Cyrus Mehri announces bid to challenge DeMaurice Smith for NFLPA leadership

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Cyrus Mehri, a civil rights lawyer who has won settlements for workers in discrimination cases against Coca-Cola and Texaco, will challenge DeMaurice Smith for leadership of the National Football League Players Association, Mehri tells Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.

The program airs on HBO tonight at 11 p.m. ET.

The NFLPA election is March 2018, and Mehri says on Real Sports that he’s “gonna throw my hat in the ring to challenge De Smith for the leadership of the NFLPA.” Mehri pushed for the NFL to adopt the Rooney Rule on Real Sports in 2002, which the league did three months later.

HBO released a transcript of part of Gumbel’s interview with Mehri:

CYRUS MEHRI: “The more I dug into this and saw how unfair the last CBA deal was, the more I felt I had to answer the call.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “Going back to those negotiations, what do you think he could’ve gotten that he didn’t?”

CYRUS MEHRI: “The players went backwards economically in a massive way, and that’s hundreds of millions of dollars that were forfeited and De Smith gave the commissioner a blank check. ‘Dear Commissioner, you can do whatever you want on player discipline.’ Well, we’re gonna fix that.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “Do you know Roger Goodell? Does he know you?”

CYRUS MEHRI: “Yes, I know him very well.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “Relationship?”

CYRUS MEHRI: “Professional relationship.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “What do you think the NFL owners, Commissioner Goodell think of Cyrus Mehri?”

CYRUS MEHRI: “Honest broker. Someone with integrity and someone who gets things done. I think I’ve earned their respect and that respect I’m gonna carry forward on behalf of the NFL players.”