More misplaced rhetoric from De Smith

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Now that the mediation process has ended once again, a day after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit dropped a strong hint that the ruling lifting the lockout will be overturned next month, NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith has opted to take to the airwaves, not with words suggesting a willingness to compromise and negotiate, but with more rhetoric aimed at inflaming the fans (it probably won’t work) or holding the players together as a strong possibility of missed game checks approaches (it possibly will work, but perhaps not for long).  His initial comments during a Tuesday night visit with Maurice Jones-Drew and Bryan McGovern of Sirius NFL Radio’s Late Hits amounted a reiteration of the point that Smith made on Monday.

A point that we still can’t understand.

“First league in the history of sports that has ever sued to not play their game,” Smith said. “When we reach a time or a moment in history when a professional sports league is suing to not play football, we’re in a bad spot.”

Actually, the more accurate statement could be that when we reach a time or a moment in history when the chief of a professional sports union is so badly bastardizing the facts, we’re in a bad spot.

“What do you think as a fan when you learn that the league that you write a check to, the teams that you’ve done nothing but cheer for for years are now suing to not play the game that we all love?” Smith later said, once again pushing the premise that the league has “sued” to implement the lockout.  It’s simply not true; the league isn’t suing anyone, yet.  The league is reacting to the lawsuit filed by the players when faced with the likelihood of a lockout.

Anyone who gets it understands what’s happening.  The players sued to lift the lockout because any deal negotiated while the players are playing and getting paid to play will be better for the players.  The owners have resisted the effort to lift the lockout because any deal negotiated while the players aren’t playing and aren’t getting paid to play will be better for the league.  Defending against the players’ lawsuit, however, does not and never will amount to “suing” to not play the game.

The fact that Smith would imperil his credibility so openly and so brazenly demonstrates, in our view, the desperation he’s currently feeling.  Once the Eighth Circuit decides to allow the lockout to remain in place, the question becomes when, not if, the players will demand that a deal be finalized so that they can continue to play football.  Perhaps Smith thinks that, if he can get the players sufficiently pissed at the owners based on embellished and/or false allegations, they’ll suck it up and go without weeks if not months of game checks.

“We’re hoping that the court lifts the lockout,” Smith added, “but to me this is a low point in sports when a league that is extremely profitable, at the height of revenue generation with a loyal following of fans for the last 60 years has made a decision that it is much better to force the players into a lockout because you know that it is designed to get them to take a deal that you otherwise couldn’t negotiate.”

But that’s why employers lock union employees out.  And that’s why union employees strike, as the NFL’s players did in 1982 and 1987.  Withholding services and/or preventing folks from working applies leverage.  The fact that, in this specific case, the notion of freezing the players out could be very effective doesn’t make it legally or morally wrong.  The players may not like it, and the fans may not like it.  Still, it’s no different from going on strike, and the players have never opted to refrain from striking out in deference to “the game” or its fans.

Eventually, the interview focused on what we believe to be the heart of the current dispute — whether the players will continue to get 50 cents of every dollar that passes through the cash register, even as those dollars exceed $10 billion per year and eventually approach $20 billion per year, and more.  Smith speaks as if the continuation of the 50-percent share has become a birthright for the players.  At some point, however, it becomes a fair business consideration for the owners to assess whether the players should continue to get half of an exponentially growing pie, especially in light of the players’ viable alternatives.

Indeed, Smith explained that he called the league’s March 11 offer the “worst deal in the history of sports” because it would have cut the players’ share from 50 percent to something less than 50 percent.  “It was an easy call to say that it was the worst deal in history because from the day that we would have taken their offer it would have forever severed the players of the National Football League from a fair share of the revenue that we all know that they generate,” Smith said.

Smith continues to overlook the fact that, even if the percentages shrink, the total dollars paid to the players will continue to grow.  So why doesn’t Smith ever acknowledge that?  Probably because he fears that more than a few players would respond by saying, “So we’re still going to make more money each year?  OK, we’re fine with that.”

Though the NFL isn’t the NFL without the players, the deeper question at this point is whether the NFL players are truly responsible for one half of the revenue of an ever-growing sport.  The league has created, over a period of decades, the industry that is the NFL, with the teams and the logos and the colors and the TV contracts and the stadiums and everything else that allows the players to perform at the absolute highest level of the game.  The fact that so many rookies wanted to bask in the glow of being drafted despite also being locked out confirms that the NFL has become, over time, a big deal.  Though the NFL became a big deal in very large part because of the players, the teams and the league have worked together over an extended period of time to build the game into what it now is.

Is it “fair,” then, for the players to continue to insist on half of every dollar earned?  Or is it “fair” to focus on total dollars to be paid, and to negotiate a “fair” amount based on that premise?  In resolving those questions, the players and the NFLPA* must remember that precious few industries include a work force that dictates the amount of the gross revenue it will receive.

Again, we’re not taking sides.  We believe that both the owners and the players need to be reasonable and fair, and to strike a deal that will restore long-term labor peace, a concept that has now faded deep into the rear-view mirror.  Smith’s strategy of using tough talk based on exaggerated (at best) facts is, we fear, keeping that from happening.  Given his background as a litigator and the strong emphasis that the NFLPA* has placed on pursuing leverage through the legal system, his words seem to be more focused on keeping his clients from getting weak-kneed as the prospect of a full season without football income approaches.

We welcome him to prove us wrong by ditching the rhetoric and finding a way to engage in meaningful negotiations aimed at a fair compromise for the owners and the players.

122 responses to “More misplaced rhetoric from De Smith

  1. I wonder why we can’t get a deal done….?
    Don Dee Smith doesn’t want a deal he wants a war!
    The players better wise up, nobody is happy with their deal, nobody! Especially, the fans!

  2. I think there needs to be third party in this fight… someone representing the fans. All this greed from the owners and players is rediculous in todays economy. If the “pie” is ever growing, why not instead REDUCE some ticket prices for the fans so some of us could actually afford to take their family to a game. Instead of millionaires and billionaires fighting over that money, give it back to us!!!!

  3. hard to respect the players if they would follow someone who so clearly wants to lead them off a cliff. if players don’t muzzle this loony bird, they deserve what’s comin’.

  4. I’m having a hard time rationalizing it, but I kind of thought this was a great, even handed post. I’m strangely pleased and confused at the same time.

    So, uh, nice work 🙂

  5. Nice article Mike…

    I am mildly amused that the majority of players that the NFLPA* purports to represent appear by their action to believe that he is acting in their best interest….

  6. This is the best article I’ve read on the subject and probably the best article of Mike’s I’ve seen. It should be required reading for all NFL players.

  7. He looks like a little man who’s really enjoying his 15 minutes of fame… and doesn’t want to see it ever end.

  8. DeMaurice Smith is bad for the players , fans & NFL……..
    I’m so sick of looking at this MOFO !!

  9. Looks like Mr. Smith is the real issue in this lockout. He doesn’t want to be reasonable when it comes to getting a deal done. Players..You better wise up. It’s time for you guys to get together and get this done and leave Mr. Smith behind where he belongs.

  10. Good post.

    Maybe this is De’s pre-ordained role in this showdown and that’s why he’s doing it, I don’t know.

    But if the player’s don’t wise up soon and “forever sever” De from their payroll, this is not going to end well.

    One must ask at this point what Smith feels he is accomplishing by acting like this?

  11. Now you are hurting the players D………….Its in the best interest of the players to negiotiate NOW. You seem to be more concerned with your legacy rather than whats best for the game. Both sides are sacrificing something. Also keep in mind that if not for the owners pouring millions of dollars into there respective teams through the purchase of stadiums; marketing deals etc… sir, would not have a job.

  12. There are now new words in the English Language.

    Man get pulled over for speeding, Cop says “do you know how fast you were going?” Driver says “Yeah, 85” Cop: “That’s pretty De Smith to be driving that fast”

    College kid gets a 68 on a her Algebra final. The comment scrawled across the top of the page in red read: “You De Smithed this exam. You De Smith this class”

    Drunk takes a leak on underground power transformer. Official cause of death: De Smith Syndrome.

    Ok- I’ll stop…

  13. Thanks for writing this post. Smith is a clear idiot and I feel badly for the players that they have to be led by such a schmuck. The best thing for everyone is for the players to fire this guy, re-unionize and get back to the negotiating table maybe with Troy Vincent as head of the new union. Maybe remove Pitts and Brees from the executive position as well.

  14. I bet a lot of the Players are dreaming Troy Vincent was in charge. Somebody should track him down and get his opinion on this mess.

  15. I think it’s time to start the league without the union. Hire back the players that want to cross the “invisible picket line” and hire undrafted free agents to fill the void.

  16. I have been saying this for months.

    Dee is out of his league.

    Dee and Kessler sold the players a bunch of bull to take over the Union. They created a flawed strategy to use the courts rather than “do a deal”. In the end the owners will wait them out and win.

    No true Union rep would have walked from the Owners offer they would have countered and played the game. But Dee and Kessler walked.

    They can talk the talk but cant walk the walk.
    Dee doesnt care about the players, the fans or the game. Dee cares about Dee and thats it!

  17. Wow… what a change in tone from your previous articles Mike.

    To say you haven’t taken sides is wrong. Your side has always been to root for whatever side yields the quickest “restarting” of league operations – regardless of who gains more leverage and the long-term implications.

    Your criticism of DeSmith now is because he is apparently out of bullets in the courts yet is still spouting inflammatory rhetoric at the very people he will eventually HAVE to sit down and negotiate with.

    When he still had bullets (as flimsy and as damaging to the sport as they were), you were 100% behind his back thinking those bullets would yield a quick resolution.

    How wrong you were. And how happy I am for the overall health of the sport I love the most.

  18. So if PFT and the fans know that D.E. Smith is screwing everyone why don’t the players relize this?

    I agree that any leverage is good leverage but to speak to the media when you know that they will find flaws in your argument is just stupid. He’s only hurting the players and fans of the game more and more.

  19. It would be a little easier to side with the owners if they actually, you know, did stuff that has made the NFL so great.

    Let’s look at the facts briefly. The only good things that you can clearly credit the owners with are:

    (1) Revenue sharing + salary cap/floor with 53m rosters. Allows every market, even the small GBs, Pitts, etc to be as competitive with the big market NY, DC, Philly, etc

    (2) ummm…crickets…honestly can’t think of a single other thing

    NFL is great to watch on TV because of the rise of HD TVs. Owners had nothing to do with that, that credit goes to the Tv manufacturers.

    Better stadiums? Hell nearly all of them have been largely paid by taxpayers, NOT the owners.

    Bottom line is, we watch the NFL because the PLAYERS are awesome and do things that most of us cant’ do in our dreams. The sport is small bursts of high violent yet graceful action that is the single most compelling program on the tellie.

    Owners have had really little to do with the NFL’s growth in popularity. When you have a product that is that exciting, you really dont have to work hard to develop business contracts to promote revenue. The TV networks literally fight over who gets the rights to broadcast the games, as to advertisers as they know they have direct access to the single best demographic.

    All this comes down to is owner greed and I really have no respect for them given that they havent done hardly anything to deserve it.

  20. Mike, I commend you on finally and simply spelling out the real issues out here. In most labor disputes, the employees are asking for an increase in pay, not a percentage of revenue. As you correctly note, while possibly getting a lower percentage of the total take, merely because the take is significantly increasing means the total dollars paid to players will in fact INCREASE. Isn’t that what should be most important to players? That their pay will INCREASE? Why do they have to insist that the people that took the risks to build the game pay half of the revenue away? It makes little sense. If the players and Smith are so dead set on controlling the revenue, then why don’t they just go start their own league, build it and pay themselves whatever they want?

    This guy Smith is without doubt the biggest issue that is causing this to go on for so long. Does he think fans are stupid that they can’t see through his BS? Mike, you easily pointed that out. Even if fans think the owners and GODell have blame here, at least the owners have made AT LEAST TWO offers that we know of. But I don’t think the players have even bothered to respond. Instead, THEY FILED LAWSUITS. At the end of the day, I fully believe there will be an avalanche of players blasting Smith and how he has led the players down this path. I just hope it doesn’t cause this season to be ruined for everyone involved.

    Get this thing settled, so both the owners and players can continue to make their fortunes and we call once again enjoy the sport we all love.

  21. The obvious comment is Mr. Smith is the worst representative, with his name calling and BS. I have a question though. Player endorsement deals are worth millions of dollars and a direct result of the players NFL affiliation. Why aren’t players throwing some percentage of that back into a fund for all players? Same concept.

  22. Its not even June yet and I am at the end of my rope with theses guys .Already put my tickets on ebay. These players have no interest in a deal they just cant admit they are about to lose .At this point i hope we miss the whole season so a couple of them can feel the pain of the rest of the country.

  23. Funny how the responses are overwhelmingly pro-owner this morning. It must be all of the monster-evil-rightwing-bigotted-racist-player haters who actually get up and go to work in the morning. I’m sure around noon, the pro-“worker” crowd will show up.

  24. Smith and, by proxy the rest of the Union’s litigation team, were appointed by the players. They obviously have the intellect to use some form of decision making process, no matter how much we question the results of that process.

    I now hope that the players have enough intellect to start asking questions of their own hierarchy. In my time, I’ve acted as a union rep and, although it was a union for a different sector, the principals of negotiation remain the same.

    It seems more apparent with each passing “De Smith Moment” that the legal team and Smith still want, as they have for some time, to travel the route of litigation.

    I’m not necessarily blaming the players themselves – it’s too easy to blame a body as a gestalt – but I am pointing an accusatory finger at Smith and those withing that clique.

    Here’s hoping that the rank and file of the NFLPA (let’s face it, it still exists and I suspect that all of the NFLPA’s holdings and possessions have mysteriously turned up in the “Trade Association”‘s offices – coincidentally the same offices) act in an interrogative manner with respect to their leaders’ approach. Rationalisations and rhetoric can only do so much.

    The players might do well to recall that their active careers are short compared with some of the terms of ownership. Time lost to a player is of a far greater significance than it is to an owner who has been in situ for, say, 20 years and has no plans to give up the business. The owners are in this for, usually a far longer haul.

  25. I am so sick and tired of seeing these jackasses (on both sides) talk about “the fans” as though we’re important to them… then watch them do absolutely nothing to better the situation.

  26. Great Post.

    Man is De an idiot.

    Like you say, the players will get more money every year. What is the problem? What the owners should do after a cap is implemented is then make the rosters 90 players each and split up all the revenue between 90 instead of 53. That would make me smile.

    Players, I’d like to see 1% of y’all make $320,000 a year doing ANY other job.

  27. every player who supposedly is being irreparably harmed by this lockout should be calling de smith and asking why he is issuing press releases and doing interviews rather than making a counter proposal to the league.

  28. “Though the NFL isn’t the NFL without the players, the deeper question at this point is whether the NFL players are truly responsible for one half of the revenue of an ever-growing sport…”


    What a ridiculous question. The answer is obviously yes.

    No one tunes into the NFL to watch the officials or to listen to Al Michaels. They don’t tune in to watch Jerry Jones pace the sidelines or Tony Dungy preach about values during the pregame. They tune in to watch the best there is at their chosen profession. They tune in to see excellence.

    Your question is as silly as asking, “Though CBS isn’t CBS without it’s stars the deeper question at this point is whether these stars are truly responsible for one half the revenue of an ever growing network..”

    Go ask Les Moonves that question and he will laugh in your face.

    Football players are ENTERTAINERS. Football games are ENTERTAINMENT. If you want the best product that will produce the best revenue then you reward the folks that generate the revenue. It’s interesting that the league refers to Fox, CBS, etc as “our broadcast PARTNERS” yet seems to gag on the idea of players getting the same respect.

  29. D. Smith comments do inflame this fan when this started I really didn’t care who won between the owners and players; but after listening to D. Smith I am 100% for the owners even if it ends up delaying the season. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but if D. Smith gets his way he will destroy football all because of his own stupid ego. I wouldn’t trust hiring D. Smith to pickup the dog crap in my yard and I hope the players start realizing he is going to damage to their game and their careers if they keeping following this idiot.

  30. This article shows how the former players deserve a better representation in this deal making than what they’ve gotten. Current players want to benefit from the entire history of the league but its the owners and teams that have been there for the long haul that built it. Pay the players a set percentage, fine, but when I say players I mean past and present.

  31. An excellent article. It gets down to what most of the fans on this site have known for a long time – negotiations.

    Unfortunately, I just listened to Drew Brees on the “Mike and Mike” show this morning – he sounds as if he HATES the owners and that he’s fallen for anything and everything that De Smith is selling.

    With player leadership like this ( by the way – where are Peyton Manning and Tom Brady hiding during all this?) – it appears that an enormous uprising by the rank-and-file will be the only way that De Smith and Drew Brees finally find some maturity and start to negotiate in good faith.

  32. In determining a fair revenue split you also have to recognize that players don’t put capital at risk. Yes, they put their bodies and health at risk and because of that they should be paid very well (and the league needs to continue effort to help protect players health and both the league and the NFLPA* should do more to provide for retired players).

    However, owners put real capital at risk and a great deal of it. Yes, the league continues to grow and franchise values rise, but that it not guaranteed – and that risk while it impacts the players, falls squarely on the owners. No one is going to take away Tom Brady’s past earnings, but owners can lose capital investments.

  33. Short. Succinct. To the Point. Now, could someone please pull Dee’s head outta his ass long enough to read and comprehend this. Your current tactics are NOT WORKING!! Time to change plans, drop the inflamatory B.S. and earn your paycheck. You work for the players, not the other way around!

  34. Can anyone explain why teachers are not allowed to unionize and get the benefits of unionizing when the players union are not allowed to decertify and get the benefits of not being unionized.

    I am just trying to understand the US legal system because it seems strange to me as an European

  35. Is it me or does De DumbSmith sound ever so confusing when he speaks??? I think he wants to be the George Custer of the NFL go ahead D take your men into a no win situation…

    I really don’t have a side just want the rich and the richer to use common sense and get a deal done…

    Common sense says if you own you should reap more but also reward your employees as well and from we’ve seen from the last CBA the players were rewarded very, very well but they need to wise up and realize you can’t get more than the people who own the product!

  36. Man just shut up with the misplaced rhetoric and get a damn deal done we the fans are getting sick and tierd of this bullcrap. Do you evan know what you are doing De Smith? apparently not.

  37. @wcucarter

    Instead of being like smith and going with pure rhetoric by calling us all racists, I dare you to try, just try to justify deMorons lie about the nfl suing to stop play. They’re locking out the players. There is a difference.

  38. The players need to realize that this joker is leading them into oblivion. He does not have their interests in mind only his own political aspirations. The sooner the players realize this and remove him the better off they will be.

  39. broo53 says: May 18, 2011 9:13 AM

    This is the best article I’ve read on the subject and probably the best article of Mike’s I’ve seen. It should be required reading for all NFL players.



  40. Joe6606 is a Union Shill.

    We cheer for our teams. Players come and go. Once they are gone, they are largely irrelevant in most fan’s eyes. So unless you have a 3 to 5 year windo of being a football fan, better side with the owners. Do you honestly think the players care about the fans? They care about the dollars just as much as the Owners….more so actually. Without football skills, what can 75% of them truely offer society? Nothing.

    Take what your employer is willing to give…..or get out and find you money somewhere else. Works for everyone else.

  41. I doubt most players are intelligent or care enough to understand this post or that their leader doesn’t really appear to know what he’s doing. They will revolt when then can’t pay their bills until then they’ll most likely follow this idiot off a cliff.

  42. Anybody who thinks the players are directly responsible for 50% of the revenue is foolish, to say the best.

    Who made the conscious decision to increase the capacity of most newer stadiums? Owners. More seats = more money.

    Who markets the NFL? Owners. More marketing = more money.

    Who negotiates the lucrative media and sponsorship contracts? Owners.

    Who pays for all the upgrades that fans enjoy at the stadiums? Owners.

    Who generates the buzz by picking up big name free agents, make splashy draft day moves? Technically not the owners directly, but it’s still done under their watch by the people they hire to run THEIR team.

    There are way more people out there that can catch a football than can do what the owners do.

  43. If the players have a right to strike in order to achieve a better deal, then the owners have the right to lock-out in order to improve their financial standing as well. If there’s no lock-out, the player have no reason to renegotiate anything.

    Back in 2006, the deal the NFLPA agreed to at that time had a clause in it that allowed the owners to opt out of this agreement, and all 32 of them chose that option.

    The players can’t have it both ways. They can’t de-certify as a union for the purpose of skirting the lock-out, and then turn around and demand that the existing collective bargaining agreement essentially be re-instated. You can’t ask the courts to enforce an agreement with an entity (the NFL Players union) when that entity no longer exists because of decertification. And asking the courts to remove the owners leverage so they can continue playing with no serious negotiations is not going to solve this problem, and the owners know it.

    More than one NFL insider has suggested for years that Demaurice Smith is using his current position to set himself up for a run for political office. If that’s the case, he can’t afford to come out of this being seen as losing to the owners. That’s why he’s acting so irrational.

    The players need to fire this guy, and get back to the bargaining table. Lawyers don’t need to be settling this dispute; that’s up to the players and the owners.

  44. A final 8th Circuit ruling is not the end of the issue, it merely kicks things to the NLRB. The players have a good shot in that venue, the only downside being the time lost.

    Also, your criticism of the players’ desire for their “share” (at least 50%) is misplaced. They get a share because of the salary cap. Why doesn’t the league end the salary cap and let the value of each player be determined in the open market? Isn’t that the “fairest” way to determine the total player percentage of league revenue and their contribution to the value of the NFL?

  45. Drew Brees mentioned that he felt “helpless” in the labor dispute. I disagree. Mr. Brees could remove name from the anti-trust law suit because he no longer wants to be associated with this madman Smith. Be somebody Drew, show some true leadership, remove your good name from this very distructive suit.

    Thank you,

    Santa Fe

  46. t1mmy10 says:
    May 18, 2011 9:44 AM

    Instead of being like smith and going with pure rhetoric by calling us all racists, I dare you to try, just try to justify deMorons lie about the nfl suing to stop play. They’re locking out the players. There is a difference.

    t1mmy, I believe wcucarter was being sarcastic.

  47. i understand it is about posturing, and both sides have done it. i know the players have a gag order but it’s about time for them to speak up and find a new leader before this guy sinks the players and the league chasing his own agenda.

    Lets be clear, it’s about 50/50 and the players don’t deserve 50%.

  48. The players picked this guy because they wanted to stick it to the only legitimate replacement for Upshaw in Troy Vincent. The head of the players union should be a former PLAYER. Theres no way that this guy, being that he’s never played a down of football, should be allowed to decide whats in the best interests of football players. He’s a liar (as evidenced by his sound bites the past few days).

  49. If they players are going to ask for 50% or more of every dollar the owners make…why don’t the owners demand the same of the players? This means when Payton Manning make $50 Million in endorsements each year, the league gets half. After all the league is providing the platform for him to be famous and make earnings in addition to the huge dollars the team is paying him. Fair is fair, right?

  50. @t1mmy10

    I guess it’s my fault for not realizing that sarcasm doesn’t come across well on the internet. I thought the jabs about the pro-owner people actually getting up and going to work while the pro-player people slept in until noon would get my point across.

    I actually think De Smith is a sniveling little weasel who is trying to ruin the game I love to watch. While I want to see football played as much as anyone, I don’t want to sacrifice the integrity of the game just to see it a little quicker.

  51. I watch high school football games and don’t ever have a clue who any of the players are. I watch it because I love the game. This argument that the players make the sport is getting old and couldn’t be more wrong.

  52. There will be no football this season. Both sides are playing for a decisive win. One of them, the owners, will probably get it and we’ll have the same problem a few years down the road. A tie is what’s needed.

    @scorpion2121 – If you’re going to play outside the lines, I’m sure Peyton would gladly share a portion of his endorsement money if Paul Allen would share an equal portion of his Microsoft fortune, Jerry Jones would share an equal portion of his oil fortune, etc. You get the drift.

  53. jerrydesaulniers says: May 18, 2011 9:22 AM

    I think it’s time to start the league without the union. Hire back the players that want to cross the “invisible picket line” and hire undrafted free agents to fill the void.

    This is what I’ve been saying. Owners say ‘Heres the rules. Take it or leave it. The doors are open to come back to work if you choose.’ Then its on the players to decide how much they care about football and the fans.

  54. If I was a player and this guy was supposedly representing me I would be embarassed. It is high time the players and the owners get together without the vultures and get the deal done. At this point the attorneys are making so much money and ego that they are going to do everything in their power to prolong it.

  55. clintonportisheadd says this…

    “No one tunes into the NFL to watch the officials or to listen to Al Michaels. They don’t tune in to watch Jerry Jones pace the sidelines or Tony Dungy preach about values during the pregame. They tune in to watch the best there is at their chosen profession. They tune in to see excellence.”

    True, ppl don’t tune in to see the owners. They do tune in to see football…whether excellent football or not. Plenty of ppl watch high school and college fb, not for excellence, but because of the game and/or team – not necessarily the players (unless family or friends play of course).

    My point is you can uproot every player in the league and replace them with another player and the game will continue. We all like to think we are valuable, but we can all be replaced.

  56. chapnastier says: May 18, 2011 10:06 AM

    I watch high school football games and don’t ever have a clue who any of the players are……..


    Having read many of your previous posts it’s pretty obvious there are quite a few things (including than high school football) you have no clue on.

  57. I can’t help but feeling that De is using the emotional frenzy a lot of players use to help them do their job against them with his melodramatic lies. Think about it…how many players play using emotion and aggression? A fair amount. Look at all those pregame rituals guys have where they all stand around and one guy screams and hollers stuff to whip them up. This is what De is doing…using their passion and emotion against them to whip them up into a frenzy so they ignore logic. Let’s face it how logical is it for example for an average LT to think he can block DeMarcus Ware one on one? But the gameplan may dictate that he has to do it at times. The LT may KNOW that it isn’t logical but he has to BELIEVE he can do it logical or not. So he most likely has to get his passion and emotion involved so he can believe he can get the job done.
    I hate De for doing this…he is only out for himself and is going about all his self serving BS in the name of the players which is evil.
    I think that to an extent both sides want mostly what’s best for them, BUT..only the owners need to consider the future of the game itself if only for their own long term $ gain.

  58. Who is the PR guy for the NFLPA? It seems they are doing exactly the opposite of what is needed to get the public on their side. Instead of setting a respectful tone that may foster negotiations, all De wants to do is make himself look like a mafia don who refuses to negotiate.

  59. This is just another example of why this guy is such an ass. When are the players going to wake up and speak out against DeBag Smith. WE WANT FOOTBALL!!!!!!

  60. @bluepike

    I didnt see the interview but that doesnt surprise me. The leaders of the NFLPA* have to show a united front in order to get the majority of the players to continue to support them. In the coming months, the tide will change and the dominate opinion among players will not be that of Brees and guys like Dominque Foxworth. They will and probably already are becoming closer to the opinion of Antonio Cromartie.

    I want the league to shut down. Make all the union’s* lawsuits irrelevant and force the players to the negotiation table with their tail in between their legs. If the owners had done that when the union decertified, instead of imposing a lockout on a non union workforce, we might be closer to a deal.

    There comes a point where you just have to say to hell with saving face and winning the PR battle. And pull out the big guns to get it done. That time was when the players walked away from the initial negotiations to file a lawsuit. The fans are clearly already irrelevant, pressure from us is not going to in any way, shape or form impact one side gaining leverage. Nor will we force either side back to the table. So, why the hell should it matter that we would have been upset about the league shutting down.

  61. The word “sue” can be used correctly to describe the league’s appeal to the 8th Circuit Court, so De Smith’s statement is true–the league sued or appealed the lower court’s ruling the lifted the lockout, which had stopped the game.

  62. If you truly believe the NFL is popular because of the team and not the players, ask yourself this:

    what if the owners decided today to cut every current player and replace them with scabs. Simultaneously a new American Football League springs up overnight, with 32 teams, each located in the same city as NFL teams. All the current players sign with the new AFL.

    Are you watching the Cowboys, Giants, Packers because you’re loyal to the team, even though it only has scrub players, or are you watching the star filled Dallas Cowhands, NY Gargantuens, and Green Bay Porkers?

  63. This guy clearly does not believe in a little concept known as standards of decency. Why does anyone in their right mind believe this thing will be solved without missing any games? Bullcrap. There will be no football in September. All you have to do is pay attention to this joker to understand that.

    This man has no standards of decency. It shouldn’t surprise you if this man actually WANTS there to be no football on the anniversary of 9/11 on opening weekend. The man seems to be that disgusting that he’ll see that as leverage to aid in his cause thinking the owners will cave and give in at the threat of that. Just pay attention to him. You really don’t think he wants that? You really don’t think he’d stoop to that if it helps him to reach victory? Open your eyes.

    He clearly seems to be one of these jokers who believes a war of attrition will be in his best interest for clear and total victory. He’s willing to damage anyone or anything to get that victory, damn the consequences.

    He seems like one of those people who believe the owners are greedy pigs who are ultimately weak inside and will cave if he just holds out long enough, even if it means destroying the opening of the season. It’s clear he is doing everything he can to stall. He’s stalling to drag this into the season. He clearly seems to feel the owners, drunk and weak off their own money will ultimately cave if he drags this out to the regular season. Doesn’t anyone see this? You can tell what kind of being he is if you just pay closer attention.

  64. A single moron give power can to terrible things, see George Bush and the American economy. The players need to fire this moron before he destroys the league.

  65. @ joe

    If that were to happen, I’m watching the Cowboys vs the Redskins on opening weekend. Players come and go my friend.


    If you think this economy is because of one administration and not a combination of policies from the past 2, if not more decades of political greed, then you are out of your mind. How about we go to a POLITICAL blog and discuss your ignorance though. This is for football.

  66. Kudos MF, great article. Thank you for explaining this so clearly. I can only hope that some players read this and start to rethink blindly following this guy.

  67. The agenda of the de-certification was to put the issues involved in the courts for independent scrutiny. The likely result of that decision is less likely to be a strengthening of the player’s position in the status quo and more likely to be an over-turning of the status quo.

    Curt Flood sued for his free agency and did not benefit from the results. Generations of players after got the benefits of his fight, athough it took some major followup on the part of the players to secure those right.

    The current player base has the very real prospect of sacrificing at least some of their careers and prospects to see future players treated better in the system. Not necessarily making more money, although that will likely happen, but having much more freedom in choosing where they play and for what terms.

    The important difference between Curt Flood-era baseball and the NFL today?

    The NFL players today are making serious money and unlikely to sacrifice so that they or the players that follow are treated more humanely and with more respect.

    This thing is going to crumble in the fall. There are too many players who are too well paid for it not too in the absence of game checks.

    And then the litigation will continue and the players will likely win changing the face of the game forever.

    It’s not in the player’s over-riding interest to get this thing settled right now. It’s in the owner’s over-riding interest to do so. They’re the ones who are going to lose control of the artificial structures that they have created to channel player movement over the years.

    The big winners in the end, absent a settlement that cuts off litigation, will be Jerry Jones and the big market franchises and fans. The winners alongside them will be players of the future who are free to negotiate with whomever they choose when they leave college (or high school).

    The losers are going to be everybody else.

  68. joe6606

    I would still be watching the Lions with the scrub players rather than the new league especially if the new league is going to be D. Smith’s vision of football (if D. Smith has his way I will probably switch to watching college or another sport even with the players and teams staying in the current league).

    I am a Lions fan and I had to watch as Millen filled the team with scrubs and busts; but I remained a Lions fan and went to games and cheered for them while hating Millen for what he did to my team. I support the team and I very very grateful we have the group of players we have now; but if we traded Stafford, Best, Suh, CJ, … I wouldn’t like it, but I would still remain a Lions fan and root for whoever they brought in.

  69. “The fact that Smith would imperil his credibility so openly and so brazenly demonstrates, in our view, the desperation he’s currently feeling.”

    He HAS credibility??

  70. If this thing goes to it’s logical conclusion at the moment the Lions are a perfect example of a team that is going to be totally screwed by the end result.

    Not a big enough market to really compete for talent in an un-drafted scenario. Not really able to afford to setup and maintain the kind of deep organization that teams like the Cowboys and Patriots and Jets and Giants will. A continual malaise where they can compete in their division sort of, although sound management in Chicago will bury them.

    The Cowboys will scout the high schools with a staff larger than the Loins can assemble and will sign 4 or 5 really good QB prospects out of the senior classes every year. They’ll train those guys to be NFL QBs instead of taking college-trained guys and they’ll have the one of the best QB’s in the NFC on a perpetual basis. They’ll probably pay about 5 million a year in their QB development program to pay the prospects and they’ll cut a few loose each year which will be the pickings that teams like the Lions get.

  71. In the absense of anything meaningful to report, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the ‘we’ of PFT is appealing to its pro-owner consituency here with its criticism of Smith. PFT has already reported that more scientific national polls blame the owners for this mess – not the players as the PFT biased poll has indicated. This site now is trying to appeal to its captive pro-owner audience that PFT considers better than nothing.

  72. The players need to wake up to the fact that their chosen leadership has failed in their strategy to litigate over negotiate.

    The players need to start contacting their player rep’s demanding a change in strategy and if necessary a change in leadership.

    Perhaps to get a deal done the players replace De Smith, Kessler, and perhaps even Mawae.

    A fair and equitable deal can be achieved through negotiation and collective bargaining.

    In order salvage the season the players and NFLPA* need to push for immediate change.

  73. I feel strongly that the De Smith is a cancer in this process. Furthermore, I support the owner’s rights to a lockout within the parameters of labor negotiations.

    I would, however, love to see a proposal that reduced the percentage for both sides, with the reduction going to a fund for future stadium considerations. This would enhance the future of the league, while reducing the taxpayers liability for that success.

    We’re not going to see this, but if either side was really operating with the fans in mind, we would.

  74. I would love to see Troy Vincent replace De Smith. Troy has done a ton for player development both on and off the field.

    Unfortunately he was the victim of a hatchet job, and when he lost the NFLPA election to De Smith, he took a job with the league, and it sure seems NFLPA execs happily pounced on that decision to brand him as an Uncle Tom.

    I find it amazing that the NFLPA seems to make it their job to crucify people like Vincent, while bending over backwards to reward people who screwed over former players over piddling royalties from the Electronic Arts videogame.

  75. A lot of great comments on a fine post by The MF.

    I hope you guys are right and Smith is the fool most of you think he is.

    I’m thinkin’ not…

    His strategy has been to destroy the system as is and get the players true free agency. If he falls short and settles for 45% over the next five years, he’ll have won anyway because the owners’ goal is to, within 10 years, get the game to grow from a 10 billion dollar industry to 25 bil.

    The unseen leverage the player’s have rests with Judge Doty over the TV money the owners negotiated to finance them during the lockout.

    And that ain’t all. If the anti-trust lawsuit ever comes to a conclusion, the Supreme Court–in light of their very explicit and firm decision that the NFL is 32 separate businesses–has to find that ANY rules the NFL imposes without a union/CBA violate anti-trust laws and the league will have to pay triple damages in both cases.

    Smith’s rhetoric is unproductive, I agree, but the man is telling the players, “At the end of what could be a very long day, you will have true free agency, no draft, no franchise tags, and you will have multiple bidders for your services.”

    I would hope fans don’t want that. Dallas would be playing NE or the Jets in every Super Bowl.

    Both sides need to give a little.

  76. @dlionfan

    I have to agree with your logic. I am a Baltimore Ravens fan not a fan of whatever player. If the Ravens entire roster switched with another team’s I would still cheer for the Ravens. If the NFL had fill in players, I would still watch. I watch a lot of college football and I was a big fan of NFL Europe. The talent level of the players doesnt phase me. I just want to see exciting football.

  77. It’s sickening to see these “Pro Player” aka “Anti NFL” people ENCOURAGING the players to dig in and NOT negotiate!


    It takes 2 to negotiate a deal. The NFL is waiting at the table. The Players are still milling about, wasting everyone’s time.

  78. Hmmm. Comment erased? I guess it was the reference to a certain hat the dude wears. Got to tell you, if you’re pulling that along racist lines, I’d say the same thing if a white dude were wearing it…

    So here’s my edited comment:

    Duh continues to be a dope who is completely out of touch with the fanbase.

    Why is it that people in positions of power continue to think the proletariat is made up of dolts? There are many fine minds among us and even a middling one can form better opinions than in years past when information was not so readily available. These “leaders” seem to forget that an informed fan is often a knowledgeable fan and can easily see past the typical “Because I said so” rhetoric whether the purveyor of such BS is a President (current or past) or a glib Duh Smith.

  79. I agree with De. I enjoy watching football. And thats where it ends. Brady, Brees, and all the other names will gently fade from my tv and my memory bank. The NFL shield, team names, and the game itself will remain. What happens when the players make more and the league/owners start to sink? Brady will be sitting there with millions and I will be sitting here with nothing but the UFL and AFL.

    And here is another point. If the league says the players get 65% of the revenue, retired players get nothing, I’m sure the players would jump all over that because they are short sighted and really at the end of the day they dont give a crap about anyone not currently playing football.

  80. Excellent article Mike – this is the kind of stuff that made your website what it is today.

  81. ravensrule1208 says:.At this point i hope we miss the whole season so a couple of them can feel the pain of the rest of the country.

    With the alienation of the current fan base ,wages & benefits going down accross the board, in this economy[ instead of up.]…Where is all the money comming from to fuel this exponentially growing pie? Almost everyone I talk to say it is getting far to expensive to go to games & support the NFL.Something has to give !! I think the pie is going to SHRINK !!

  82. theangryrob says:
    May 18, 2011 9:08 AM

    I’m having a hard time rationalizing it, but I kind of thought this was a great, even handed post. I’m strangely pleased and confused at the same time.

    So, uh, nice work
    189 – up 2 – down


    Okay, so underneath the headline: “More misplaced rhetoric from De Smith,” Mike consistently berated Smith for, in his words, “badly bastardizing the facts.” Somebody comments that they thought it was “even handed” post, and that comment gets voted up by a margin of 189-to-2.

    If you were looking for objective proof that this site’s commentariat is comprised almost entirely of reactionary conservatives on a rampaging pro-owner crusade, here you go.


  83. Excellent post & a lot of thought provoking comments.

    Here’s an idea for the FANS.

    Show both sides how you feel by boycotting all NFL licensed products, just don’t buy any t-shirts, video games, caps etc. Don’t buy any NFL products starting right now until 1 calender year after a CBA is finally signed.

    They carve up hundreds of millions of dollars in licensing fees. Realistically we aren’t going to stop watching football, either in person or on TV. I know I’ll be watching as soon as the 1st game is played. But I don’t have to do it wearing a brand new t-shirt or cap.

    Take away a nice percentage of the $9 billion they divide between them, it’s the only way of showing how pissed off we are.

  84. Parroting, but this was a great article, and I don’t think I’ve seen this whole mess presented in a more even-handed fashion. gj!

  85. I thought a CBA was a collective agreement? When are the players actually going to sit down and bargain a deal? I really hope they get the worst deal in the history of pro sport!

  86. i agree that this is actually a better balanced product by flawrieaux. there is only so much bs even a democrat lawyer like mike can take, apparently. duh only pounds the table and offers no proposals.

    duh smythe is way out of control. it is time for the oakley-ewing moment (hopefully several), and duh gets to play ewing. the plan always was to sue the nfl (cause the union* sued FIRST).

    the league can always get more players. they always do. lockout or strike or neither…

    if u look at what duh’s former boss bam is doing, it’s war on anyone with any cash, especially if they didnt support him, while he spends (and ben prints) the nation into hell. they tell the “little people” they are fighting for them, but they are really doing it for other bigwigs. in this case, the top tier of players. most players wouldnt benefit at all from what duh is pushing towards. including most current players.

    duh is trying to burnish his resume and bring pain on some richer people; he wants in their club because dammit he thinks he deserves it. maybe he can get bam or bam’s nlrb involved also. i am sure some of yall saw what the commie nlrb just did to boeing in south carolina.

  87. @Gairzo

    The lockout can work and the players can crumble as individuals come October/November and your scenario will still come true as the litigation continues on during the owner’s triumph with no way for the owners to shut it down.

    Ultimately to shut down the litigation the owners must have a union sitting opposite them at the table. Assuming the lockout works and the players have to eat the owner’s best offer there’s absolutely nothing that says they have to do it collectively.

    Imagine how things will play in South Carolina and Texas when individual players start returning on the team’s terms and demand the right to work.

    Jerry Jones and Jerry Richardson are going to tell them they have to unionize before they can come back to work? They’d get laughed out of their respective states.

    The owners need to get a deal done unless they’re in a big market. Either that or they need to plan to move to a big market ASAP, because they’re going to need a big TV contract to compete and they’ll only get that in about 10 markets in the US.

  88. I am always amazed at how ill informed, misguided and ignorant the commenters on PFT show themselves to be. Its like the YouTube of sports sites.

  89. richatthelake says:
    May 18, 2011 2:31 PM

    Here’s an idea for the FANS.

    Show both sides how you feel by boycotting all NFL licensed products, just don’t buy any t-shirts, video games, caps etc. Don’t buy any NFL products starting right now until 1 calender year after a CBA is finally signed.


    I’m already doing this myself. My office, house, car and closet are filled with Ravens gear but I refuse to by ANY NFL/Ravens merchandise until this is resolved.

    I invite all NFL fans to do this as well (since both the players and owners get a cut of merchandise).

    I’m willing to take it one step further. I would like to see all season ticket holders to boycott BOTH pre-season games. Doing this would cost me $360 worth of tickets and $80 worth of parking, but I’m up for letting the players play without cheering fans and not lining the owner’s pockets with $8 beers.

    Who’s with me?!?!

  90. I love how my posts are removed.

    I’ll say it again:

    MF’s supposded objectivity in regards to this issue is laughable.

    He is so firmly entrenched on the side of the owners it is ridiculous to even have his voice be heard on this topic.

    MF know who butters his bread, the NFL owners.

  91. So De Smith is like that dude on LordoftheRings Two Towers….
    that guy that like, poisons that old King Guy and makes him do dumb stuff.

    and the players are like that King!

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