So, you all saw that we talked with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL General Counsel Jeffrey Pash yesterday. . .so, in the interest of equal time, the NFL bloggers of SB Nation were afforded the opportunity to speak with DeMaurice Smith, the former executive director of the National Football League Players Association.
To say that Mr. Smith isn't exactly on friendly terms with the folks at the league office would be a terrible understatement. After the jump, I'll share with you a couple of quotes from the transcript of today's meeting with Mr. Smith.
The league had intent to lock our players out since at least early 2009, and probably 2008.
Roger's letter to the players - in that short letter, Roger said more words than he said throughout the entire mediation process. You can quote that. For a guy who spent more time writing a letter to the players than he spent engaging in good-faith negotiations during 15 days, does that sound like a true intent on behalf of the National Football League to reach a deal during the final 15 days of mediation?
On Jeffrey Pash saying that the players only wanted to talk about money:
Jeff only has a casual relationship with the truth. Jeff knows that the NFL's deal was an all-or-nothing deal. They did not present an a la carte menu to the players of the NFL. They didn't sit down with us and say, 'Why don't you select the things you like, reject the things you don't, and let's move forward.' Jeff knows that their deal was inextricably tied to every point on the deal. Put it this way: if a deal that's being put to you is mutually contingent on all 16 parts, do you have the option of saying 'I like and we accept issues 8-16, but we don't like issues 1-7,' do you have a deal at that point? I'm very careful about language: do you have a deal if you don't like half the points that have been presented to you? You don't. It's not even probably, you don't. The first point of the NFL deal would have been us to accept their economic proposal at the same time we would have to accept everything else. Does that make sense?
The full transcript of the talk, as well as the audio file, will be up here as soon as I'm given the go-ahead to post it. After reading it, though, I'm sad to say. . .any positivity I was harboring towards this situation is pretty much gone. I don't think these two sides are anywhere near as close as they've been saying in the public, and the spin coming from both sides is such that it doesn't appear they have any real desire to work together towards a deal any time soon. There won't be any negotiating until at least April 6, and with the rhetoric the two sides are producing, I wouldn't expect anything earth-shattering then, either.