SBD/August 23, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

DC Attorney Cyrus Mehri Plans To Run Against De Smith Next Year As NFLPA Boss

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DC-based attorney Cyrus Mehri last night "confirmed his intentions" to run against DeMaurice Smith for NFLPA Exec Dir next year, according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. Mehri, a prominent civil rights lawyer who also serves as counsel for the Fritz Pollard Alliance, said, "I couldn't live with myself if I didn’t come forward." He added, "A lot of Hall of Famers see a train wreck coming. The management side and the players' side don't get along, and it's become about being overly litigious, losing in court" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/23). Mehri announced his candidacy last night on HBO's "Real Sports," where the net's Bryant Gumbel reported Mehri was "sought out by some former players." Mehri said, "The more I saw how unfair the last CBA deal was, the more I felt I had to answer the call. ... The players went backwards economically in a massive way, and that's hundreds of millions of dollars that were forfeited. De Smith gave the commissioner a blank check -- ‘Dear commissioner, you can do whatever you want on player discipline.’ Well, we're going to fix that.” He said of the current relationship between the league and the union, "The well has been poisoned. You can't get much done with that kind of relationship." Mehri said he has a professional relationship with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, adding, "They have no choice but to bargain with me in good faith. If they don't, we're going to hit them really hard in ways that no major league sport has been hit before.” Mehri said he plans to "go to all 32 clubs, crisscross this country to present my platform, my new ideas, my approach." Smith said he intends to stay in the position "if the players want me to stay" ("Real Sports," HBO, 8/22).

WANTING TO START TALKS EARLY: PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio notes Mehri released a statement last night about his candidacy that noted he will urge that "negotiations on a new CBA start early." The current deal expires after the '20 season, and Florio writes it will be "hard to do an early deal absent real leverage." Florio: "There's no leverage until it expires -- and until the players show the resolve to strike. That's the challenge the NFLPA always will face, regardless of who's running it" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 8/23). Mehri recently joined Twitter and used the platform last night to confirm his candidacy: "I humbly announce my candidacy for @NFLPA ExecDir. Look forward to sharing my vision w/ players and earning their support #unity #newvision" (TWITTER.com, 8/22). Former NFL exec Joe Browne tweeted, "Wouldn't think owners want to see Cyrus Mehri across negotiating table ... he's smart, shrewd & understands NFL." Eventia USA's Pete Davis: "Good. ... Players got a bad deal in last CBA, left tons of $$$ and leverage on the table." Deadspin's Lindsey Adler: "Interesting idea."
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