Newly-named NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith stopped at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium to talk to Jaguars players on Tuesday, following Smith's address to the league's owners in Fort Lauderdale.
"I talked to them for half an hour; took the time to tell them I recognize the view of people like Gene (Upshaw) and Mr. Tagliabue and the way the owners have grown the sport and made it a tremendous sport, but also a tremendous business," Smith said of his speech to NFL owners assembled in south Florida.
In his first meeting with Jaguars players as the new boss of the players union, Smith was to give Jaguars players an update on the prospects for labor peace. During a meeting with reporters prior to speaking to Jaguars players, Smith reiterated his request that NFL owners open their books to explain why they are opting out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
"The owners opted out of the deal. The players did not," Smith said. "Why is it unreasonable to ask to be shown why the deal doesn't work for you?"
Speculation is that the 2011 season could fall victim to a work stoppage. Smith made a point of using the word "lockout" in place of "work stoppage."
"I view everything as how we are right now. They hired the lawyer that engineered the lockout for hockey. Does it seem to me that's what they're preparing for? Yes," Smith said.
At the recommendation of Tagliabue, the outgoing commissioner, the owners agreed to a new CBA in March of 2006. The new CBA used a total football revenue model that caused nearly immediate regret among the owners. It quickly became obvious the owners were going to exercise an option to terminate the agreement following the 2010 season.