am a 63 year old man who has loved football my entire life. It is a shame what both sides are doing to this great game. In fact it is no longer a game as they remind us daily.

    It is a business and both sides have their agenda. Neither of the agendas give one hoot about the fans.

    The owners want to crush the union and the union (i.e De Smith) wants to drag this into court, get Congress involved, and eventually have his BFF, Barack Obama, mandate what is going to happen much like other businesses where the Federal government has taken control.

  26. biggerballz says: Mar 21, 2011 1:26 PM

    The nfl should just give the players whatever they want, only include one clause. Every owner gets one punch on smith.

  27. eagleswin says: Mar 21, 2011 1:26 PM

    UPDATE: Smith called the latest NFL offer the worst deal in the history of sports again, unprompted.

    ——————-

    DeSmith has gone to the Johnny Cochran school of law.

  28. nagaswan says: Mar 21, 2011 1:26 PM

    Why do the players get paid anything? I’m done with this sport.

  29. nfl52 says: Mar 21, 2011 1:27 PM

    he is the worst part of all of this and probably the main reason we arent having free agncy right now.

  30. goodbyenfl says: Mar 21, 2011 1:31 PM

    Ok now I am offically done with the NFL, after 44years of loyal fanship. I even supported the White case, as thought players should be able to have a voice in where they play.

    But this now makes it clear that the NFLPA* is out to destroy the NFL as you know it.

    So be it, you can fight over even less money now, I can sure find other entertainment for my NFL dollars.

  31. realitypolice says: Mar 21, 2011 1:31 PM

    FinFan68 says:
    Mar 21, 2011 12:53 PM
    Since when is a legal settlement considered a legitimate form of “business”?
    ===========================

    Only for about 130 years. Mergers and acquisitions, takeovers, partnership buyouts, all types of complicated business deals almost always have a legal component.

    The CBA of 1993 was negotiated as a result of an anti-trust suit filed by decertified players, and was considered a “settlement” of the cases filed.

  32. hobartbaker says: Mar 21, 2011 1:31 PM

    The whole process has been a Bust of Double De’ proportion.

  33. johnpa315 says: Mar 21, 2011 1:36 PM

    Listened to most of the interview. Seems like he’s saying the same things repeatedly. He answers like a lawyer which won’t win anyone over. He blames the NFL for the current status of this mess and won’t concede on a single point. The NFL has done a much better job in PR which is why most people are siding with them vs the players….regardless of the facts. History tells us that fans usually side with players on most matters, but not in this case. The important thing right now is for the league to resume normal business before the draft so we can see our teams improve via trades, free agents, etc. I don’t believe anyone thinks we are going to see lost games 5 months from now. That would be disaster. The NFLPA* is risking litigation to get a better deal instead of negotiating it themselves?? If I were a player I would take issue with that strategy. There must be negotiators/lawyers available that can represent the players and get a fair deal. This whole process is mind boggling….so much money involved and a seemingly lack of competence…on both sides.

  34. footballrulz says: Mar 21, 2011 1:42 PM

    biggerballz says:
    Mar 21, 2011 1:01 PM
    Also why is every pic of smith with his big mouth open????
    __________________________________

    For some reason I’m thinking one would be hard pressed to find it in any other position. Even when he’s sleeping……

  35. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: Mar 21, 2011 1:43 PM

    The question isn’t whether settlement talks will occur between class counsel and the league, but rather when these will occur. This “breaking news” strikes me as public relations posturing aimed at deflating the owners’ argument that the players have been angling for litigation all along. If class counsel contacted the NFL (or vice versa) today with a date certain this week to initiate settlement discussions in advance of the April 6 hearing, then that would be breaking news.

  36. smacklayer says: Mar 21, 2011 1:44 PM

    Poor interview Mike, he didn’t answer a single question you asked. Every answer was the same lawyer speak, even when you asked him simple yes or no questions. I am really trying to be fair here, but this interview was a sham.

    Secondly Mike, I know you are trying to “fair balanced” and be nice to everyone, possibly so they come back to your show, but you are miserably weak on interviews. You let him just run and run on lawyer-speak and never held him down and forced an answer. When you try to make eveyone happy, you end of making nobody happy. I am not saying a take side, but at bare minimum, play devils advocate a little when you interview these people. Take more lessons from Bill Oreilly instead of Barbara Walters.

    Sorry, I give this interview a 3 out of 10.

  37. pjg1309 says: Mar 21, 2011 1:44 PM

    He and the players have to backtrack now, They have already proven themselves still to be a union, by indicating that there is “no chance that THEY will negotiate until after the April 6 court date”, which make decertification a sham and that means the Law suit goes the NFL’s favor. The players are praying that it does not because if the lockout is allowed to continue they have NO leverage and that mean this thing is going to go a long time until players start missing checks and there NONE UNION starts to crack and players start crossing the line to play. They are playing the PR game that is all. I do not believe anything that comes out of this guys mouth.

  38. joshuavkidd says: Mar 21, 2011 1:53 PM

    somewhere Troy Vincent is laughing… serves the players right for taking this D-bag over Vincent.

  39. blantoncollier says: Mar 21, 2011 1:56 PM

    I used my daughters middle school social studies text book to make sure I understood the history of unions in America. As a good Democrat and a business owner that has signed a Labor Agreement I thought I understood the history.

    Again and again in history Unions were formed to improve working conditions, improve wages and benefits. And also created apprentice systems. Maybe DeCertified should borrow my Daughters Text book.

    The NFL has proposed retaining a 16 game schedule, significant changes in both in season and off season practices and OTA. Those would be working conditions.

    They have improved health benefits for current and retired players. Including new payments to injured players never offered before.

    They have shown the NFLPA* how they could earn more in salary over the course of the proposed agreement.

    And they have reduced the rookie wage scale guaranteeing more in salary to longer more senior players. A legal apprentice system.

    Seems to me, Managment has made an offer to the Union that most unions would love especially today. Now its Dee’s turn to RESPOND not walk.
    I dont see how improved working conditions, better health benefits, imrpoved benefits to retirees and improved salary is the worst deal in American Sports.

  40. saberstud75 says: Mar 21, 2011 2:01 PM

    “Isn’t that a way to make sure the owners’ interest are served? Isn’t that a way to make sure the players’ and fans’ interest are served?”

    I wonder what “fan interest” De Smith is trying to get served. How about not getting railroaded at the stadium due to overpaid players that cause all the costs to be over inflated!

  41. realitypolice says: Mar 21, 2011 2:23 PM

    @blantoncollier:

    Studying the history of unions in this country in no way whatsoever informs us about the player/owner dynamic.

    People need to stop seeing this as a classic employer/employee relationship. As the NFL has pointed out many, many times, the players and owners are partners- they share revenues.

    Steel worker salaries are not determined by the revenues of the Steel Plant. Steel workers do not individually negotiate their salaries, benefits, and contract terms with their employers through agents.

    The things you point out- the schedule, health benefits, rookie wage scale, are irrelevant at this point- they could be worked out quickly and in fact some of them probably already are.

    This is a BUSINESS dispute, where one side is attempting to change how revenues are split, and the other side is fighting that effort.

    Take whatever side you want, but please stop acting like this situation is any way comparable to other labor situations in this country or has any parallel to anything in your daughter’s history book.

  42. vadog says: Mar 21, 2011 2:24 PM

    Neither side is negotiating responsibly or honestly. I ususally I favor the players in these labor squabbles, but this time the players have sunk to the level of ownership.

    The ticking you hear is the clock ticking off the days, hours and minutes before fans start “divorcing” themselves from the NFL.

  43. realitypolice says: Mar 21, 2011 2:31 PM

    pjg1309 says:
    Mar 21, 2011 1:44 PM
    He and the players have to backtrack now, They have already proven themselves still to be a union, by indicating that there is “no chance that THEY will negotiate until after the April 6 court date”, which make decertification a sham and that means the Law suit goes the NFL’s favor.
    ============================

    Wrong. “Union” is a legal term. Either something is a union or it’s not. They filed a class-action lawsuit, which if you don’t know what that means, involves more than one person, so saying “we”means nothing. They are obviously still working together, and it doesn’t mean they are still a union.

    Which is why every single legal analyst I have read or seen considers it almost a legal certainty that the players will get their injunction April 6th.

    Which, by the way, is what every football fan, regardless of which side they are on, should be rooting for because it is the only chance we have for real free agency, training camps and football.

    Because if the owners win, the lockout continues and we are back where we started. Yes, the union would eventually cave, but not before some, if not all, of the season is lost.

  44. poweredtoast says: Mar 21, 2011 2:37 PM

    I’m starting to think the comments are being filtered out – there is no way 95% of the commenting community on PFT is so ignorant as to keep blaming the players when the NFL has been proven to be dirty, colluding, and negotiating in poor faith.

  45. chapnastier says: Mar 21, 2011 2:44 PM

    @ reality

    Since the NFL and its players are “partners” as you have stated, would it be safe to assume that the players will open up their financial books to justify having a higher salary? Would the players also be subject to giving a portion of their endorsement money back to the owners?

  46. pjg1309 says: Mar 21, 2011 2:49 PM

    The more and more I listen to this guy the more angry I get at the players. The owners are in the BUSINESS of football to make money. That being said without the owners there is no Football, period. Smith says that the owners did a deal to assure they got money IN THE CASE of a lockout, should they be blamed for the foresight that this might happen, in my opinion it is good business as they have so graciously called it. A Business not a game, and who is left holding everything, the fans. On this one I blame the players and their spokespeople. They are hoping and praying that the courts will rule in their favor because if they do not the fans, at least this fan, will have a hard time believing anything they have to say.

  47. mrfrostyj says: Mar 21, 2011 2:52 PM

    While as a fan I appreciate trying to get spun to pick a side but fact is Demaurice Smith is not a good PR guy. The guy comes off as a jerk and shady which is 100% what you need as far as contract negotiations but don’t put the guy as your media spokesperson and expect people to relate to him. That would be like the owners throwing Titans owner Bud Adams out there as their spokesperson and not understanding why the fans turn on them as Adams flips them the bird and says “if you don’t like what we want you can kiss it”.

  48. These pretzels are making me thirsty! says: Mar 21, 2011 2:56 PM

    “The letter reminded the NFL that settlement discussions on the class action suit can occur anytime.”
    ——–
    Yes, the NFLPA* welcomes the owners ending the lockout at anytime. That is what the case before the courts is, and a settlement of which involves ending the lockout.

    What is clear from this, and from the post yesterday, is that the NFLPA* have used very specific wording toward a very specific purpose: they are willing to take calls from the NFL about ending the lockout. This is not the same as negotiating a new CBA.

    PFT, you are misleading your readers. Especially with the site founder and senior editor being an experienced labor lawyer–you are spinning the facts here. Is that to cater to the union? Get the readers and commenters all riled up? Does it create controversy and drive page views? I don’t know.

  49. realitypolice says: Mar 21, 2011 3:27 PM

    chapnastier says:
    Mar 21, 2011 2:44 PM
    @ reality

    Since the NFL and its players are “partners” as you have stated, would it be safe to assume that the players will open up their financial books to justify having a higher salary? Would the players also be subject to giving a portion of their endorsement money back to the owners?
    ==================

    Umm……….no. What the players do or do not have is irrelevant for two reasons:

    1) It has nothing to with league revenues. players aren’t claiming they need more money included in the total shared revenue due to their higher cost of living. It is the owners who want to reduce the shared revenue because it is costing them more to conduct their business.

    2) The players are not in fact asking for higher salaries, if you understand the system. They just want the same cut of revenues as before. If revenues go down, their salaries go down. If revenues go up, their salaries go up.

    The endorsement argument is just silly. The players and owners aren’t partners in that, just as they aren’t partners in the Owner’s stadium businesses, which is why the owners don’t share those revenues with the players.

    If you and I were in a business together, and we each owned other business separately, would we share revenues on those other businesses?

  50. bengalfannomatterwhat says: Mar 21, 2011 3:39 PM

    I wish everyone would stop the whole partner talk because from a legal standpoint the definition of business partners means 2 or more “partners” share profit AND LOSSES of a business and seeing how they want nothing to do with sharing costs and stadium upkeep they are not partners just because the league wants to avoid upsetting their cashcow plz only post about things you have knowledge of the players need to suck it up they play a game i would love to play for money i cant imagine life must be so hard remind me to shed a tear for these over privileged mamas boys who need agents unions and anyone but themselves to make choices for them sign a deal play football and. Dont cry about money you dont deserve im a real sports fan idc if its pro or high school talent i just watch the game

  51. iseek11 says: Mar 21, 2011 4:09 PM

    I’m sick of these games.

    Boycott all NFL merchandise for 2011. Regardless of when this is settled, do not spend one dollar on NFL merchandise. Go to NFL Merchandise Boycott on Facebook to vent at http://www.facebook.com/pages/NFL-Merchandise-Boycott/203043413056497?sk.

    If we go back to spending like usual after a new CBA, it will tell them it’s ok to do this again next time the CBA expires and the next time. Hit them where it hurts. The damage is already done. Free agency and the draft are affected. When the NFL come calling for your money…tell them “No Sale”

  52. mrfrostyj says: Mar 21, 2011 4:27 PM

    @ bengalfannomatterwhat

    Gotta stop you on one matter. To say they get paid to play a game and putting it the way you did kind of oversimplifies the situation. If this was just a “game” anyone could do it.

    Fact is I don’t know how old you are or your background but I know that I played football for a long time throughout my academic life. I HATED spring practices, two a days, dieting and the training it took to play “a game” for 60 minutes once a week but I did it. That is when I was younger. I am almost 30 and while I attempt to stay in shape I couldn’t imagine right now doing the offseason activities, like mini-camp etc at that level at this age like alot of them are doing. Maybe you should go back and look at the hits Colts reciever Austin Collie took this past season or what happend to a linebacker every time they got in Peyton Hillis’s way. If you can watch that and still tell me that they don’t diserve the pay they get for what they’re putting their bodies through, you are a tougher man then I am.

    Remember, if it weren’t for these agents and unions, you wouldn’t have much of an NFL to watch in the first place.

  53. commandercornpone says: Mar 21, 2011 6:12 PM

    well he is a lawyer so obviously he is lying.

  54. commandercornpone says: Mar 21, 2011 6:15 PM

    the owners and teams came first. the agents are just vampires like lawyers and union heads that dont go away even after they sham decertify.

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