SBD/December 22, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFLPA Exec Committee Votes To Pay DeMaurice Smith His $1M Bonus

Smith had never received a bonus during his tenure as NFLPA Exec Dir
The NFLPA Exec Committee "voted to give" Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith his $1M bonus, according to Mike Freeman of CBSSPORTS.com. An NFLPA statement read in part, "The Executive Committee of the NFLPA stands firmly united behind Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and what has been accomplished under his leadership." There had been "some concern among some NFLPA leaders that Smith might not receive the bonus and he could depart" (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/21). In DC, Mark Maske notes the bonus "is in addition to Smith’s salary, estimated by several people knowledgeable about Smith’s compensation to be about $2.5 million annually." Smith "did not receive his salary during the 4 1/2-month NFL lockout and previously had not received any bonuses during his tenure as executive director." His contract with the NFLPA "expires in March" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/22). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio noted the the Exec Committee "doesn’t have the exclusive say" on whether Smith's contract will be renewed, as the Board of Player Representatives "also will have input." Florio: "Any of the player representatives who already had concerns about Smith possibly will be even more concerned by the appearance that he strong-armed the Executive Committee into paying the $1 million bonus by threatening to quit" (NBCSPORTS.com, 12/21).

NFL HEADACHE
: In Atlanta, Angel Brooks reports four former NFLers "are suing the league over long-term injuries they say were caused by concussions they suffered as athletes." The lawsuits were filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta on behalf of Jamal Lewis, Dorsey Levens, Fulton Kuykendall and Ryan Stewart. The plaintiffs allege that they "suffer from memory loss, headaches and sleeplessness as a result of multiple traumatic brain injuries during their careers." The suits argue that the NFL "was negligent in its research of head injuries and concussions and downplayed the link between concussions and brain damage." The league also is "accused of fraud for materially misrepresenting the risk to players, failing to warn them and not adequately protecting them" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 12/22).
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