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De Smith is caught between a rock and a hard place


While continuing to try to figure out how the Executive Committee and board of player representatives of a supposedly toothless trade association has the power to keep the players from voting on the proposed labor deal that NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith presumably has brought to the table with a recommendation to accept it, the light bulb finally has flickered.

At this point the union can reconstitute and the labor deal can be accepted with only 50 percent plus one of the players agreeing with that approach. The opinions and positions and recommendations of the Executive Committee and the board of player representatives don’t matter.

Come March 2012, they do. At that time, they’ll decide whether Smith continues to be the executive director of the NFLPA, with or without an asterisk.

And so De Smith is tiptoeing through a mine field on this one. He knows that it he sends the labor deal out for a vote to all players, more than 50 percent will jump on it. But he also knows that, if he disrespects the Executive Committee or the board of player representatives, the next time he negotiates a labor deal it will be on behalf of one of the clients of his law practice.

So even though what they say doesn’t really matter, Smith has no choice but to respect the current process.