SBD/Issue 151/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NFLPA's Smith Says CBA Talks Will Begin Shortly After Draft

Labor talks between the NFL and the NFLPA will begin shortly after the Draft this weekend, said DeMaurice Smith, the new Exec Dir of the football union. That timetable is far earlier than previously expected, as insiders had projected that the talks would not begin until the fall, at the earliest. The current CBA expires after the '10 season. However, the coming season will be the last played with a salary cap, under the deal. Smith, speaking to reporters in N.Y. Friday morning, emphasized the need for owners to make available their audited financial statements. He also said the union has a fiduciary duty to retired players, which is in stark contrast to comments from his predecessor Gene Upshaw, who famously said he only represented active players. However, when asked if the NFLPA had made a decision whether to drop its appeal of a $28.1M jury verdict against the union for failing to market retired players, Smith responded, “No." Smith declined to comment in detail on his employment contract, which despite him having had the job for six weeks he has yet to sign, but he assured reporters he was in the position to stay.

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