NFLPA Head De Smith Calls CBA Dispute ‘War,’ Roger Goodell Downplays Rift

NFL Players Association executive director De Smith made waves this weekend when he was quoted in a New York Times profile piece saying that the NFLPA was “at war” with the NFL.

“We are at war!” Smith reportedly “yelled” at 20 new player representatives from NFL teams.

“Nobody gets strong without fighting,” Smith said.  “Nobody stays strong without fighting.  Nobody negotiates their way to strength.  Nobody talks their way to a good deal.  Nobody sits down and just has miraculous things happen.”

Smith may have just been rallying his troops and trying to differentiate himself from former NFLPA head Gene Upshaw — who was often thought to take too soft of a line — but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell still felt that it was necessary to respond to Smith’s comments.

“This is not anywhere near a war, this is a business dispute that was have to get resolved,” he said on NFL network.

In fact, Goodell spoke positively of the NFL-NFLPA relationship.

“We have been partners and we should continue to be partners.”  He also asserted that the players “are going to do very well out of this, and they should.”

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