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Volume 24 No. 117
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DeMaurice Smith To Head NFLPA For At Least Three More Years After Committee Vote

NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith has been selected by a 14-player committee to lead the organization for at least the next three years, union officials announced last night on Twitter. "The NFLPA selection committee has unanimously selected DeMaurice Smith to continue in the role as our Executive Director," NFLPA President Eric Winston tweeted around 9:00pm ET. "Congratulations to De and we know there is more work to be done." Smith tweeted, "The union is centered on player leadership. I am proud of their commitment, humbled by their trust in me and honored to serve. There is more work to be done." NFLPA Assistant Exec Dir of External Affairs George Atallah said the union would not be commenting beyond those two tweets. Smith was elected under a new election process in the NFLPA constitution, the terms of which just became public in the last several weeks. Under the old rules, any three player team reps could put up a candidate for Exec Dir and there would be an election. The rules were changed after eight different challengers received recommendations to run against Smith in '15. As part of the new constitution, a selection committee of 14 players determine the fate of the Exec Dir. The new rules dictate that the Exec Dir serves a term no less than three years and no more than five. ESPN's Jim Trotter, who first broke the news last night, reports Smith's term will run through '21. The current CBA expires in March '21. Smith's current contract was set to expire in March (Liz Mullen, Staff Writer).

Mehri said the selection of Smith does not
represent the choice of NFL players
MEHRI VOWS TO KEEP FIGHTING: Smith's election comes as DC-based attorney Cyrus Mehri was actively campaigning for the position, including calling NFLPA player reps to get their support. Mehri last night said the selection of Smith does not represent the choice of NFL players. "This disenfranchised 2,100 players and robbed players of the ability to determine their own destiny; robbed players of considering viable candidates, new ideas and new approaches," Mehri said. "But the good news is over time we are going to turn this around." Mehri vowed to continue his fight. He said, "We are going to fight for players' choices and fight for their ability to choose their own destiny. We are going to right this wrong" (Mullen). Mehri said, "There are players on 26 NFL clubs that were not represented in this vote. (The players) were instructed not to look at other viable candidates, such as my campaign. [Smith's] legitimacy has been thrown out the window, because he refused to compete like NFL players do every day." In DC, Mark Maske cited a source which responded to Mehri’s characterization of the voting process by pointing out that the NFLPA constitution "is a publicly available document included in the required annual filing with the U.S. Department of Labor" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/20). ESPN's Field Yates said, "I don't think anyone ever felt as though there was a strong chance that DeMaurice Smith was going to be unseated from his post.” Yates: “Are there players that are satisfied with the job he's done entirely? Probably not. There other areas you could point to and say, ‘I'm not sure that went as the players wished it had gone under De's watch.’ The same time, there was no traction for a strong candidate to oppose De Smith" (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 9/20).

READY TO RUMBLE? NBC's Mike Florio notes the NFLPA is now "locked in with De Smith as they embark on the final three years of the current labor deal." With Smith’s new contract coinciding with the end of the CBA, the union is "probably going to keep Smith for another three-year term beyond that." Florio: "I don’t see that it would make any sense whatsoever that it would change leaders of the organization in just a matter of months before that” ("PFT," NBCSN, 9/20). YAHOO SPORTS' Frank Schwab wrote Smith and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell facing off over the next CBA is "like a boxing card that’s announced years ahead of time." Smith has "seen many people threaten to take his post, but he keeps lasting in his job" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/19).

TWITTER REAX: Pepperdine sports law professor Alicia Jessop tweeted, "NFL players walk a tightrope in retaining Demaurice Smith. His NFLPA signed off on a CBA giving Goodell the most power of any commissioner." ESPN's Darren Rovell: "After all that has gone on over the last few years, NFL players re-elect DeMaurice Smith in a unanimous vote. I'm confused." The MMQB's Albert Breer: "The upshot of this for the NFLPA is that DeMaurice Smith will lead all negotiations with the NFL thru the '21 expiration of the current CBA." WJFK-AM's Eric Bickel: "De is relentless & brilliant."