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DeMaurice Smith calls NFL offer “worst deal in the history of sports”

DeMaurice Smith

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, talks with the media after negotiations with the NFL involving a federal mediator broke down without an agreement Friday, March 11, 2011 in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


We haven’t heard a lot from NFLPA* chief DeMaurice Smith since the work stoppage began. Until now.

Smith joined Mike Francesa on WFAN Thursday for a long interview that focused on crunching numbers and mostly stayed away from over-the-top rhetoric.


“The NFL publicly projected by 2027, they want to have revenue numbers of approximately $25 billion,” Smith said. “If we would have taken the worst deal in the history of sports, by the time they are making $25 billion off the backs, fingers, and legs of our players, our share of all revenue would be somewhere around 25%.

“My simple question to you as a fan of this sport for a long time: Does that sound fair?”

There are a lot of players from the 60’s and 70’s that would probably disagree with the notion the latest offer was from the worst in the history of sports. The enormous gains that those players achieved are enjoyed by every player working today.

Smith’s point was centered around the notion that the player’s share of all revenue would decline under the NFL’s last offer.

“We believe that it should be a fair split between owners and players of all revenue,” Smith said. “50-50. That’s the way it’s been since 1989. What’s wrong with a 50-50 split?”

Smith contends that the players were essentially willing to take a step back in compensation in this agreement.

“I gave them two offers, where from an economic standpoint, someone could say the players of the NFL are going backwards. And they said no,” Smith said.

Smith didn’t directly dispute the numbers Eagles president Joe Banner gave out Wednesday. Instead, he focused on the percentage players would get in a new deal.

According to Smith, the players would only get 44% of all revenue initially in the NFL’s offer. He says that once you got to year six of the next deal, it would be down to 40%.

Honestly, we don’t have the financial wherewithal to fully investigate those percentages. Neither do fans. We do know that fans would appreciate some perspective instead of comparing an NFL job to slavery or calling the latest CBA offer the worst in pro sports history.

Thankfully, Smith did give some perspective that’s worth keeping in mind towards the end of the interview. He noted that past NFL-NFLPA legal battles have generally resulted in collective bargaining agreements that have helped grow the game.

That agreement cannot get here fast enough.