The public game of P.R. ping-pong continues between the league and the NFL Players Association.
On Friday’s PFT Live, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith got the first word, and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash got the last word. But the discourse continues, well after the show ended.
During PFT Live, Pash explained that Smith, who later asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to scrap the investigation and start it again from scratch, may feel differently about the outcome of the probe if Smith had attended Monday’s appeal hearing.
“I think [Smith] would have been very impressed by the presentation Mary Jo White made,” Pash added. ”De, as a former federal prosecutor, knows Mary Jo. I am sure he holds her in the same high regard that lawyers and judges across the country hold her and understands what a consummate professional she is. He would have had an opportunity to see the evidence and hear the witness statements and how it all weaves together, which is how a good prosecutor puts a case up. It is a mosaic. Focusing on any one piece of the mosaic may not tell you very much. When you put it all together, it paints quite a clear picture. If De had been able to be here Monday and participate in the hearing, he would have a different view perhaps than what he has today.”
Pash’s comments have caused others to question why Smith didn’t attend Monday’s hearing, a fair point given that Smith is, as he said multiple times on Friday, a “steward” of the game.
NFLPA spokesman George Atallah tells PFT that Smith didn’t attend the hearing because he didn’t have a role in it, and because the NFLPA’s defense on behalf of the players consisted of matters unrelated to the merits. Lawyers Jeffrey Kessler and Richard Smith argued on behalf of the players that Commissioner Roger Goodell lacks jurisdiction, that the suspensions should be dismissed summarily because the NFL disclosed its evidence within 72 hours of the start of the hearing, and that Commissioner Goodell should recuse himself from the proceedings because he already has reached — and publicly supported — a conclusion that the players are guilty as charged.
Besides, Smith isn’t in hiding.
“Roger knows where to find me,” Smith tells PFT.
“Whether or not De was there is irrelevant to the players,” Atallah added. “He got to
see the documents over the course of three days and didn’t see any other evidence since March. In short, small pieces of sh-t pieced together might be a mosaic, but it just
amounts to one big mosaic of sh-t.”
Now there’s an image to enjoy, especially as the dinner hour approaches in the East.