NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith Confident in CBA Negotiation Approval

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2020

Executive director DeMaurice Smith, of the NFL Players Association, speaks at the annual state of the union news conference Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in Miami Beach, Fla., The San Francisco 49ers will face the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game Sunday. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith believes the players will agree to the proposed collective bargaining agreement even though some have expressed reservations about the deal.

ESPN's Todd Archer shared Smith's comments from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis:

"Man, democracy is messy. And when you urge players to become part of a union, when you decide instead of having sort of a bubble that excludes people, that you want people not only to become involved in your union but become reps in the union, to take leadership roles in your union, how could you ever take a position that you have some sort of adverse effect if they express their feelings, right? Can you imagine a role where you go through this whole thing and nobody cared?"

The addition of a 17th regular-season game is one of the biggest aspects of the proposed CBA.

Beyond the physical toll they'd absorb with one more week on the schedule, players were also upset with a $250,000 cap on their game checks for the extra contest. Owners have since removed the cap, but that probably won't be enough to convince every member of the NFLPA.

"No player wants to play a 17th game, and that's why it's been a torturous process," Smith said, per Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson are among the most notable stars to publicly come out against the CBA proposal:

Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison was critical of Smith, while former teammate Maurkice Pouncey didn't mince words with his feelings toward the NFLPA executives (warning: video contains profanity):

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported the NFLPA executive committee voted 6-5 against the CBA, and Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported a committee member switched his vote to make it 7-4 against. However, the 32 player representatives voted 17-14 (with one abstention) to send the CBA to the full NFLPA union membership.

Pelissero cited the increased minimum salaries as one reason the proposal is likely to have support within the union:

Should the proposal fail to gain a majority in the player vote, there isn't an immediate threat of a work stoppage since the current CBA covers the 2020 season.

However, the development would present a significant hurdle in ongoing negotiations between owners and the NFLPA.

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