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League chides De Smith for claiming that NFL doesn’t fund player pensions

NFL Contract Talks Continue As Deadline Approaches

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith pauses during remarks as he and a group of player representatives arrive for labor talks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. Representatives from the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) continue to negotiate a labor dispute as a deadline looms at the end of a 7 day extension of talks. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

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The NFL and the NFLPA* still aren’t talking to each other. But they’re still firing shots at each other.

Most recently, the league’s labor propaganda site posted an item based on a blog item from Jeff Nixon, a former player with ties to NFL Alumni, an organization for retired players that the NFLPA* views as being pro-owner in the labor dispute.

NFLLabor.com points out that Nixon points out that NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith pointed out in an appearance with Mike Francesa of WFAN that the league doesn’t, and hasn’t, contributed to pension plans.

“Right now as we speak, how much money do the NFL teams provide to the former player pensions? The answer is zero,” Smith told Francesa.

“Teams pay nothing to former player pensions right now, and it’s been that way since 19 . . . it’s been that way since history,” Smith said. “So I think it’s disgraceful that teams don’t pay anything to the former players who made this game great.”

NFLLabor.com points out that Nixon points out that Smith’s contention was incorrect.

Regardless, what does that prove? It’s not as if Smith’s comments gained nightly-news traction or that the players scored any P.R. points. The sniping only makes it harder to set the mood for getting a deal done.