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De Smith says players aren’t attacking the draft, sort of

DeMaurice Smith AP

During a visit with ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning that was delayed by a conference call with players, NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith addressed Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contention that the players are attacking the draft.

Calling Goodell’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal “bizarre,” Smith engaged in some lawyerly semantics, suggesting that the players want a draft but not saying what needed to be said to ensure that the draft will continue beyond 2011.

“If he truly believes that the draft is something that we’re attacking, then I don’t know what’s gonna happen on Thursday, but the last time I checked my calender, the draft is scheduled to move forward,” Smith quipped.

Smith didn’t nearly go far enough.  Of course the draft will occur in 2011.  The expired labor deal expressly contemplated that the draft will occur in 2011.  The question isn’t whether the draft will happen now, the question is whether it will happen later.

As we pointed out earlier today, the only way the draft will be safe beyond 2011 is if:  (1) the players say unequivocally that they are not attacking the draft; and (2) the two sides work out a labor deal that prevents Andrew Luck or any members of the 2012 draft class from filing an antitrust lawsuit of their own attacking the draft.

Smith has said nothing that would satisfy either of those two critical conditions.

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28 Responses to “De Smith says players aren’t attacking the draft, sort of”
  1. zerored78 says: Apr 26, 2011 10:06 AM

    The players saying unequivocally that they are not attacking the draft is meaningless until the players reform a union and a CBA is agreed to that includes a draft. All it takes is one player getting drafted and choosing to challenge the team’s sole right to sign him to put things back up in the air.

  2. argile2000 says: Apr 26, 2011 10:06 AM

    “During a visit with ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning that was delayed by a conference call with players, NFLPA*” <— This boggles my mind! Why is he having a conference call with a union that does not exist? SHAM!!! And the judge cannot see this????? Come on man!

  3. moochzilla says: Apr 26, 2011 10:06 AM

    Goodell’s communications are always bizarre. And if you work in PR you know why – each message is the product of about 100 PR people and lawyers and owners.

    It’s a disjointed mess every time. Everything out of his mouth is focus-grouped to death.

    There’s no “there there” when it comes to the commish.

  4. sj39 says: Apr 26, 2011 10:13 AM

    Just reading his name makes me fell the need to shower.

  5. commoncents says: Apr 26, 2011 10:13 AM

    I want football as much as the next guy, but i am frustrated the lockout was overturned because I am positive this leverage will make it impossible for the player reps to negotiate in good faith. Be honest, we all want the draft, just come out and say it!!

  6. richsaint says: Apr 26, 2011 10:14 AM

    He wont say it because 1) It gives him more and the players more leverage in their lawsuit and 2) He likes to come off as cool and being able to make fun of the commissioner is so cool.
    3)If he were to admit that it was even in the litigation it would mean that the players would have to stop acting like sheep and actually read what has been filed on their behalf. As steven jackson made apparent they have no idea what is in their own litigation.

  7. tigerhebert says: Apr 26, 2011 10:16 AM

    I am just ready for an end to all this legal mess. Let’s get on with the draft, free agency, and the rest of the off season!

    I invite you all to check out my Mock Draft of the 1st Round at http://tigerreport.blogspot.com/

    Thanks!

  8. clintonportisheadd says: Apr 26, 2011 10:17 AM

    If the players are “attacking the draft” then why did they inform the NFL that they would be happy to continue the previous CBA?

    That previous CBA (the one the owners pulled the plug on thereby starting the mess we now find ourselves in) does and would continue to keep the draft just the way it is now. And I have not heard from any reporting during the failed mediation sessions in DC that the players wanted to do away with the draft. A rookie wage scale yes. Ending the draft no.

  9. jw731 says: Apr 26, 2011 10:17 AM

    He just wants to be invited to Mike & Mikes wedding……

  10. biggerballz says: Apr 26, 2011 10:18 AM

    until the next year when a new group of college players can sue, without the union the NFL will become 32 independent businesses and we’ll be watching the jones vs. snyder spending spree teams every year. The thing that pisses me off is in order to win the battle the players are losing the war and destroying the nfl.

  11. t1mmy10 says: Apr 26, 2011 10:20 AM

    Once again demoron spews propaganda and half truths

  12. bowsi says: Apr 26, 2011 10:20 AM

    Well, well, well….. Yes, I’ve been one of the guys thinking reasonably all along and never thought for one moment the owners would prevail in this legal tug of war crap, and still think the same now that the lockout has been lifted. I believe the NFL is truly unique but in no way should they be entitled to undermine the foundation of the laws that allow free enterprise to flourish in this country. The pro-business appellate judges may grant a stay just to complicate the issue but to set further precedent to the antitrust laws is unfathomable to me. I know a lot of you believe that the owners are the business men taking all the risk and have the right to reap the benefits, to this I say crap. The players are equal partners, with businessmen like Peyton Manning who forgoes the opportunity to make $50 million a year by choosing to be part of union which then allows a draft and all sorts of other benefits that allow the NFL to be truly great. The NFL in an institution with solid leadership and will continue to flourish no matter who owns the teams, unless those very owners undermine their relationship with their player partners because they believe they are not fiscally responsible enough to manage their affairs which is exactly what the owners are doing in this situation.

  13. fishman5656 says: Apr 26, 2011 10:26 AM

    This guy is the antichrist – football has gone downhill since he became the leader of the NFLPA. Just watch the Real Sports profile of this guy.

  14. harmcityhomer says: Apr 26, 2011 10:32 AM

    If he is a trade association leader and not a union leader, he can not agree to a draft beyond 2011. All he can say is what he did. It is up in the air unless there is a CBA with a union that no longer exists.

  15. tednancy says: Apr 26, 2011 10:33 AM

    De Smith is trying the either (a) ruin the NFL, or (b) use the very real threat of ruining the NFL as leverage to force a the owners to accede to a bad deal.

    Either way, how could anyone still support what the players are doing?

  16. ijr213 says: Apr 26, 2011 10:37 AM

    Until the actual terms of the lawsuit actually remove any terminology of the draft being illegal, I won’t believe a word that Smith says.

  17. Rob Hoffmann says: Apr 26, 2011 10:40 AM

    argile2000 says:

    “During a visit with ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning that was delayed by a conference call with players, NFLPA*” <— This boggles my mind! Why is he having a conference call with a union that does not exist?

    The NFLPA* exists. It is, however, no longer the bargaining agent for the players — it is simply a trade association, a group of people who happen to have the same job… like the American Bar Association is for lawyers, for example.

    One risk the NFLPA* takes in this is that they may not be voted back in as the union after the legalities are over. What’s to stop a group of players from organizing without the NFLPA*, exactly (perhaps with help from the Teamsters, or AFL-CIO, or another large union)? The players would then have to vote for which union they want to have represent them… which would be interesting…

  18. southmo says: Apr 26, 2011 10:41 AM

    And I didn’t think D. Smith could get more annoying…. guess I was wrong. He can.

  19. jimr10 says: Apr 26, 2011 10:42 AM

    Does anyone else think de. Smith looks a little like Pinochio? It seems his nose is growing.

  20. mdagnew1 says: Apr 26, 2011 10:48 AM

    Gene Upshaw is rolling around in his grave. This moron is an absolute train wreck…

  21. firethorn1001 says: Apr 26, 2011 11:02 AM

    Not sure why they are fighting over a $9B dollar pie.

    They should be fighting over a $7B dollar pie because that is the way it is headed.

    Dude needs to just start singing ‘I want it all’ like Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka.

  22. zaggs says: Apr 26, 2011 11:06 AM

    The two sides cannot work out a labor deal. There is no body representing the players. Hence the owners must negotiate with every player.

  23. scytherius says: Apr 26, 2011 11:08 AM

    Well of course they aren’t. It is a required argument in the antitrust suit. You can’t leave it out.

    Love the non-lawyers prattling on here like they actually know something.

    It’s like people going ballistic because someone asks for, what seems to be and is, an absurd sum of money in a civil suit. The reason is typically because most states won’t permit you to recover more than that for which you ask so you just pick some random large number.

    Whenever you file suit, especially in complex litigation like this, you will make many an argument, a good deal you don’t expect to win, and some you simply have to make to rise to the level of the “legal fiction”.

    The antitrust maneuver is a tactical response as all moves by both sides are tactical responses to negotiation on this issue.

    I know this is a sports site but my god don’t oyu know a lawyer who can at least take 10 min and fill you in so that we don’t perpetuate more ignorance like the “news entertainment” BS that is all over cable these days?

    If there is one truism about Americans, they have no problem blathering on about something of which they know nothing. Many of these comments prove that axiom.

  24. argile2000 says: Apr 26, 2011 11:15 AM

    @bowsi

    If Good ole Peyton Manning is a partner then he needs to open his books. I think the NFL should see how much he makes off all those endorsements.

  25. redeyemckay says: Apr 26, 2011 12:13 PM

    If there is no union, why is anyone talking to De Smith? Seems like he is still running the show.

  26. 8drinkminimum says: Apr 26, 2011 12:27 PM

    To Bowsi:

    If the players were equal partners then the NFL should get half of Manning’s endorsement dollars.

    It isn’t a partnership in the legal sense. It’s a revenue sharing relationship.

  27. tednancy says: Apr 26, 2011 12:43 PM

    scytherius says: Apr 26, 2011 11:08 AM

    Well of course they aren’t. It is a required argument in the antitrust suit. You can’t leave it out.

    Love the non-lawyers prattling on here like they actually know something.

    It’s like people going ballistic because someone asks for, what seems to be and is, an absurd sum of money in a civil suit. The reason is typically because most states won’t permit you to recover more than that for which you ask so you just pick some random large number.

    Whenever you file suit, especially in complex litigation like this, you will make many an argument, a good deal you don’t expect to win, and some you simply have to make to rise to the level of the “legal fiction”.

    The antitrust maneuver is a tactical response as all moves by both sides are tactical responses to negotiation on this issue.

    I know this is a sports site but my god don’t oyu know a lawyer who can at least take 10 min and fill you in so that we don’t perpetuate more ignorance like the “news entertainment” BS that is all over cable these days?

    If there is one truism about Americans, they have no problem blathering on about something of which they know nothing. Many of these comments prove that axiom.
    ===========================

    You don’t know what you are talking about, which is ironic, because that’s precisely what you accuse everyone else of.

    And how, exactly, is attacking the draft a “legal fiction?” Do you even know what a “legal fiction” is? Not that it really matters, but I have been practicing law for 13 years.

    Bottom line: whether the union truly desires the destruction of the NFL as we know it or whether they are using the threat of destroying the NFL as “leverage,” the players are acting against the interests of the game, and by extension, the fans.

  28. thefiesty1 says: Apr 26, 2011 4:36 PM

    Haven’t we heard enough from this jerk?

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