DeMaurice Smith, the Executive Director of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) says there is no “drop dead day” to end negotiations over the NFL’s national anthem protests.
Despite the fact that opening day for the 2018 football season is less than a month away.
Apparently, as far as the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) is concerned, the players are prepared to continue negotiations on into the season past opening day if need be.
“I don’t believe we should have a drop-dead day,” Smith told TheUndefeated.com. “These are intractable issues that players feel passionately about. It’s issues of race. It’s issues of inequality. It’s issues of criminal reform and social justice reform. Now, I certainly understand the mentality of some people in the league who think that things should begin and things should end.”
Smith also reiterated that the NFLPA was not involved with the aborted protest ban rule that prompted the negotiations so close to the start of the 2018 season.
“We didn’t create the anthem policy,” Smith continued. “They did. It’s a strange world to then admit that you impose this policy without us, then try to somehow put some deadline or steadfast objective outcomes for an issue that we didn’t create.”
The late hour negotiations came on the heels of a grievance the union filed against the league after the league made its May 23 decision to ban protests. But by July the league announced that the ban had been placed on hold so that the parties could enter into negotiations over what to do about the protests.
Smith was also thrilled that the league finally decided to take the players seriously.
“There have been times when we have tried to engage the league on reaching mutually acceptable solutions, and they’ve chosen not to do that,” Smith said. “This is one of the first times where they have tried to seek a mutual solution. I think it’s positive.”
Whatever the end result might be, the players have already renewed their protests in the preseason with players taking a knee or thrusting fists skyward during the anthem.
It seems by every indication that the players have no intention of putting an end to their protests.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.