Sat, October 16, 2021

international

NFLPA player reps reelect DeMaurice Smith for final term as executive director


Player representatives voted Friday night to extend the contract of DeMaurice Smith for a final term as executive director of the NFL Players Association.

The player reps for the 32 teams, meeting via conference call, also voted to reduce the minimum length of Smith's next term to as little as one year, according to a person familiar with the deliberations. Smith's next contract thus will last for anywhere from one to five years, under the NFLPA election rules put in place before his previous reelection in 2017.

Smith told the players on the call that this will be his final term.

"I shared with the players that I wanted this to be my last term as their Executive Director and that I wanted to stay to ensure that we have a succession plan which puts the NFLPA in the strongest possible position after I leave," Smith said in a written statement. "From the beginning of my tenure here, my mission has been the same and the fact is that I serve at the pleasure of the players. Thank you to the Board [of player reps] and I look forward to continuing to fight for players."

JC Tretter, the Cleveland Browns center who is the NFLPA's president, confirmed that the player reps had voted to extend Smith's contract "for one more term" as executive director.

"He was transparent with us about his interest in moving on after this term," Tretter said in a written statement, "and for the stability and security of our union, he will work with our player leadership to ensure we have a succession plan in place for the next leader. De cares deeply about our union and about our players and we thank him for staying to help us secure a strong future for the NFLPA."

Smith, who has been the union's executive director since 2009, faced a tougher reelection this time, one year after players narrowly ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with the league. That CBA provided economic gains for the players while authorizing team owners to add a 17th game to the regular season, which they put into effect this year.

The player reps voted, 22-8, on Friday's call to extend Smith's contract, according to a person familiar with the results. Two of the player reps abstained from the vote. The 22 votes were the minimum needed to be secured by Smith to keep the election process from being opened to other candidates in March.

The matter was put before the 32 player reps after players on the NFLPA's 14-member selection committee were split, 7 to 7, in their vote on the issue Tuesday night. A unanimous vote in Smith's favor in that initial vote would have led to his contract being extended without a vote of all 32 player reps.

Smith will next negotiate a contract extension with the players on the union's ruling executive committee. His current contract expires next year. Before Friday's decision to reduce the minimum length of Smith's next term to one year, the NFLPA election rules had said that his next contract would be for three to five years.

By The Washington Post · Mark Maske

Published : October 09, 2021