Players file motion to add DeMaurice Smith to legal team


When NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith joined PFT Live last month for an extended interview, the conversation touched at one point on whether he’ll be joining the team of lawyers who are handling the Brady antitrust lawsuit.

“Are you going to be a member of the class counsel?” a certain Internet hack turned Internet talk-show host asked.  “Are you someone who can wear two hats and negotiate as a member of class counsel while still being the NFLPA executive director?”

Said Smith:  “Well, obviously you know what my background is and I don’t nearly practice as much law as I used to before I took this job but, look, it’s my job to give guidance and direction and advice as well as getting that advice from the Executive Committee that is an official advisor to the class and the Players Association is also an official advisor to the class so, the advice that I give sometimes falls into the category of legal issues, sometimes it falls into the category of business and regular settlement negotiations, but my job is to get our players back on the field as quickly as possible, serve their interests, and do our best to make sure that our fans enjoy the game that they love.”

Officially, that task includes Smith, who was a partner with the D.C. firm of Patton Boggs before landing his current job, joining the legal team.

Jason La Canfora of NFL Network reports that the players have filed a motion to add Smith as a member of the legal team.  Motions of this nature routinely are granted, and an obvious purpose in this instance would be to allow Smith to actively be involved in settlement talks without having to worry about the argument that the NFLPA* is still behaving as a union.

It also potentially means that Jeffrey Kessler, who as Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal told PFT Live earlier this week believes that the draft and any free-agency restrictions violate antitrust laws, will have diminished authority over the litigation going forward.  Indeed, it was Jim Quinn and not Kessler who handled Wednesday’s hearing before Judge Nelson, prompting speculation by some in the media (us included) that Smith recognizes that Kessler can be abrasive and gratuitously combative.

Kessler was benched for several days during the final week of mediation in early March.  This latest move could be interpreted as proof that Smith and the rest of the NFLPA* leadership realize that, while Kessler has significant value when used properly, there are certain situations in which he need to be reeled in and/or set aside.

40 responses to “Players file motion to add DeMaurice Smith to legal team

  1. sorry but i cant stand this dude. cant stand his face, his voice, the things he says, his hats, or really anything about him. especially when he says “dig”. he just seems like he is trying to be one of the cool guys when he says it and it doesnt sound right. he wants to make a name for himself. he will drag this thing out forever

  2. I was just thinking to myself how I’d enjoyed not hearing this clown’s name associated with this debacle for the last week or so.

    Him being added to the legal team should set things back nicely. Because we all really need this to get more bogged down than it already is.

  3. “an obvious purpose in this instance would be to allow Smith to actively be involved in settlement talks without having to worry about the argument that the NFLPA* is still behaving as a union.”

    Actually, it makes it harder to distinguish the class from the union making the decertification look even more shamtacular.

    Personally, I’m in the players camp. Definitely don’t approve of this move. Leave the antitrust lawsuit to the antitrust lawyers.

    This also raises a class certification issue if the case ultimately gets that far. How can a lawyer who represents the union (when it’s in existence) that benefits from the antitrust violations also represent the class of players challenging the antitrust violations? Seems problematic for the “adequate representation” prong.

  4. does anybody really need any more indication that the decertification is a total sham……..

  5. Don’t these dummies realize that this idiot is the reason they are in this predicament? I wish this guy would just go away already!!

  6. This also raises a class certification issue if the case ultimately gets that far. How can a lawyer who represents the union (when it’s in existence) that benefits from the antitrust violations also represent the class of players challenging the antitrust violations? Seems problematic for the “adequate representation” prong.

    its no problem if you are convinced that this judge who is liberal will rule in favor of the players……………….where it becomes a problem is if the owners take this to the 8th circuit and ultimately to the supreme court…….
    Once this writes law, which is unconstitutional, this becomes a great canidate for the supreme court, and then this tactic looks really bad.

  7. I wonder whether this indicates that the players are actually getting ready to go back to mediation?

  8. I hate that the players are attacking the draft system.

    Even if they don’t really want to get rid of the draft, pushing for it shows that they are swinging the pendulum so far one way with the hope of landing somewhere player-center.

    If they actually do want to get rid of the draft system, then I really hope the players lose (and lose hard).

    Protect the game. Make it better. Don’t make the MLB.

  9. If the motion is granted we as fans are screwed. Nothing positive can happen if this clown is involved.
    He has no desire to settle and probably could care less about Football, the players or the fans. he just wants to make his mark in legal and political circles. His motives are driven by that alone.

  10. If there is one thing that Mo is good at it’s wearing different hats. Unfortunately it is about the only thing.

  11. Adding another lawyer to the mix will definitely speed up the process of getting a deal done

  12. Once that scowling little lawn ornament is given a voice, Judge Nelson will stop asking for mediation and start asking for medication.

  13. Seems to me like all of these players filing this lawsuit have created some sort of… union or something… and now they want this DeMaurice Smith character… to… like run it or something…

  14. No, no, no! He shot his wad and see where the players are now. Worst move possible by the players.

  15. hes the leader of the defunct union. what a sham. i hope they make the players take a 98% paycut the losers. i have no sympathy for any of the players any more

  16. Didn’t Smith pledge that he would only take a salary of $0.68 as NLPA executive director if there was a lockout?

    I wonder if he’ll pledge not to charge any attorney’s fees as an attorney on this case?

    I reckon his normal charge on a case like this would be somewhere north of $500 per hour. He stands to make a lot of money as part of this legal team.

  17. Well, this is interesting.

    This whole mess was to give D. Smith cover. He knew that, if he did negotiate, he would have to reduce the players’ portion. Therefore, the NFLPA would not negotiate. Smith figured that, when they went to court, either (1) the players would win and he would get credit for getting the rich players more money, or (2) the players would lose and he could blame the judge. Either way, Smith would “win” and “look good” to the players.

    Now, it appears that Smith has to be part of the legal team and, if things do not turn out so well for the players, Smith will look bad.

  18. Wouldn’t it also lend strength to the League’s argument that the decertification is a sham tactic, since now, the head of the NFLPA is in a position to continue to influence the negotiations between the players and the union?

  19. I don’t see how this can be considered a good move by the players. Smith seems every bit as abrasive as Kessler. Looks to me as if Kessler is quickly becoming a scapegoat

  20. I smell a judicial influence here. First, there is a Conference call between the NFL, Players and Court. Then there is a media blackout ordered. Next comes a petition from the Players that Smith be added to the legal team.

    While I dont trust Smith and blame him for the actions that got the game to this point, adding Smith to the team seems to be a compromise to jumpstart the negotiations. Prior to this motion, it was either all in the Court or all in DC. The Owners already have their lawyers as part of the team.

    The media blackout prohibits either side to saying the other caved in the conference call. At this point, no news is the best news to come out of this.

  21. @realfann. Yes, we are afraid he is going to keep opening his big mouth and ask for 10 years of audited financial statemensts which he is not going to get.

  22. This guy is making out with the cash flow BIGTIME!…No wonder why he wasnt worried about his salary from the NFLPA*…..he can make more as part of the legal team…..

    I can’t wait for this to be over so that DeMO can go!

  23. It’s pretty odd that De Smith, someone who has accomplished significantly more than the idiot pro-owner fans who post here, is portrayed as lacking intelligence. Laughable.

  24. @ pfmadden

    Disagree with your position (I am taking the NFLs side)….but I completely agree with your comment. Adding D. Smith to the legal team is foolish and just helps the NFL in its position that the decertification is a sham and the players are still working together as though they are part of a union.

  25. De Smith does not lack intelligence……he is a snake in the grass and the players need to watch who they are associating with. This guy creeps me out…

  26. How unfortunate – I guess this more than proves that a “sham” certainly exists – actually, this little runt is a sham all by himself. Let’s all hope that his “15 minutes” are up very soon.

  27. Not only is it a sham, it means the end of negotiations. I predict no season for 2011. Thanks players.

  28. I’ve barely seen Tom Benson crack a smile. He’s got to be laughing his ass off right now.

  29. Well fans hang the hats in the closet. With Smith and his attitude the talks will go no where and the players will get their wish stay home and play in the video game championship 2011

  30. D should only be allowed on the player’s lawyer team if he resigns his NFLPA position and agress to stay away for five years afterwards… to prove it is not a sham.

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