De Smith to players: Plan is to decertify

NFLPA executive director Demaurice Smith told players on his much-anticipated conference call Friday that the current plan for the union is to decertify, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Plans can change, of course.   Smith knew the news would leak out and could be using it to hold ownership’s feet to the fire.

Gary Myers of the New York Daily News writes that NFLPA is “leaning” towards decertification, but there is still time to change.

Owners were reportedly hoping to continue talking after Smith’s call.  The sides are clearly closer on Friday than they were Thursday, so halting any possible progress would be disappointing.

As long as the sides continue to talk Friday, there remains hope.

81 responses to “De Smith to players: Plan is to decertify

  1. This guy is such a hack. Ridiculous move to update players in the middle of the last day of negotiations

    If I were a player I’d ask the obvious question – why are you glad-handing players here when you should be focused on getting a deal

  2. Is this like his other plan when he told all the players to make a list of anyone that owes them money? Because I’ll bet that plan was executed all across the country with precision.




  4. If they decertify I hope the owners crush the union and demand that Smith’s head be given as a token of the players sincerity.

  5. Interesting. De Smith likes attention, that much is clear.

    This shows that the NFLPA does not care about the fans at all. They are unwilling to work with the league and the owners, and thus we will be without football. I will never again defend a player for this type of negotiation, with how they have acted during these sessions. What a joke.

  6. I have thought all along that they would reach a deal. I still believe that.

    We will likely hear that its all over and that its all about to fall apart. We will hear that the Union WILL decertify.

    Then out of nowhere we will hear that they made a deal. It will be called a total surprise.

    In the end tho, the sides will just be making things look like the apocolypse is here and then they will come to a deal.

    That has been and is still what I think is going to happen.


    I come to this website to read about SPORTS and about what team is going to add what player… or what coaching changes will happen… or trade rumors…


    Duh heck. If I wanted any of this in my daily life, I could just go to No. This is Let’s get something DONE, and go back to FOOTBALL.


  8. Which convinces me that the League has a very good chance of attacking the decertification in the labor law courts as a ‘negotiating’ ploy, not an actual desire to decertify and no longer represent the players.

    When they did this the first time everyone knew they were going to ‘reconstitute’ themselves when a deal was consummated. Doing twice really says they don’t want to negoitiate.

    I’m expecting the owners to declare an impasse and impose their own deal and let the players accept it or strike. I think we’ll be surprised at the number of players that will simply accept the Owner’s ‘CBA’ and the union won’t exist anymore so they won’t be able to do a thing about it.

  9. my plan is to de-wrapperfy this sammich and have lunch. let me know if any real news happens…

  10. So why does it look like any real action only happens on the day right before the deadline ? Haven’t these guys ever worked on weekends in their lives (like the players, coaches and a lot of people in this country) ?

  11. Right now I’m still praying for a deal. If that prayer isn’t answered and there’s no deal tomorrow morning, my new prayer will be for all the owners, players, and lawyers to choke to death on their own vomit.

  12. This guy has wanted publicity and power from the start. He is serving HIS interests, not the players’ interests. Just look back at all the garbage he has spewed in the last several months. He is all about posturing and appearance. The players should vote to get rid of him rather than decertify. There have been no “good faith” negotiations by him. They could have gotten a toddler to sit there and scream “NO!” all day rather than pay this buffoon

  13. Please, go ahead and decertify and go down as the man who ruined the NFL, go for it. Teh circus would be more fun to watch than any NFL game which includes the Browns or the Lions.

    Oh one last thing, you looked like an idiot in that hat.

  14. I guess the NFL went in with the revised deal, said take it or leave it.

    And he just gave them their answer.

  15. This guy is such a hack. Ridiculous move to update players in the middle of the last day of negotiations

    I’d say it’s pretty savvy. Remember, it’s not his job to just get any deal done. It’s his job to get the best deal possible for the players. As fans, we just want a deal done… any deal, that is… and the frustration is understandable. But the man is doing his job, and from what I’ve seen, doing it well.

  16. Was there any doubt this was going to happen? Just get this crap started already. Do the lockout. Sue the league. Get all this crap out of the way. The faster this stuff actually starts, the sooner there is football again. All this extension crap PR moves from both sides is doing is delaying the inevitable.

  17. And as soon a the players decertify or the owners lock the players out I burn anything that has an nfl shield on it! Both sides knew well over a year they would need a new cba but they are still playing cat and mouse games the fans that give them the money they are fighting over are the furthest thing from all of their minds!


  19. I don’t think he’s a hack, as you call him, jeff061–this is his strategy. He’s never really demonstrated any serious intention to negotiate in good faith.

    To any clear thinking person who is familiar with De Smith and has followed his career (and aware of his connections), his plan is discernible… and that plan didn’t include a negotiated deal with the owners. And I don’t think litigation is necessarily his endgame either… that’s just one tool, wait until he starts playing his connections to bring political pressure down on the league.

    This will be a very different league once he’s done, and not for the better. Not for the fans, not for the league or the club owners, and although initially the players will be able to claim a “win”, ultimately, they’ll lose out too–with their compensation tied to total league revenues, what is bad for the league is necessarily bad for the players, and a few years down the road they’ll figure that out.

  20. I thought all along if they decertify Smith is out of a job? Think they made a mistake of Manning, Brady etc being the face of a lawsuit. How do you explain to a jury Manning being harmed when he is making 25 mil. + endorsement money? He would sure looked harmed to a guy making $15 an hour.

  21. Go ahead.
    I’m just tired enough of all the BS to walk away.

    If this thing isn’t settled today, D. Smith and Goodell should both be fired for gross incompetence.

  22. Screw the union and the players! The owners can out last the players any day. Hey PLAYERS it’s not just the owners you’re screwing it’s the fans too! And we help pay your wages! What if, us as fans went on strike. How would you like it! This whole thing makes me sick. You as in players and owners have had months to work this out. At this point I really don’t care any more!

  23. It is getting about ego issues now. The money gets better when you build the rep of a big name in anything, Johnnie Cochran anyone. One big spot lite sets you up forever

  24. Unquestionably, beyond any reasonable doubt, there is a transparent and phony game being played by the owners today.

    We know… KNOW, fans are with the players – and over 90% of the feedback and commentary has confirmed that all along.

    Suddenly, today, for the first time – after owners claim they’ve put an offer on the table – they clearly have everyone of their flunkie employees typing in pretending they are fans suppoering owner.

    The naive and gullible are taking it hook, line and sinker. The players and astute fans see right through the smokescreen.

  25. Hate to say it – but this guy’s actions have me now convinced that he never intended to negotiate in good faith, and intended to decertify and litigate from the start. Lets not forget the ambitions beyond this dispute that the man carries.

    But guess what – you can tell from the outrage in these comments that this will backfire and kick him in the ass.

    Hiring De Smith was a huge mistake – and we the fans get to suffer that mistake. Lovely!

  26. “How do you explain to a jury Manning being harmed when he is making 25 mil. + endorsement money? He would sure looked harmed to a guy making $15 an hour.”

    This proves you know absolutely nothing about the topics at issue, or the process.

    Seriously, how could you write that without even basic knowledge of any aspect of this?

  27. Judge Doty.

    Appointed by…

    wait for it

    wait for it

    …Ronald Reagan.

    But he did something you don;t agree with, so he’s a communist-socialist-czar-nazi-democrat-terrorist…blah blah blah.

  28. lock these clowns out….. if the owners put in “scrubs” i will renew my seasons… if the players strike, i dont. simple as that.

    screw these douches… they are acting like THEY are the owners! LOL… unreal what piss poor leadership they are getting and how dumb they look for blindly following.

  29. I’m sure if we think long enough and hard enough this is all obama’s fault right???

  30. The players have no one to blame but themselves for being in this situation. They hired a guy who was a criminal defense attorney, with a huge lack of union experience or negotiating skills, let alone for the NFL. Now he’s sitting here treating this more like a plea bargain than a BILLION dollar negotiation. I wonder now if they think that someone else who was experienced in this kind of stuff would have been a better choice.

    Oh, and the owner’s are no better, whining and complaining that they aren’t making as much money, but refuse to prove it. These guys are going the way of the MLB, NHL and soon to be NBA.

  31. I said in several of these updates the union didn’t want to settle–why should they when they have Doty in their back pocket who will back the union no matter what they do?

    The thing is, as soon as they decertify, it can’t be a lockout, since there will be no union to lock out.

    What the owners can do, as someone else said, is declare an impasse, imnpose their last best offer, and then it will be down to the players, who then will be non union contract players.

    If his game was to get the draft decalred illegal, or FA declared illegal, well, at least in the last CBA, Doty never declared either of them illegal.

    I think he’s leading the players down the wrong path and they’ll find that out in the end.

  32. I’m heading to Iraq in July and I have to believe 2011 will go down as the best year to be deployed of the whole damn war.

  33. I have been a fan of the NFL for my entire life.. all 39 years of it or at least since I can remember.

    But I am a bigger fan of football.

    If these two parties can’t figure out how to divide up the money machine that the NFL has become, well then I certainly want to be no fan of it.

    Since the announcement that the owners were going to exit out of the deal, I have canceled my NFL ticket, I stopped all spending on any NFL merchandise (yes even in this Superbowl run).

    If the union pushed the button on de-certification, I will abandon my support for this league as a whole.

    I am just one person and that probably means little to the folks on both sides of the table.. but I can only control what I can control.

    Which is to quit spending any money in their direction as a whole.

    I understand that you have to talk and set the edge so to speak to push forward.. but if either of these two parties go to their “nuclear” option, I as a fan will follow suit.

    I will return to the grass roots version of football.. where it is more pure and less greedy than the NFL version.

    BTW.. this option for the PA may win them this little fight through litigation.. but it will only cripple the good of the the entire member base as a whole in the long run. Each player will be out for themselves and the players will become divided.. those with juice in the fan base and those that don’t bring home profit margins to the owners.

    Can you imagine the how flooded the court system will become year after year with litigation by ever player that has a gripe.

  34. If they decertify, we should strike. Even if they come to an agreement that saves the season, at a later date. Neither sides seem to understand that without us the NFL doesn’t exist. And without us 90% of the players are broke inside of a year. We should get lawyers and have our demands put out there. 1. Lower ticket prices. 2. No owner/general managers 3. No Tiki Barber 4. No Brett Favre etc. etc.

  35. bigfranky75,

    maybe you should remind them. It’s all so simple, right?

    Maybe you should go back to your coloring books and Wiggles dvd’s.

  36. I love that these anti-union kneejerk reaction people are simultaneously…

    1) Convinced that the NFLPA will lose badly in court

    2) Angry with the NFLPA for going to court

    If you hate the union, shouldn’t you be HAPPY they’re going to court?

    Because you’re all so convinced that they’ll lose?

    Oh, I forgot, you are operating off 100% emotion.

  37. De Smith is a punk, and where did he get that hat????? Looks like Mr. Magoo. If Upshaw were still alive a deal would have already been done.

  38. This is what happens when undeserving black people are put into a position of power, they are a culture of dysfunction and excuses. With this loser in control nothing will ever get done.

  39. Round of applause by not signing another useless PR extension…. decertify and tko the owners… because the owners are being ridiculous and the players will cruise to victory…the quicker the legal ball gets rolling the quicker this ends….and by doing this the players are not suffering because to the players they are already locked out the teams cant sign anyone new or release anyone and the players are not getting their roster ofcourse the owners want to keep extending the deadlines it makes it to where they are not being affected negatively at all..but now that the union is starting the litigation the owners will get humilated in court

  40. I love how this is “all the players fault”. The players don’t want an 18 game season (witch we almost all agree would suck) The players would have been fine with keeping the old deal with a few tweeks to it. This is about the owners wanting to get a bigger piece of the pie. This is about the owners wanting the players to take less and play more. I’m not saying either side is right, but i am saying the owners are the ones who are wrong.

    If the players decert its because the owners are going to lock them out. They woul be doing because the owners won’t budge. Remember this is about a LOCK OUT not a strike.

    If these greedy billionaire owners would have just excepted a rookie wage scale and stop Al davis and others from handing out insane contracts that raise the bar for everyone else we wouldn’t have this problem. The owners can not handle them selves then blame the players.

  41. This has become a freaking joke. This guy is bound and determined to ruin a good thing. The owners are by all appearances giving ground but this knucklehead continues to push his agenda.

    Let them de-certify, but then the NLRB or whoever the hell has jurisdiction over them should not let them re-certify … Bye Bye Union … Bye Bye De Smith.

    I’d be willing to bet that 75% of these players CANNOT SURVIVE financially without the 2011 season.

    I’d also be willing to place another bet that were it not for the NFL those same 75% would be speaking into a headset asking people in the drive thru lane if they want to SUPERSIZE that?

  42. Decert equals playing….May so…..What if the court rules the decert a “sham”? The relationship between players and owners would still be in place[union] and owners could still lock out..

  43. How long did it take Baseball to “recover” from their strike? For that matter … Have they ever recovered?

    I agree that this has been his (De Smith’s) plan all along.

    An average NFL career is 3.5 years. Congratulations fellas, a good % of you just lost 29% of your career earnings!!!

    Feel free to thank De Smith for that as well.

  44. Hey Mr. Smith,

    I thought you said “We won’t let you down” ?

    I’m looking forward to never hearing your name again.

  45. To anyone saying they will boycott the NFL, stop it. You’re embarrassing yourself. That will never happen, and you know it.

    Do you honestly expect anyone to believe that the team you have spent your whole life rooting for will take the field on a Sunday next fall, and you won’t be watching? Please.

    The NFL has spent the last 20 years kicking you in the nads over and over and over again, and you haven’t raised a finger to stop them.

    Don’t you know that both sides know this? Don’t you know that they know that the only constant in this whole mess is that whenever they decide to play, you’ll be there?

    You’re not going anywhere and you know it.

    And for all of you people who think decertification equals no football, get a clue.

    If the union decertifies and the league attempts to lock them out, the NFLPA runs to Judge Doty and gets an injunction that requires the league to continue operations.

    In fact, the union decertifying may be the only chance we have for football this season.

  46. desmithsucks says:

    This is what happens when undeserving black people are put into a position of power, they are a culture of dysfunction and excuses. With this loser in control nothing will ever get done.

    How exactly is he an “undeserving” black man put into a position of power? He’s a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and currently teaches trial advocacy there, and a George Washington and American University. He’s a former assistant U.S. Attorney and was a trial attorney and litigation partner at two major D.C. firms. The man was unanimously elected to the NFLPA position on first ballot.

    Please go away and take your racist thumbs-up followers with you. Don’t forget your attack dogs and water hoses. America doesn’t need your kind anymore.

  47. vetdana says:
    Mar 11, 2011 3:50 PM
    Decert equals playing….May so…..What if the court rules the decert a “sham”? The relationship between players and owners would still be in place[union] and owners could still lock out..

    Ummmm…….you know who “The Court” is in this case?

    The Honorable Judge David Doty, who has never once ruled against the players.

    If decertification moves forward The players will file suit on Monday and ask for an injunction against a lockout on Tuesday. By the end of next week, the league will be forced to resume operations while their appeal is heard, which would take months. Meanwhile, business as usual.

  48. buhbay1c says:
    Mar 11, 2011 3:34 PM
    I’m heading to Iraq in July and I have to believe 2011 will go down as the best year to be deployed of the whole damn war.

    Thank you for your service and stay safe.

    Thanks for the dose of perspective.

  49. “desmithsucks says:
    Mar 11, 2011 3:43 PM
    This is what happens when undeserving black people are put into a position of power, they are a culture of dysfunction and excuses. With this loser in control nothing will ever get done.”

    What a rediculous comment, on so many levels. He was UNANIMOUSLY voted by the players reps, 32-0, and beat out 3 very strong opponents, not to mention he was one of the most successful litigators in the country. But he’s black, so you find him undeserving. Sickening.

  50. You sir, DE SMITH, are a assanine troll who never wanted to deal in the 1st place!!!
    I hope you burn in hell for your selfish ways!!!

    BUT, if they decertify, isn’t DE SMITH out of a job since the union doesn’t exist anymore?!?!?!?!?


    Will someone please go to DC and hurt this weak little man~!?~!?~?~?~?

  51. @Deb:

    Spectacular response. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    What’s killing me is that I have had multiple posts censored on this site for silly things like criticizing their writers by name. Yet horribly racist posts like the one you responded to are allowed to stand.

  52. @realitypolice …

    Thank you. I’d suggest you share your thoughts on that issue with via the “send feedback” e-mail. Can’t tell you how many of PFT’s most intelligent, rational commenters have made similar complaints via posts that have somehow gotten through here or on other sites. But when I complain the sense is that it’s my imagination or I’m the only one who cares about those inexplicable decisions. If more people share their experiences, it might make a difference.

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