Gilbert, Smith campaign looms

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As the players on each NFL team elect their representatives, a process that happens every two years and has been unfolding for the last two months in cities throughout the league, no clear indication has emerged regarding whether the new board of player reps will favor keeping DeMaurice Smith as executive director of the NFL Players Association or replacing him with former NFL player Sean Gilbert.

In March, the representatives will have to decide whether they want Smith, Gilbert, or someone else to hold the job for the next three years.  Gilbert’s platform emanates from the argument that the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement must go; if elected, he plans to file a collusion claim that would invoke the union’s right to terminate the deal, which otherwise expires seven years from now, in 2021.

With Smith presumably content to stand pat, it’s possible for the looming election to be couched in the following terms — by voting for change, there’s no downside.  If Gilbert wins the election, tries to negotiate a new deal, and fails, the players will finish in the same position they’d be in if Smith wins the election.

Of course, there’s a chance an effort by Gilbert to blow up the CBA eventually will trigger another lockout, one that causes games to be wiped out and forces players to sacrifice game checks.  The players would have to be willing to assume the risk of a potential work stoppage, if they go along with Gilbert’s plan to seek premature termination of the labor deal based on collusion.

That logic also overlooks Smith’s efforts to negotiate a substance-abuse policy and a PED policy with more favorable player protections.  Moreover, Smith and the union currently are attempting to negotiate a more favorable personal conduct policy.  It’s unclear whether Gilbert would have similar success on those fronts.

Gilbert’s desire to play 18 games also could work against him, since most players seem to be firmly against it.  Still, as it relates to the basic question of whether the current labor deal can be improved, Gilbert is committed to trying.  On that issue, there’s nothing to lose . . . unless it takes a lockout to ultimately improve the current deal.

7 responses to “Gilbert, Smith campaign looms

  1. I hope Gilbert gets the job , he wants owners to have to pay 10% of any remaining money left on a released players contract. Would eliminate the constant restructuring of contracts to load them back-end which usually gets the player cut.

  2. Smith may not be great but Gilbert would be a disaster. He actually sat out an entire season rather than take a franchise tag and advised Revis during his holdout, which could have gone on even longer.

    NFL fans, be very worried if Gilbert gets the job.

  3. I like how the article states that the players would have nothing to lose if Gilbert wins and then itemizes how the players could lose if Gilbert wins.

  4. Why is it always the lesser of two evils in this country? Can’t an elected official just be competent for once? In this case, Smith vs. Gilbert is no different than Obama vs. McCain. Which moron will screw things up the least?

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