As the NFLPA* Executive Committee and the NFLPA* board of player representatives gather in Washington to consider the proposed labor deal, there’s a chance that things could get (even more) interesting.
Jim Trotter of SI.com reported via Twitter on Tuesday that some of the player representatives are “expecting a spirited debate.” Why a spirited debate? As Trotted explained it, “[S]ome players feel they finally have leverage and want to use it.” (If having “leverage” means relying on the fact that they’ll lose only $96 million for each week of the preseason that is canceled and that the owners will lose $104 million, then the players apparently have “leverage.”)
Truth be told, there should be no debate. There should be no discussion. There should be no hesitation. The players hired DeMaurice Smith for one purpose: To stand in front of the proverbial tank in Tiananmen Square and force the owners to greatly reduce their demands for givebacks in the new labor deal. After months of maneuverings and rhetoric and, ultimately, negotiations, Smith has forged an agreement that he is willing to recommend to the players.
Put simply, if the players won’t immediately accept the recommendation of the man whom they hired to make a recommendation they could immediately accept, then they should immediately fire De Smith.
Sure, the players need to understand what they’re agreeing to. And the Executive Committee and board of player reps possibly need to vent about a few things before inevitably recommending that the rank and file reform the union and accept the terms of the proposed CBA.
Any stiff resistance would be a surprise, and it simply shouldn’t happen. The players necessarily pre-approved this deal when hiring DeMaurice Smith. Failure to accept his recommendation now would amount to an admission that they hired the wrong guy.