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Even in defeat, De Smith rolls out the rhetoric

NFL And Players Resume Mediation

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 16: Former NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith speaks to members of the media after leaving court-ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on May 16, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners that followed a breakdown of labor talks between the two in March. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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In response to the recent remarks of NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith comparing the labor dispute to a mob war, we suggested that Smith dial back the rhetoric. But now, even with his effort to lift the lockout on the verge of sleeping with the fishes, Smith continues to talk tough.

“It’s a disappointment obviously that as far as we can tell this is the first sports league in history who sued to not plays its game,” Smith told reporters after Monday’s ruling. “Congratulations.”

We’re not sure what that means.

The league hasn’t sued anyone. The league wants to impose economic pressure on the players via a lockout, and the players decertified and filed an antitrust lawsuit in the hopes of blocking the lockout. Today’s ruling that the lockout won’t be lifted pending resolution of the appeal by the Eighth Circuit hardly represents the NFL suing to not plays its game.

With a reversal of Judge Nelson’s ruling now looming, Smith’s comments likely have less to do with shaping public opinion and more to do with scrambling to keep the players unified, even if doing so requires Smith to distort the facts in the hopes of playing to the players’ emotions.

The problem is that, while such comments may be help keep the players on the same page, they’ll make it harder for the players and the league to ever make it into the same library again.