DeMaurice Smith Goes on Offensive Against the NFL

By Vincent Frank

Fresh off “independent” arbitrator Harold Henderson upholding the league’s suspension of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, the players association continues to throw shade at the NFL in a series of public remarks.

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith lashed out at the National Football League and Roger Goodell in a strongly-worded statement to NBC Sports on Sunday.

The NFL owners had an opportunity to show leadership and vision in the wake of the embarrassing missteps by the League office,” Smith told  NBC Sports. “Limiting a Commissioner’s power who has repeatedly abused his discretion is a good start, but in light of the NFL’s wild inconsistencies and egregious mismanagement, it does not go far enough.

The new personal conduct policy, which was approved by all 32 owners around the league, allows Goodell to appoint an appeals officer from the league itself, in some cases individuals that work directly under the commissioner.

While the appointment of Harold Henderson, a former 17-year veteran of the league’s office, to oversee Peterson’s appeal was seen as a mismanagement of the appeals process, this new policy would actually provide Mr. Goodell more power. 

Smith doesn’t stop there, as he continued to go hard after the league.

If the only goal of this policy was to appease our sponsors in the short-term to get through this crisis then they succeeded, but they missed an opportunity to bridge the credibility gap with players that is nearing the point of no return.

Smith, Peterson and the players association are preparing to take the league to federal court. It’s a precedent that could very well set in motion long-term labor strife between the union and the league.

If the feds do decide to get involved under federal labor laws, it could create a toxic environment between the two parties in the offseason.

I detailed the potential of a federal showdown in a Forbes piece late last week. Check that out for more in-depth analysis of the situation. 

Photo: Washington Post