NFLPA reels in Executive Director pay

Last year, when the NFL Players Association elected a successor to the late Gene Upshaw, the union negotiated the new Executive Director’s contract after the ballots were cast.  The move drew criticism from us (and maybe others) because the union would have had much more leverage against the eventual winner by focusing on the terms before picking a winner.

But while the NFLPA arguably placed the cart before the horse, the new Executive Director ended up being in position to buy a much more modest fleet of chariots.

According to Daniel Kaplan and Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal, the union’s federal LM-2 filing reveals that new Executive Director DeMaurice Smith received $1.6 million for the period ending February 28, 2010.  Since he was hired in late March 2009, the number roughly projects to an annual pay rate in the neighborhood of $1.75 million.

Still, it’s far less than the $4.05 million paid to Upshaw under the LM-2 that covered the period of March 1, 2007 through February 28, 2008.  For the prior fiscal year, Upshaw’s compensation exceeded $6.7 million.

Meanwhile, the NFLPA’s licensing and merchandising revenue has dropped 15 percent in the past two years, due to a drop in fantasy sports and trading card revenue.  Still, the union earned more than $125 million from these ventures.

10 responses to “NFLPA reels in Executive Director pay

  1. more reason to have a rookie salary-cap….
    The NFLPA obviously believes the best way to go is not to pay the new guy anywhere close to what the veteran old guy was receiving.

  2. 1.75 and all he has to do is negotiate a new CBA(generalization) ?
    It better be good for the union.

  3. The LM-2 is public information, and is available online at the U.S. Department of Labor Website. Most of the $125 million collected is returned to the players. One of the Union’s functions is to act as a central clearing house for the licensing and merchandise fees.

  4. What does the union do with 125 million?
    Well is sure isn’t for player pensions.
    Sorry about your ignorance. Player pensions were nearly $300-million a decade ago–and have more than doubled since then. They now near $1-billion per season.
    Doubters who believe the lies spread by the Ditka and DeLamielleure forces–groups embraced by hard-line owners who want nothing more than to weaken the union’s bargaining stance–should go back to the articles on this site about Ditka’s golden-boy Brian DeMarco and his fabrications. Strange is that none of the former players among the critics were ever involved with the NFLPA during their playing days–or were willing at that time to challenge owners in order to receive even basic benefits and fair salaries.

  5. Given Mr. Duberstein’s position as the NFLPA’s former Director of Research, perhaps it’s understandable that he would criticize those of us who’ve advocated for our teammates. Even Rosa Parks was criticized for stirring things up when she sat down in the front of the bus.
    While pensions have indeed increased since 1993, the vast majority of the benefits have gone to those who have retired after 1993. In fact, the NFLPA doles out very generous ancillary benefits — 401k plan, severance pay, health insurance, health care reimbursement account, tuition reimbursement, to name just a few — to active players before even considering increasing benefits for those who retired prior to 1993, the men who built both the NFL and the NFLPA.
    One need only look to John Mackey, the Baltimore Colts’ Hall of Fame TE and the NFLPA’s first president following the merger of the AFL and NFL, to understand how the union turned its back on retired players. (Mackey — a dynamic person, successful businessman and generous philanthropist who changed lives — was afflicted with dementia, likely caused by football, at age 59.)
    Ask any of Mackey’s Baltimore Colt teammates how many times they asked the union for help for Mackey … and how many times they were assured by Gene Upshaw and Doug Allen, “Rest assured, we’re doing something for the Mackey family…” Ask how many times they were criticized, even threatened, for their advocacy on behalf of Mackey. The NFLPA acted only when directed to do so by the NFL, after the ex-Colts raised $25,000 to immediately assist Mackey, and Mackey’s wife personally appealed to then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
    There are many retired players who have enjoyed successful careers after football — many, in fact, who began their post-football careers in the off-seasons. Still, there are far too many retired players who are suffering the effects of football injuries and that’s what we’re trying to change.
    Now that Mr. Duberstein is retired and enjoying life in Hawaii, he might have the time to right some wrongs.

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