NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith planning to work 1 more term
NFL Players Association leader DeMaurice Smith intends to leave after serving one more term.
The NFLPA’s board was unanimous in approving Smith’s appointment as executive director. Union president JC Tretter stated that Smith would not be returning for the next term. It is possible that the term will be one year. Smith’s contract was due to expire in March 2022.
“He was open with us about his desire to move on after this term. “For the stability and security our union, he will collaborate with our player leadership in order to ensure that we have a succession program in place for our next leader,” Tretter, an Ohio Browns offensive lineman, stated in a statement.
“De cares deeply about our union and about our players and we thank him for staying to help us secure a strong future for the NFLPA.”
The 57-year-old Smith said he is looking forward to “continuing to fight for players.”
“I shared with the players that I wanted this to be my last term as their executive director and that I wanted to stay to ensure that we have a succession plan which puts the NFLPA in the strongest possible position after I leave,” Smith said in a statement.
“From the beginning of my tenure here, my mission has been the same and the fact is that I serve at the pleasure of the players.”
Smith was elected in 2009 and led the players through the league’s lockout in 2011. That summer, the sides reached agreement on a 10-year CBA that included, among other things, reductions in practice and meeting times and in how much contact was allowed in those practices. Last year,
NFL player approved another labor agreement that runs through the 2030 seasons. It features a 17-game regular season, higher salaries, increased roster sizes and larger pensions for current and former players.
However, there was strong opposition from players to the new collective bargaining arrangement. Many stars spoke out against the agreement, including Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Todd Gurley. The total vote, among the nearly 2,500 union members who participated, was 1,019-959. Ratification needed a simple majority.
While the union and the league have battled often over numerous issues, Smith and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell came together last year during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the season went uninterrupted. Both the union and league negotiated new protocols that allow games to continue.
Retaining Smith to serve another term allows the union to have a smoother transition. Some players believe it should be an ex-player. For 25 years, the NFLPA’s executive Director was Gene Upshaw, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman.
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