Owners, players need to trust the men they hired


As NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell embarks on a big week and NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith tries to hold together a variety of factions that aren’t nearly as united as some would believe, the owners and the players have only one thing that they need to do.

Trust the men they’ve hired to do the jobs they’ve been hired to do.

We’ve raised this point before, but it’s never been more important than it will be this week, with an ownership meeting followed by a critical stretch of labor negotiations.  Goodell was hired in 2006, and he has pushed the NFL to even bigger numbers and popularity than it enjoyed under his predecessor, Paul Tagliabue.  Smith, in turn, got his job after the NFL made clear its desire to reopen the labor deal; even more than Goodell, Smith specifically was hired to lead his constituents through the mine field in which they’re now tap dancing.

If they’re smart (and they are), each man will let the naysayers have their say, and then Goodell and Smith will exercise true leadership that reflects the long-term best interests of the league, the players, and the game.  If history judges the deal to be bad for either side, then the man who did the deal can be held accountable — a consequence Tagliabue avoided via the very retirement that arguably prompted him to rush into an agreement that the owners quickly came to regret.  Neither Goodell nor Smith appear to be looking for his next landing spot, so each man has a strong incentive to do a fair deal that survives the test of time.  And each man has a strong incentive for his counterpart to succeed.  Over the past few weeks, they’ve begun to create the kind of relationship critical to restoring long-term labor peace.  That relationship will be strengthened if/when they find a way to finish the job.

The folks who sign their checks need to let them.

18 responses to “Owners, players need to trust the men they hired

  1. “Neither Goodell nor Smith appear to be looking for his next landing spot,…”
    Many would beg to differ–at least when it comes to Smith.

  2. In the past, De Smith has been 100% committed to the litigation, not negotiation, tract. At that time it looked like he was trying to be the hero to the players by defeating the NFL in court.

    Since the 8th circuit “preliminary ruling” (or whatever you want to call it) it looks like the litigation tract would fail.

    Probably because of this, De Smith appears to have switched to the negotiation tract. So now it looks like he is trying to be the hero by getting a deal done with the NFL. Fine by me, and that is to his credit. Getting a positive outcome instead of staying committed to the foolish and suicidal course of litigation shows he is not so dumb.

    I have been a huge critic of De Smith in the past, but if he can commit to negotiations and stop the inflamatory statements designed to fire up players, then he gets credit at least for standing up to Kessler and the other attorney’s who are gambling with the players livelihoods. Kessler has nothing to lose by the litigation tract. If they lose the lawsuit, he makes many many millions of dollars. If they win, he makes many more millions. The players on the other hand are the ones who would suffer from the lawsuit tract and the ones who would gain by negotiating a fair deal. I’m still skeptical but it looks like De Smith has recognized that litigation is not the best way to go. And that’s a good thing for the players and the NFL.

  3. Forgot to mention that the only way Kessler and the attorney’s lose is to have a negotiated deal or a quick settlement. The longer the suits (lawsuits) take, the more money the suits (lawyers) make.

  4. Goodell needs to quit being the owners do boy, and get a deal for the long term growth and good of the NFL. He is the commish to the players also, its time he acted like it. DeMaurice is better than Upshaw, Goodell reminds me of a Fay Vincent type.

  5. Goodell is a creampuff, look at the picture. He’s shaking Smiths hand like a weak little girl. He need’s to stand up in Chicago like he has a pair and get a deal done.. If he was truly a leader a deal would be done by now. He will go down as the worst commissioner in NFL history. Mark it down.

  6. im just glad demaurice smith has finally toned down on all the us against them rhetoric etc..the majority of owners are also willing to now compromise and get a deal done as opposed to attempt to strong arm the players into submission..
    that plus the lawyers being tossed out has made a world of difference

    i read the late july quotes about a new deal being done on this site and from players as well..lets hope this is the case and that there are no wrenches thrown in the works by an unscrupulous lawyer who wants in the spotlight or a pissed off and cheap owner who didnt get a deal where the players play for 5.75 an hour, no healthcare and free agency is non existent..
    (think brown in cincinatti or wilson in buffalo..

  7. “trust the men they hired” ? Are you kidding me? Do you honestly think DeSmith wants what is best for football? Do you think the Brady suit is what is best for football?

    Mike you are better than this stupid article….

  8. Best article on PFT ever. This article tells it like it is, I hope Goodell and Smith use their brains and get this thing done in the best interests of everyone. I normally am an optimist, but right now I am worried.

  9. It would have been nice if the “Men they Hired” would have made a Father’s Day announcement that an agreement has been reached and the freaking lockout is over!

    But NO! On this Father’s Day, fathers everywhere linger in their depression, fully understanding that if something doesn’t happen soon, they will be relegated to the task of actual parenting on football Sundays, instead of having the usual free pass to watch 12 straight hours of football, eat 10 lbs of greasy sausages, and drink five gallons of beer.

    This Father’s Day sucks!

  10. I cosign bobwhitequail. This thread is the truth. They hired these people, trust that they made the correct deal. FOr me, as long as it does not include an 18 game schedule then I am good. The Super Bowl fell on my birthday this year and I want an occasional Superbowl/Birthday party…yes, it is selfish. I still don’t want an 18 game season.

  11. and Skoalbrother gets the award for dumbest post of the night. It’s a lockout not a strike. As such, the owners can’t hire replacement players because they initiated the work stoppage. Never let the facts get in the way of your argument…

  12. No offense intended to bobwhitequail, but the dude is an idiot. He would be the kind of guy who would accept any offer, no matter how ridiculous, because any offer would be more than he deserves. Unlike you, bobwhitequail, the players have leverage, as even the greatest of simpletons will recognize once the the final deal is compared to the first (final) offer.

    Peace, brother.

  13. @ hedley

    The players have no leverage, at all. Once they start losing their pay checks and going to jail far more often, they will get the hint.

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