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DeMaurice Smith gave few details on NFLPA* call

DeMaurice Smith AP

NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith told the players on Thursday’s conference call not to “believe the hype,” and that a deal isn’t close. Other than that, he didn’t say much.

One of the players on the call, Minnesota’s Ben Leber, said Smith didn’t offer many details to the players about the status of negotiations.

“The only thing I’ll say about the call was it was nothing enlightening,” Leber told the Star Tribune. “It was pretty vague and rightfully so. We’ve had some issues I think with guys not being totally confidential after those phone calls so it was pretty vague. [Smith] did sound a little bit more optimistic than he has in the past, but very cautiously optimistic. I think that things are moving in the right direction. It sounds like there are a lot of things that have been talked about, nothing totally agreed upon, but I think they are making progress.”

Leber’s comments suggest that Smith doesn’t want players to get their hopes up: He’s not telling them a deal won’t get done, but he’s also not telling them to expect it soon. Leber’s prediction is that the sides are about a month away.

“My gut tells me, and this is my own opinion, that it will be an abbreviated training camp,” Leber said. “We might get in three preseason games. I’m going to guess we’ll get in two preseason games. Get our normal couple of days off before the season starts and I think the season begins the way it should be [on Sept. 8] and is normal.”

That’s a less optimistic assessment than we’ve been hearing from other places, but if even the less optimistic assessments include the regular season beginning on time, that’s a good sign.

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36 Responses to “DeMaurice Smith gave few details on NFLPA* call”
  1. mavajo says: Jun 24, 2011 9:46 AM

    I don’t give a crap about the rest of it — as long as the regular season starts on time.

    With little to no training camp and preseason, the rich will get richer and the poor poorer. In previous years, roughly half of the playoff teams from the previous year end up missing them the next year. This season may buck that trend, since it’s going to be tough for a team to improve much without these offseason and preseason programs.

  2. purpleman527 says: Jun 24, 2011 9:57 AM

    De Smith, a lawyer, is doing the same thing that he did in March of 2011, when the extension of the deadline allowed for “negotiations and optimism”.

    Remember what happened after 10 days of “negotiations”?

    De Smith, a lawyer, said, “Shove it”

    De Smith, a lawyer, will say “Shove it” again.

    Sorry for pointing out reality folks.

  3. vetdana says: Jun 24, 2011 10:01 AM

    “nothing totally agreed upon”……As long as both sides are stuck here.[ & they have been since 3/11] we have no deal and no CBA ! I think we have to be realistic…NOT, dreaming sweet dreams about a normal season that ,if does not happen, will result in great disappointment for all. Dont forget… DeMo is a litigator & the courts have stopped ruling for some time now !He wants back in this frey ! Required Patience & more Heartache is ahead for us !

  4. saints25 says: Jun 24, 2011 10:03 AM

    this was just posted………………………..

    ———————————————————-

    adbrandtAndrew Brandt

    Told that talks between NFL Owners and Players continue by phone. Working groups on rookie pay, accounting issues, etc.

  5. duanethomas says: Jun 24, 2011 10:10 AM

    I think DeMaurice is playing it close to the vest, because both parties do not want the details leaked in the media. He knows having 32 player reps on a conference call, would result in a leak and a P.R. nightmare. Then you would have reporters, agent, retired players and such all giving their opinions on a deal that isnt finished yet. It could kill the deal, so until its ready to be voted on keep the details on a need to know basis.

  6. hiyo1 says: Jun 24, 2011 10:12 AM

    The reason he gives little details on these conference calls to players is the fact that if he did give important details, players like Ben Leber would go straight to the media with what he said.

    This was pretty much defeat the purpose of keeping the negotiations private.

  7. mavajo says: Jun 24, 2011 10:17 AM

    “De Smith, a lawyer, is doing the same thing that he did in March of 2011, when the extension of the deadline allowed for “negotiations and optimism”.

    Remember what happened after 10 days of “negotiations”?

    De Smith, a lawyer, said, “Shove it”

    De Smith, a lawyer, will say “Shove it” again.

    Sorry for pointing out reality folks.”

    You couldn’t be more wrong. Which is unfortunate, since 6 idiots have already voted “thumbs up” on your post.

    Smith didn’t cancel the negotiations; the players did. They felt that the deadline for them to decertify was going to lapse without them being able to get a deal done because, in their opinion, the owners weren’t negotiating in good faith. So they flipped the kill switch by getting up from the table and decertifying.

  8. huegtoad says: Jun 24, 2011 10:28 AM

    i want to remind everybody, there is a huge difference between starting on time and having good football once it starts. there still will be football, but it won’t be good until about week 3 or 4, these guys better get in shape

  9. thephantomstranger says: Jun 24, 2011 10:32 AM

    mavajo says:
    Jun 24, 2011 10:17 AM
    Smith didn’t cancel the negotiations; the players did. They felt that the deadline for them to decertify was going to lapse without them being able to get a deal done because, in their opinion, the owners weren’t negotiating in good faith. So they flipped the kill switch by getting up from the table and decertifying.
    __________________

    Ummm…De Smith is the players.

  10. 4gone says: Jun 24, 2011 10:39 AM

    I am sure a part of it is due to confidentiality but I believe they are much closer than they are letting on and just downplaying it so when a deal is announced in a few weeks Goodell and Smith can take the credit for getting a deal done.

  11. brave13 says: Jun 24, 2011 10:40 AM

    No regular season games missed?

    Eh, I’ll take it.

  12. tommyf15 says: Jun 24, 2011 10:43 AM

    Is DeMaurice Smith a lawyer?

  13. bobbyd12 says: Jun 24, 2011 10:44 AM

    Out of this whole thing, it’s time to give season ticket holders a break, especially on this preseason crap. If I was ever to give up my tickets, it would be over having to pay full price for two worthless scrimmage games that no one cares about. Start the season on time, have an extended camp, whatever, but I’m hoping for no Preseason which I have to flush money down the toilet.

  14. purpleman527 says: Jun 24, 2011 10:50 AM

    mavajo says: Jun 24, 2011 10:17 AM

    You couldn’t be more wrong. Which is unfortunate, since 6 idiots have already voted “thumbs up” on your post.

    Smith didn’t cancel the negotiations; the players did. They felt that the deadline for them to decertify was going to lapse without them being able to get a deal done because, in their opinion, the owners weren’t negotiating in good faith. So they flipped the kill switch by getting up from the table and decertifying.
    —————————————————

    The only things that are unfortunate in this discussion is false optimism and your idiocy.

    If you think De Smith has nothing to do with the current situation, why was and is De Smith in the room for negotiations? To serve food and drink?

  15. purpleman527 says: Jun 24, 2011 10:53 AM

    tommyf15 says: Jun 24, 2011 10:43 AM

    Is DeMaurice Smith a lawyer?
    ———————————————-

    Yes he is. But according to mavajo, he has no input into the negotiations. It’s only the players making the decisions.

    De Smith just happens to be in the room for some odd reason that we can’t quite figure out.

  16. huegtoad says: Jun 24, 2011 11:03 AM

    bobbyd12 says:
    Jun 24, 2011 10:44 AM
    Out of this whole thing, it’s time to give season ticket holders a break, especially on this preseason crap. If I was ever to give up my tickets, it would be over having to pay full price for two worthless scrimmage games that no one cares about. Start the season on time, have an extended camp, whatever, but I’m hoping for no Preseason which I have to flush money down the toilet.

    if part of training camp includes scrimmages vs other teams for free at the camp, i am for it, football unlike most sports probably benefits from dress rehearsals more than most, getting stuff on tape and evaluating in game situations, i understand the ON THE FIELD need for them, i don’t understand the full ticket price for them,
    i would pay 1/2 price for a preseason game, especially games 2 and 3. one and four are a waste

  17. Topher says: Jun 24, 2011 11:05 AM

    “get our normal couple of days off…”

    Its telling that you dismiss readily a couple of preseason games and focus on getting even more time off.

    I’m not for thinking the players are yet in any hurry.

  18. nudeman says: Jun 24, 2011 11:14 AM

    Anybody who thinks there is any meaningful progress or value in any of these meetings is just very naive. Here’s the key: Nothing happens until one or both sides start feeling some pain. PERIOD.

    What is the incentive for the players to make concessions and settle now? None.

    Same for owners.

    It’s not until a couple idiot, hip hopping wideouts miss a few game checks, and get some jewelry and cars repossessed that they’ll be motivated. Same for owners: No movement until they miss some gate and TV revenue.

    Any mention of “heading in the right direction” or “real optimism” is just BS. This won’t get settled until mid Sept, earliest. Sorry.

    Until then, don’t even bother reading these daily “progress” reports.

  19. mavajo says: Jun 24, 2011 11:20 AM

    “Ummm…De Smith is the players”

    ———–

    “De Smith just happens to be in the room for some odd reason that we can’t quite figure out.”

    ———–

    Don’t be an idiot. The guy I was replying to was clearly implying that De Smith made a unilateral decision to end negotiations. That wasn’t the case at all. The players decided to end the negotiations.

    Crucifying De Smith for decisions that the players made, and he merely executed on their behalf, is moronic. It’s like trying a gun for murder.

    But hey, don’t let me stop you simple-minded dolts from putting everything on Goodell and Smith. They’re not the decision-makers in this — they’re merely conveying the wishes and desires of their clients.

  20. thegonz13 says: Jun 24, 2011 11:37 AM

    Since technically, the association no longer exists, how come DeSmith still has a job as executive director of a non-entity?

    Just wondering…

  21. thephantomstranger says: Jun 24, 2011 11:43 AM

    @mavajo

    The players don’t even know what’s going on. Smith is the leader of this group and he came up with the strategy of decertifying. You really think he’s nothing but a tool for the players? Maybe you’re the tool.

  22. thephantomstranger says: Jun 24, 2011 11:46 AM

    nudeman says:
    Jun 24, 2011 11:14 AM
    Anybody who thinks there is any meaningful progress or value in any of these meetings is just very naive. Here’s the key: Nothing happens until one or both sides start feeling some pain. PERIOD.

    What is the incentive for the players to make concessions and settle now? None.

    Same for owners.

    It’s not until a couple idiot, hip hopping wideouts miss a few game checks, and get some jewelry and cars repossessed that they’ll be motivated. Same for owners: No movement until they miss some gate and TV revenue.

    Any mention of “heading in the right direction” or “real optimism” is just BS. This won’t get settled until mid Sept, earliest. Sorry.

    Until then, don’t even bother reading these daily “progress” reports.
    ________________

    The incentive is each side knows they’re going to lose money if this doesn’t get settled soon. They may not all be geniuses, but they aren’t all so dumb that they can’t see that the money is going to be gone before it starts disappearing from their wallets.

    Maybe I’m just naive and nudeman is the genius (come on, he doesn’t even know how to put on some clothes), but you don’t usually see this kind of optimism without real progress being made.

  23. duanethomas says: Jun 24, 2011 11:47 AM

    @mavajo. Trying to reason with the pro-owner crowd/shills is futile. They equate their job to professional sports, do not understand the concept of supply and demand and lastly they have no concept that DeMaurice Smith works for the players. They also think since he’s a lawyer he is billing the players for hours. Wait until the shills that work for teams and league get off of work and can sign in on their personal accounts, it gets real irrational and stupid then.

  24. purpleman527 says: Jun 24, 2011 11:54 AM

    mavajo says: Jun 24, 2011 11:20 AM

    “Ummm…De Smith is the players”

    ———–

    “De Smith just happens to be in the room for some odd reason that we can’t quite figure out.”

    ———–

    mavajo says: “Don’t be an idiot. The guy I was replying to was clearly implying that De Smith made a unilateral decision to end negotiations. That wasn’t the case at all. The players decided to end the negotiations.”
    —————-

    Nowhere did I claim that De Smith was acting unilaterally. De Smith is not acting unilaterally. He is discussing the issues with the players representing each team. (32) These 32 reps hired De Smith to act for the players. But I DO think that De Smith is driving most of the players off of the cliff, while the players do have some input.

    I have been in several unions. Some large and some small. I never had any union rep talk to me about any ongoing negotiations with management. That’s why I do think that 90% of the players decisions are being driven by De Smith, which is why the players hired him.

    If you think De Smith has nothing to do with any decision, you are the moron.

  25. nudeman says: Jun 24, 2011 11:55 AM

    Phantomstranger:

    Excuse me? Can you define “this kind of optimism”?

    That’s nothing but BS. They come out of meetings, get a mic stuck in their face and asked to comment. They give largely very pat and lame answers. “Well, we’re continuing to meet”; or “Today was productive”. Wow! Very encouraging.

    That doesn’t strike you as vague? Then you ARE naive. You really are. The deal won’t be done until BOTH sides make some concessions, and neither side will be making any until they feel the heat.

    Whether it’s MLB, NBA, the UAW or some other labor negotiation, these things NEVER get done early. Never. That’s not a guarantee games will be missed, but it’s a good bet based on how far apart they seem.

  26. huskydad58 says: Jun 24, 2011 12:05 PM

    Why does D Smith have anything to say at all? Why do the players even talk to him. I thought they decertified the union and therefore, there is no union. Why talk to, or get advice from someone who informed the courts that the union no longer exists, so legaly, he doesn’t exist. I guess maybe the union is still the union, just not on paper (so they can stay in the courts).

  27. whags334 says: Jun 24, 2011 12:08 PM

    I know I sound like a broken record but D. Smith doesn’t want this to end. If it ends, he loses all his publicity and we all know how big this guys ego is. He leading these ignorant players around by their johnsons and don’t kid your self, he not being vauge about not telling them what is in the deal for confidentiality reasons, he is doing it because if the players knew how much ground the owerners were giving they would jump at the deal.

    The truth is, and a few FA’s, are the only ones who are suffering right now. Players are getting to avoid OTA’s, they are not missing any paychecks, and they are not being frowned upon for not voluntarily reporting to team facilities to workout. D. Smith’s contract is up next March and unless the players miss paychecks, they will look at this as a win, even though they have alienated a large number of their loyal fanbase. Don’t be surprised if Smith drags this out for another mont and the NFL misses out on having 9/11/2011 as their opening weekend, where we can all remember the victims of 9/11 and celebrate our patriotism. The fact is, the only people the players and the NFL care about is themselves….just sad.

  28. thephantomstranger says: Jun 24, 2011 12:21 PM

    I guess I would define “this kind of optimism” as the stories we keep reading on PFT about progress in the talks. These stories aren’t based on the public statements of Goodell and Smith, they’re based on reporters’ inside sources that are in the room. From what I hear, both sides are making concessions. Like I said, maybe I am naive, but I don’t think it’s early at all. Both sides have generated a lot of negative publicity for themselves because of this lockout and they have to realize that no good can come out of dragging this out any longer. In my experience, when all the stories start coming out on a daily basis that something is going to happen soon, it generally happens.

  29. nudeman says: Jun 24, 2011 12:38 PM

    phantomstranger, I’m sorry, but I think you’re missing the overriding point: FOLLOW THE MONEY.

    This is all about money, not love of the game, and definitely not about any obligation they feel to the fans.

    Until one or both sides start losing money, or at best get right up to the precipice of that, nothing substantial will happen.

    Don’t get taken in by these vague stories about “optimism” and “progress”. That’s just blather.

  30. thephantomstranger says: Jun 24, 2011 1:27 PM

    I feel like Jerry Seinfeld when he woke up in the subway sitting across from a guy with no clothes on and they started arguing about the Mets. Maybe we can go to Coney Island together when the lockout ends, which I think will be in July and you think will be at least September.

  31. whags334 says: Jun 24, 2011 1:32 PM

    Hey, if we miss games I just hope they wipe out the preseason so I can get my, full price, ticket refund for the exhibition games. That is a pipe dream though, the owner’s will never give up that free money.

  32. mavajo says: Jun 24, 2011 1:33 PM

    “I have been in several unions. Some large and some small. I never had any union rep talk to me about any ongoing negotiations with management. That’s why I do think that 90% of the players decisions are being driven by De Smith, which is why the players hired him.”

    Trying to compare your typical labor union to the NFLPA is ridiculous. They’re nothing alike. I get it — you’re disgruntled because a labor previously screwed you over at a dead-end job. Whatever. I don’t think unions either. But that’s got nothing to do with NFL labor negotiations. The NFLPA is nothing like a typical labor union.

  33. tommyf15 says: Jun 24, 2011 1:41 PM

    Just a reminder to everyone crying over DeMaurice Smith- the owners can end the lockout and implement their own league rules at any time, without having an agreement from the players on a new CBA.

  34. whags334 says: Jun 24, 2011 2:13 PM

    Tommyf15, no they can’t, they would immediately lose their anti trust status.

  35. tommyf15 says: Jun 24, 2011 2:19 PM

    whags334 says:
    Tommyf15, no they can’t, they would immediately lose their anti trust status.

    They would have to implement rules that didn’t breach anti-trust violation, just like every other business.

    Which is what they’d have to do anyway if the court finally makes a decision, hopefully to lift the lockout.

  36. tumsman2 says: Jun 24, 2011 7:46 PM

    The catch 22 of this whole situation is weird. The owners think they are paying the players to much money. But the owners aren’t allowed to collectively lower the salaries of the players or they will be accused of acting as a monopoly.

    So how do salaries get lowered?

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