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Archive for September, 2010

 

Sep 24 2010

GU SIM Speakers Series: DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFLPA

by at 11:27 am


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By Jeff Doyle

This week, a crowd of roughly 400 graduate students in Georgetown University’s Sports Industry Management Program, members of the media and special guests gathered on campus for a rare town hall presentation on the business of professional football by DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA).

Smith, who represents all 1,800 members of the players union, delivered a powerful and engaging speech on the current state of CBA negotiations with the league and offered some explanation as to why America’s most popular sport may shut its doors before the start of the 2011 NFL season.

“In the worst recession of our lives, the NFL generated nine billion dollars in revenue,” stated Smith before a captivated crowd.  Yet, despite the undeniable success of the NFL, owners are asking players to take an 18% pay cut and compete in two more regular season games.  Essentially, more work for less money.  Smith explained, using a whiteboard and all, the difficulty for him to allow players to accept a decrease in salary when the league refuses to produce any evidence that proves the current economic model is broken, particularly when all signs state otherwise.  Smith pointed to the astronomical growth in teams’ value, high television ratings and strong advertisement sales as proof of the league’s thriving financial health. 

 Georgetown students and members of the media posed important questions to Smith concerning the topics of player safety, concussions, and traumatic head injuries.  As head of the union, it is Smith’s job to protect the best interest, health and safety of the many professional football players who continue to risk their bodies on the field.  Smith promised that the NFLPA would continue to push the envelope on player safety.  “Hopefully, we never get to a point where I think or anybody on our staff thinks that we’re doing ‘enough.’”

Smith’s leadership, oratory skills, and unwavering commitment to the men he so proudly serves was evident to all of those in attendance.  As a current GU SIM graduate student, I can say with confidence that this type of exposure to sports industry leaders and decision makers is what makes our program so unique.  Currently, there isn’t an issue in all of sports with greater implications and economic impact than the looming lockout in the NFL.   A potential lockout not only threatens our Sunday afternoons next fall, but also thousands of jobs across the country, hundreds of millions in sponsorship and marketing dollars, as well as a backlash from fans that could end the league’s current status as “America’s Game.”   To have a pivotal figure such as DeMaurice Smith, who is tasked to overcome the tremendous obstacles facing the league’s players, speak before our program was truly a special event.  

Associate Dean Matt Winkler said it best, “This was a fantastic experience for our students.  They eagerly took the opportunity to ask questions about the topics we cover in the classroom.  There’s no better way to learn than to have direct access to the source, and that’s what we accomplished here tonight.”

More on NFLPA Speaker Event:

http://www.nflplayers.com/Articles/Public-News/DeMaurice-Smith-Talks-NFL-Business-to-Georgetown-Students/

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/thehuddle/post/2010/09/nflpa-chief-demaurice-smith-nobodys-hurtin-in-the-national-football-league/1

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-22/nfl-players-may-lose-health-coverage-in-lockout-union-executive-says.html

http://www.thegeorgetowndish.com/thedish/nfls-players-leader-speaks-georgetown-univ

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