De Smith addresses recertification issue

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In a surprise appearance before the cameras and microphones parked outside NFLPA* headquarters, executive director DeMaurice Smith talked about  the question of whether the trade association will lose its asterisk.

“Look, we visited every team some four times over the last two years,” Smith said in comments carried live by ESPN and NFL Network.  “The decision by the players to decertify as a union was a significant one.  And I think most of you remember by neverending road trip where we went team-by-team to talk about the issues of decertification.

“I know from yesterday that the issues for every player about recertification as a union is going to be an important issue, and here in America every time an employee makes that decision about whether he wants to be a part of a union it’s something that is serious, significant and should be done in a sober way.  I know there’s a lot of questions swirling around, and I know from watching the folks at NFL Network that they’ve become experts on the recertification issue.

“Let me tell you, every individuals person has to make a decision about whether they want to be part of a union.  And recommendations made by the Executive Committee as the advisors to the class or the board of directors as advisors to the class are just that.  But the individual decisions are something that our players take extremely serious.”

That’s fine, but let’s be honest about what happened in 2010.  Smith explained to the players that decertification represented the best legal strategy for dealing with a lockout.  And so the players overwhelmingly accepted his recommendation to give him the power to shut down the union in order to block the lockout (which failed) and to obtain damages if the season is lost due to a lockout (which could succeed).  To now explain it all as an intensely personal decision over which no one should have any influence seems a tad disingenuous at best, flat-out passive-aggressive at worst.

If De Smith tells the players that the best legal strategy for signing a new labor deal comes from recertifying the union (and it does), the players will vote to put the union back together as quickly as they voted to take it apart.

As previously explained, having a union in place insulates the NFL from an antitrust lawsuit that would threaten the draft.  And if the draft comes under attack and if the draft is found to be an antitrust violation and if Andrew Luck (pictured) or someone else successfully overturns the draft and the rookie wage scale goes away and Luck can be paid whatever the Cowboys or Redskins or whoever want to pay him, the non-rookies can blame themselves for having less money available to pay their wages under the salary cap.

Let’s repeat that, a bit more bluntly.  If the players don’t become a union again, some incoming rookie will sue the league, arguing that the draft and/or the rookie wage scale is illegal.  If he wins, kids still playing college football will be paid much more money than the proposed labor deal gives them, and that money will come from the pockets of the 1,900 men who have to make the individual decision as to whether to be a union again.

De Smith may not be willing to make a recommendation, but I am.  With protections in place to permit the union to decertify in the future if faced with a lockout, it’s a no-brainer to put the union back together again.

38 responses to “De Smith addresses recertification issue

  1. “With protections in place to permit the union to decertify in the future if faced with a lockout, it’s a no-brainer to put the union back together again.”

    That whole “no-brainer” thing seems to be the problem with the NFLPA.

  2. The players’ efforts now seem like sound and fury, signifying nothing. I just do not understand all this, unless they are actually going to try and get something more than they’ve gotten already. None of this makes any sense.

  3. ” uh uh i have nothing intelligent to say uh uh im gonna go for a walk uh uh thanks buh bye uh uh”
    -d smith.. leader of the nflpa…

  4. I am getting sick and tired of the players dragging their feet on this…. GET THE DEAL DONE

  5. I don’t get what’s so difficult. One side as to recertify, one has to lift the lockout. You’ve been hammering out all these details and, reportedly, agreed on just about everything. Don’t let these ticky tack stupid things run the risk of missing games and sincerely pissing off the most devoted and diehard fan-base in the United States.

  6. Wow, what a mess. People are making a big to do out of issues that should be easy to take care of if certain egos were checked at the door which is putting the bigger issues on the back burner.

    I honestly don’t see an end to this anytime soon.

  7. DE Smith is a douche…..he does not care if they play football….Hey COLLEGE FOOTBALL start playing 3 games on Sundays at 1Pm, 4PM and 8PM and shut these greedy pigs out.

  8. I honestly cannot stand De Smith. Never have. He talks to much and thinks his audience are morons. He is a horrible leader. He needs to tell these guys the facts and stop looking like the ultimate douche. I can’t stand to hear him or see his collection of stupid hats.

  9. The players and the NFLPA continue to show what the majority of us on this site have believed all along!

  10. All I could make out from that was “we talked to every team, yadda, yadda, yadda, the players take this seriously, yadda, yadda, yadda.”

  11. as i’ve been saying all along… both parties have some responsibility for this mess but the players are clearly the ones hindering the whole thing.

    i say the league votes, approves the CBA and sits back and watches as the entire football nation comes down hard on the players for sitting on their backsides and letting this thing fester.

  12. I know what I would do. Tell the players to play patti -cake with Kessler and De Smith, but We (the NFL) are canceling the preseason. And we are making plans on canceling the first four weeks of the season.

  13. De Maur-on Smith being disingenuous?
    No way.
    Players pretending they aren’t in control while the lawyers and agents they pay to be their voices d*ck around in a last ditch effort to jam the owners up again, just as the fans are fooled into believing this is “almost” over?
    No way.

    FANS FIRST NOW. Com!!!!!

  14. it’s funny to me when i think about how the players decided to decertify as a union and cried “let us play”. Now the owners have caved in on every single issue to get this deal done and the players are still making excuses. this is not about them wanting to play football. this about them wanting to make as much money as they can. they have run out of excuses.

  15. Time to get replacement players on the phone. And then Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady can go play in The UFL for $500,000 annually.

    Drew Brees can take his comments about retired players and shove them up his ass. Some individual players, not the group as a whole, made poor personal decisions. Well, I personally think that the decision to drag your feet on a collective bargaining agreement that is going to cost your colleagues millions of dollars is a dumb career decision. Maybe the owners should punish you for it Drew.

  16. “I know there’s a lot of questions swirling around, and I know from watching the folks at NFL Network that they’ve become experts on the recertification issue.”
    THERE’S the snarky De I had come to expect. The new reasonable version that’s been out there of late made me nervous. 🙂

    Someone needs to kidnap Kessler & Batterman.

  17. In every speech before.. He always said he was doing this for the FANS in his annoying voice. But now his is for real… He didn’t mention them once.

    What a FRAUD

  18. The players are not really a union anyway. They are individual mercenaries who peddle themselves to the highest bidder, which is the American way, I understand that. They only pretend to be a union when it suits their purpose. So, fine, do not recertify the union, and take your best shot against the NFL as truly non-union workers. No salary cap floor, no way to force owners to spend money on players, no health benefits, no retirement accounts, no ability to file a grievance when Roger slams a guy who gets drunk and kills someone on the roads, no guarantees in any contracts, no draft. I’d like to see it, because it pretty much guarantees that I will make more money than some NFL payers.

  19. Once the owners vote to approve all the pressure falls back on Smith and the gang. As soon as the only things standing in the way of football are the lawyers and the players, they’ll fold under public pressure. If they don’t, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

    Hurry up and vote owners.

  20. There is not a deal until there is a deal. Right now, there is not a deal.

    How can they get this far and now have the players hesitate about recertifying the union? I tend to believe and hope that D. Smith is just saying what he thinks that he has to say – that is that forming a union is an individual decision.

    I have never heard a union leader say that forming a union is an individual decision. Every union leader that I have ever heard says that all workers should be union members whether or not the individual wants to join.

    Don’t forget, the NFLPA/NFLPA* has 2011 covered by insurance.

  21. It is the media ( ahem!) who is the schmuck here. This matter is none of the media’s business. But certain people in the media ( ahem) think they are larger than the game itself just because they have the internet as a soapbox. The strategies employed by the league and the NFLPA are nobody’s business but their own. All that is important is that an agreement is signed. And…

    From the AP: “The same source said he didn’t believe the NFL’s demand that the NFLPA reform as a union would impede a deal being completed.”

  22. Does anyone still actually believe that De Maur-on and Kessler are acting on their own and against the sincere wishes of the players??? Wake UP PEOPLE. The players pay these guys, just as they pay their agents. Nothing – NOTHING – happens w/o their approval.

  23. ” Will the real D Smith please step forward ?”

    Smith knows all too well that this deal doesn’t have a chance without union re certification !!
    He is a litigator and always has been..He is more than happy to take this thing through the courts.
    Folks…were on thin ice right now…if this blows…fans are going to bail by the thousands !

  24. After months of being held hostage by both owners and players, it would be fitting for fans in every NFL city to send a clear message to the stewards of the game that we are outraged by the greed of both sides.

    I know it will never happen but if opening weekend, all fans refused to to enter any stadium until 11 minutes into the game, players and owners would be forced to see what the game would look like without the fans they take for granted in this grab of greed.

    The images would go out East to West, North and South, and Americans would send a message clearly that We the People own the game. It would be a very symbolic 11 minutes and remind every American that if we unite fans can weigh in and be heard, therefore refocusing both sides attention that we pay for the billion dollar playhouses.

  25. No union, no CBA…right? So isn’t this a pre-req of concluding the deal that’s probably already put to bed.

    Sorry if that’s already been asked / dealt with elsewhere.

  26. And the Union is a great thing for who???? Thats right self interest and thats it. They don’t care if the players play. They care how much money they can get out of this and thats it. Good-bye NFL!!!

  27. It’s weird that Smith had the forethought to go team to team and ask every player for their permission to decertify when the time came, but not the forethought to ask every player for their permission to REcertify when the time came. Derp.

  28. Yeah, they take it very seriously. When the lawyers told them the best way to file their BS lawsuit against the owners was to decertify, they did that. And after they successfully negotiated a new CBA , they decided they were a union again. You can tell just how seriously they take that whole union thing and their commitment to it.

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