De Smith pegs likelihood of playing in 2020 at “six, seven” on scale of 10

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The NFL’s certainty that pro football will be played this year easily would be pegged at 11 on a scale of one to 10. The NFL Players Association doesn’t share that degree of confidence.

Appearing on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel in a discussion recorded on Thursday, May 21, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and two other sports union chiefs were asked to predict the likelihood that their leagues will return to action before the end of 2020, with ten being, “I’m absolutely certain.”

Smith put the number at “six, seven.”

Smith’s answer came third, after he punted the question (laughing while doing so) to MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark.

“Yeah, I will tell you I remain optimistic,” Clark said. “I do. I know that’s not a number, but I do remain optimistic. . . . Seven would be a C, eight would be a B. Eight and a half, maybe a B+. I am in the B+ range. I was an A-, B+ student, so I’ll land there. But I’ll tell you, it’s really not that simple. You know, even today, [I] got an update as to how, you know, we don’t know everything we wanna know and how things are continuing to change. But I do remain optimistic that we’ll get back out there and play.”

Gumbel then turned to National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts.

“I’ll give you a six,” Roberts said. “It was probably an eight last week. I’ve gotten some recent concerns expressed by players now that babies, children have been infected. So heightened concerns have come into the conversation. So, I’d say a six.”

Gumbel then asked Smith for his input.

“Well, UVA law graded on a curve,” Smith said. “So I’m gonna go with a, you know, probably a six, seven. But, you know, look, a lot depends on what happens with the other sports. And to say that we aren’t looking at what’s going to be happening in basketball and baseball — and we’re not looking at how they work through these things, we would — I’d be lying to you if we’re not. So how about if I go with six, seven on a curve?”

That’s not nearly the level of optimism that fans have developed, as fueled by the NFL’s repeated claims that the season will proceed. But it’s a reminder that the NFL may still need the NFLPA to agree with the plans for the 2020 season, especially if any significant adjustments to game location, travel, or other procedures will be implemented in order to get the games in.

The new episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel debuts on Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. ET.

26 responses to “De Smith pegs likelihood of playing in 2020 at “six, seven” on scale of 10

  1. Likelihood I’ll get dunked on by a dozen or so Bills fans for saying Derek Carr is better than Josh Allen? 9, 10.

  2. These union leaders are just looking to get the best deal possible for their players, which they should be. The only leverage they have is the threat of not playing.

    Spoiler alert: They’re playing.

  3. Translated: We’ve talked to some of our liberal friends and are now against reopening…uh, for whatever reason they can come up with.

  4. It’s gonna happen, there’s too much money on the line to not happen, and there’s no element of surprise to deal with like what NBA, MLB, and NHL experienced.

  5. Alternative Headline: “Union President answers question in way that applies maximum leverage for his union in preparation for difficult negotiation period”

  6. LOL a 6 or 7? If MLB, NHL, and NBA are playing as early as June, the NFL is playing. I’m pegging it at about an 11 on a scale of 10.

  7. It’s been a 10 out of 10 chance since day one

    Who are we kidding?

  8. Reading between the lines, he is saying that the only thing that can stop the Redskins from winning the Super Bowl this year is the coronavirus. That’s unfortunate but public health should be priority number one.

  9. Likelihood DeSmith will ever be confused for a competent player representative “six, seven … out of 100”

  10. “We’ve talked to some of our liberal friends and are now against reopening…uh, for whatever reason they can come up with.”

    As opposed to the “conservatives” under Trump whose white house economic adviser Kevin Hasset on Sunday referred to laid off workers as “human capital stock”, ie “human livestock” and don’t care the slightest about me, you, or anyone else not a multi millionaire or billionaire?

    I’ll take a liberal that shows actual concern for people any day of the week.

  11. Sounds like he is renegotiating for contracts that are 60 to 70 % of their existing value.

  12. Well players don’t have guranteed contracts in the NFL so if they don’t play they don’t make any money this year. The owners will always want the season to continue so barring some major setback there’s no way the NFL doesn’t start on time

  13. I’d believe it if he meant playing in September. I’m pretty certain that there will be football before November and likely by Columbus Day. The NFL currently has some near-insane logistics to figure out (fans, modifications to travel, state and local regulations, three teams dealing with two stadium delays, etc) but the financial incentives should be enough to overcome them.

  14. @covidiots….yeah buddy. Just keep telling yourself the likes of people like Pelosi care about you. Your comment is laughable.

  15. They will play with or without you. Smith has to be the biggest disaster for the players he represents since the last fool that told them to strike.

  16. Thankfully, my area has been fairly normal for weeks and even saw some fairly large parties during Memorial Day. But oh now, we’ve had 7 whole cases for weeks now so we should be afraid and cancel our lives and rights. Give me a frickin’ break. Hopefully more people realize they’re living in America soon and don’t take this crap (especially because it is politically driven). Take back your life!

  17. No way they play this year. Why would you risk getting your children and parents sick for money? I haven’t seen my mom in months because I don’t want to take a chance and get her sick.
    If they play I’d sit out. What can they do take game checks? That’s what the union is for to help you out in a time of actual need.
    Failure by the federal govt to notify Americans in 2019 was based on monetary desicions. Plus if you get sick there is a likelyhood it could do enough damage to never play again.
    Once the feds step up in testing the game will come back out at a %5 kill rate I’ll pass

  18. He has no leverage once he tells the players that they won’t get PAID if they don’t play.

  19. I’ll take a liberal that shows actual concern for people any day of the week.

    Bringing politics into sports is not near as bad as bringing it into religion no matter ones faith. Unfortunately the discussion ends up the same.

  20. puunersjabski says:
    May 26, 2020 at 7:51 pm
    No way they play this year. Why would you risk getting your children and parents sick for money? I haven’t seen my mom in months because I don’t want to take a chance and get her sick.
    If they play I’d sit out. What can they do take game checks? That’s what the union is for to help you out in a time of actual need.
    Failure by the federal govt to notify Americans in 2019 was based on monetary desicions. Plus if you get sick there is a likelyhood it could do enough damage to never play again.
    Once the feds step up in testing the game will come back out at a %5 kill rate I’ll pass

    ——————————————-

    So you must fall into the I’m still working at full pay, or are receiving more on unemployment than you were working. Like it or not (and I cannot imagine WHY for the life of me not) this country is opening. These guys need money too. Do you think the union just gets them paid because there is a union? No play, no pay. The owners will always win. And when they play, you will be watching. Just like the rest of us. Why? Because we love it … that’s why.

    And I hope you are blaming the entire government in your comments. If you read the latest stimulus package, it only stimulates the political agenda of these goofballs. ALL OF THE GOOFBALLS. Get your head out of your A**.

  21. We can’t hide forever. The odds are most of us will get it or already had it and did not know it.

  22. On a scale of 1-10, the chances that this is a union leader trying to curb some of the enthusiasm in order to get some financial gains… 10.

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