DeMaurice Smith’s tenure as executive director of the NFL Players Association may be coming to an end, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
The NFLPA executive committee voted on Tuesday night to determine whether Smith should be allowed to keep the post he has held for the past 12 years, sources said. According to the NFLPA constitution, a unanimous approval vote by the 14-member committee would have kept Smith in the job, likely on a new three-year contract. However, the vote was split evenly at 7-7, sources said.
Smith’s employment status is now in the hands of the 32 player representatives on the NFLPA team, who have a conference call vote tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on Friday. If 22 of the 32 player representatives vote to keep Smith, he will effectively be re-elected and negotiate a new contract. If he doesn’t get 22 votes, the NFLPA executive director position will be officially open and other candidates could run for the NFLPA annual meeting in March.
According to the NFLPA constitution, if Smith doesn’t get the votes he needs on Friday, the union will have to hire a search firm to field him candidates in the March election. If Smith receives at least 16 votes on Friday, he will be allowed to run again, although the question arises as to whether he would like to do so at this point.
The executive committee had long been a solid source of support for Smith in the massive NFLPA. But a number of its members, including Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Richard Sherman, had strongly objected to the way the last collective agreement had been handled and expressed unhappiness with the way Smith and the union leaders negotiated it. Several prominent players believed the union should have asked for more concessions from team owners.
The CBA, which runs until 2030, was ratified by the NFLPA in an extremely close vote on March 8, 2020, just three days before the NBA suspended its season and sports across the country and the world. be closed for months due to COVID. -19 pandemic. Smith and NFLPA leaders have told their members that it would have been considerably more difficult to negotiate a new collective agreement during the pandemic if it had failed. However, dissatisfaction has persisted in some pockets of union members, and some succeed in convincing others that it is time to change direction.