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SBD/March 7, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies
NFL Labor Watch: Goodell, Smith Working Together To Bridge Gap
Published March 7, 2011
UPPING THE ANTE: FOXSPORTS.com's Alex Marvez wrote Smith, meeting with the press after the NFL and union agreed to the seven-day extension on Friday, "gave the kind of lawyeresque speech that his straight-to-the-point predecessor would never deliver." An attorney before joining the NFLPA in '09, Smith "sounded more like he was trying to sway a jury to side with the union in his four-minute 'news conference' than provide meaningful perspective on the labor talks." Smith "branched into propaganda with seven references" to the fans, and also made reference to the late Dave Duerson as "being part of the initial lawsuit that helped bring the CBA into existence in 1993." But Marvez noted "skeptics will wonder whether Smith was being exploitative by invoking Duerson's name in a labor negotiation when answering a simple, unrelated question" (FOXSPORTS.com, 3/5). In Pittsburgh, John Harris wrote, "The players aren't backing down. Instead, they've ramped up the pressure. It starts with leadership. Union chief DeMaurice Smith is doing what people believed couldn't be done." Smith's ability to convince QBs Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees to "be plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against the league if the union decides to decertify was a stroke [of] genius." Harris: "It delivered a forceful message to owners that the union won't buckle" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/5).