NFL Player Reps Vote to Retain Union Head DeMaurice Smith

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The National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith will hold his position, at least through next year.

The NFLPA boss secured the two-thirds vote (22 of 32) from the league’s team player representatives needed to approve a contract extension on Friday night.

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The terms of the new contract have yet to be finalized, and the length could be as short as one year with no time requirement included in union bylaws.

But by getting the minimum 22 votes, there will not be an open election to find his potential replacement. Smith’s previous contract was set to expire in March 2022.

The reps voted 22-8 in favor of Smith, who has headed the union since 2009. Two reps abstained.

The latest verdict on the longtime chief comes just a few days after the NFLPA executive committee couldn’t come to a unanimous vote to extend his contract. That vote was 7-7.

Smith, who was most recently renewed in 2017, has had proud moments during his tenure, leading the players through a 132-day lockout in 2011. But his failure to get the necessary support earlier this week wasn’t a surprise due to the scale of discontent from veteran players over the last collective bargaining agreement.

The deal, ratified last March after a delay, increased players’ share of league revenue but also increased the number of regular-season games to 17, a sore spot for many players across the league.

Smith, who makes about $3 million annually according to recent filings, has also been criticized for not taking a firmer stance against the owners for blackballing Colin Kaepernick, the exiled former NFL quarterback.

The NFLPA members approved the new 10-year CBA last year, so labor discussions are out of the way. But Smith and the union will still have several issues to face in the future, including pending brain injury claims and evolving guidelines involving name, image and likeness.