Contact: Aurora Matthews 301-221-7984

September 20, 2017


Cyrus Mehri Says NFL Players Were Denied a Voice in NFLPA Selection

“We can right this wrong to benefit all NFL Players” – Cyrus Mehri

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 20) — Cyrus Mehri issued the following statement:

“The NFLPA Executive Director serves at the pleasure of the players. A critical component of the job is ensuring that the players have a voice in their own economic and non-economic interests, and, in turn, in choosing who represents their interests. Yet, in the closed election process that rubber stamped DeMaurice Smith, the fate of 2,100 NFL players was decided without allowing the player leadership to so much as hear directly from an alternative.

“When I fought for the Rooney Rule with the late Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., I argued that you don’t know if you have the best head coach unless you consider the alternatives. An open process is always preferable to a ‘tap on the shoulder’ system that prevents competition. That applies here as well.

“NFL players deserve better than getting locked in to a 10-year deal that costs them billions of dollars, and they deserve better than being forced to accept a continuance of the same leadership that negotiated that deal and has failed NFL players in so many other ways. Fundamentally, NFL Players deserve to be heard and to control their own destiny.

“Most disturbing of all, it appears that Smith himself orchestrated this closed non-election.

“Disregarding the players’ rights, and his duty to them, Smith hid from all but a few NFL players a secret amendment to the NFLPA constitution that changed the election procedures. The amendment, uncovered by a Washington Post investigative report, created a 14-person Selection Committee – which has on it player reps from only six teams – that was authorized to renew Smith’s contract with no notice to the players. Over 80 percent of the players – 1,700 – had no player representative on the Committee. Worse still, Smith walled off the Selection Committee from meeting with viable alternative candidates. Over the last few weeks, several Hall of Famers who support my candidacy and players’ choice arranged for meetings in person or by phone with most of the 14, and we learned that they were instructed not to talk to me or any other challengers due to this new secret constitution. The constitution, though, has no such prohibition. Smith shut down the election process before it began.

“We all know that competition produces the best outcomes, and there are several ways to create fair competition. We can right this wrong. The constitution was amended in secrecy to thwart competition, and it can be amended again, in the proper way this time, with the players’ knowledge and for their benefit to ensure competition through an election. In addition, the players are within their rights to terminate Smith’s contract if he is unwilling to stand for election.  Smith should step up and compete like the players do every day on the field or he should step aside. It is that simple. Anything else is an insult to the players he claims to represent.”

For more information about Cyrus’s campaign, including his vision for a better NFL, please visit


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