PFT had some comments from NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith this morning and Florio had the same reaction I did. In response to the owners' winning a stay and likely defeating the players' case on appeal, Smith had this to say to the media.
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."
Problem is, that the NFL wasn't suing anyone here. This ruling was about the NFL appealing a lawsuit the players had brought against them. Even though he was the guy who brought the suit, Smith appears to have forgotten that. Only a couple weeks ago, when his side won, he said the opposite.
"If we're in a world where players are actually suing so they can play football ... that tells me we've lost our way."
It's an interesting and clearly bitter sentiment from Smith and not really one that bodes well for mediation between the parties. Smith has consistently come off as angry and full of hyperbole over the course of this dispute. You might remember him gloating after the players' victory in Judge Nelson's court saying "it's a great day for our country" and "football is back." He claimed that the NFL was "breaking the law" by locking out the players.
PFT speculates that Smith's latest rhetoric is aimed at keeping the players' association united. I think they should certainly stay united, but maybe not united under D Smith. A new voice, who doesn't seem so emotionally invested in this outcome, might be just what the players need to make progress toward a new deal.
At this point, I just have a hard time seeing how the players would think this guy has done a good job. And I don't mean from a legal standpoint, because that seems to have more to do with the political stance of whatever judge you happen to be in front of more than the law... I'll just put it out there. Does anyone find DeMaurice Smith likeable? Does he rally your support to the players?