SBD/Issue 138/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NFLPA's Smith Ready To Tackle NFL Head-On During CBA Talks

Smith Says He's Extremely Blunt
When Talking To People
New NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith said the union "elected me to do a job, and I'll tell you what, I'll do it," according to David Elfin of the WASHINGTON TIMES. Smith: "I have one way of talking to people. I'm extremely blunt, sometimes a little too blunt. The NFL is an $8[B] enterprise. Over the last 10 years, the (average) franchise value has grown by over 400[%]. And it operates with antitrust exemptions. It's the only game in town." Smith said he sees his new job as providing "vision and leadership to ... every player in the league to maximize their interests, to understand their problems, to protect their safety and welfare, to provide for a better life for them after football than the life they had before, to engage the retired players in a way to make sure that we're doing everything that we can for them and to work with the owners to make sure that we live up to our obligation to our fans that they get to enjoy the game of football." But Smith said of his looming CBA negotiations with the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell, "I don't think that either of us are going to be pushed in any direction because of perception. Both of us understand our respective obligations, and we have a very fine sense of our constituents, but the reality is that we are business partners. This is not an antagonistic relationship. Does it have to be, at times, adversarial or contentious over some issues? Yes. But there's a relationship that has been extremely successful and beneficial for a number of years" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/6).

WELCOME TO THE CLUB: Patriots OT Matt Light will replace LB Mike Vrabel as the team's NFLPA player rep after Vrabel was traded to the Chiefs, and Light believes that the players are "as unified as ever." Light, who attended the NFLPA's March meetings where they elected Smith, said, "I felt like we had four strong candidates, but I think it was really clear to everybody in the room that DeMaurice was the guy that just stood above the rest. He is very polished, a very good speaker, and has some great insight into how business is done at the level of which the NFL conducts business" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/5).

Patriots LB Adalius Thomas Does Not Like Idea
Of Possible 18-Game Regular Season
BRINGING THE RUSH: Patriots LB Adalius Thomas Friday said of an 18-game regular season, "My idea of it? It sucks. I mean, basically, why would you want an 18-game season? Why? For what?" When told the extra games "are about money," Thomas said, "Exactly. As far as that goes, with me, the money thing, stop. Just stop. If (NFL owners) want to cry about money, then open your books up to an independent audit to really show how much money you're making. If you really want to cry about money, open your books up, put what you really make in the paper like you put our salary in the paper every year" (, 4/3).'s Peter King writes the NFLPA "needs to include Adalius Thomas in its negotiating committee with the owners," because he will "keep it lively, and I think he'll keep it on point." Meanwhile, King added, "I still find it very, very hard to believe in this economy that the owners are going to get the TV networks to pay them any more than the current deals, never mind an increase for the increased inventory" (, 4/6).

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