After a democratic free-for-all, the band is staying together in Washington.
DeMaurice Smith has been re-elected for his third term as NFL Players Association executive director. He won on the first ballot which means he got at least 17 of the 32 votes.
First elected in 2009 following the passing of long-time union chief Gene Upshaw, Smith became the first executive director to face a challenger in decades. Eventually, Smith faced eight.
He’ll be up for re-election in 2018, and that will be a critical decision for the union. After the 2020 season, the current labor deal expires. If the contract is going to be extended before a possible work stoppage in 2021, the person running the union from in the three years commencing in March 2018 will have a strong influence over the negotiations.
Between now and then, it would be prudent for the NFLPA to take a serious look at revising election procedures that allow any player representative to nominate as many challengers as he wants. A better approach is needed to narrow the field before the challengers compete for the job. All of a sudden, the union that rarely sees an incumbent director face a challenge has seen a challenge so convoluted and crowded that it surely became difficult for the men speaking for all pro football players to keep a baseball lineup of options straight.