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De Smith says players aren’t attacking the draft, sort of

DeMaurice Smith

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, arrives at the federal courthouse Thursday, April 14, 2011 in Minneapolis. The NFL and its locked-out players have resumed mediation. This is the first meeting between the two sides since March 11, when the old collective bargaining agreement expired, the union dissolved and the lockout began.(AP Photo/Jim Mone)


During a visit with ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning that was delayed by a conference call with players, NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith addressed Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contention that the players are attacking the draft.

Calling Goodell’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal “bizarre,” Smith engaged in some lawyerly semantics, suggesting that the players want a draft but not saying what needed to be said to ensure that the draft will continue beyond 2011.

“If he truly believes that the draft is something that we’re attacking, then I don’t know what’s gonna happen on Thursday, but the last time I checked my calender, the draft is scheduled to move forward,” Smith quipped.

Smith didn’t nearly go far enough. Of course the draft will occur in 2011. The expired labor deal expressly contemplated that the draft will occur in 2011. The question isn’t whether the draft will happen now, the question is whether it will happen later.

As we pointed out earlier today, the only way the draft will be safe beyond 2011 is if: (1) the players say unequivocally that they are not attacking the draft; and (2) the two sides work out a labor deal that prevents Andrew Luck or any members of the 2012 draft class from filing an antitrust lawsuit of their own attacking the draft.

Smith has said nothing that would satisfy either of those two critical conditions.