An NFL player starting today will enjoy less power, less money and even less dignity during his short career than a player starting 10 years ago. He’ll forfeit millions of dollars in potential earnings and relinquish unprecedented authority to the Commissioner to take disciplinary action against him. He’ll see team owners’ revenues outpace those of his fellow players. He’ll get less respect on and off the field.
How did this happen? The relationship between the NFLPA and the NFL is poisoned, polarized, and dysfunctional, and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has been unable to advocate successfully for the players. Indeed, in 2011, Smith, locked players into a terrible deal for the next TEN years. As the Boston Globe reported, “No matter how you slice it, the owners obliterated the NFL Players Association and… Smith in the 2011 negotiations.”
The next Executive Director of the NFLPA will negotiate the next CBA and will have to forge a workable relationship with the League, to the benefit of the players. The stakes for NFL players could not be higher. New leadership is necessary.