It’s like a boxing card that’s announced years ahead of time: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell vs. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, coming in 2021!
Goodell was close to getting a five-year extension this summer (which should happen as long as Jerry Jones doesn’t block it), which has to be rooted at least partially in the NFL wanting continuity leading up to the threatened work stoppage in 2021 when the current collective-bargaining agreement expires. Smith will be there as well into 2021, as his new terms was unanimously approved by the NFLPA selection committee.
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Smith has seen many people threaten to take his post, but he keeps lasting in his job. He has said a strike or lockout seems like a “virtual certainty” in 2021, and he’ll presumably be there to fight for the union against the NFL.
The relationship between the two sides has grown as contentious as ever. A lot of the debates center around the NFLPA’s angst that Goodell has absolute power over player discipline. However, if and when there’s a work stoppage, the key issue will be money. It always is. The NFLPA didn’t win too many battles in the last work stoppage, but perhaps in a few years will fight harder for things like guaranteed contracts and the elimination of the franchise tag.
Smith has his detractors and challengers, but he hasn’t been ousted of his spot yet. He’ll be there another four years, too.
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