The Washington Post

NFL Players Association chief up for $1 million bonus

The NFL Players Association is considering whether to award its executive director, DeMaurice Smith, a $1 million bonus for negotiating its new 10-year collective bargaining agreement with the league this year, according to several people familiar with the deliberations.

Those people, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the discussions are ongoing, said there is considerable, but not unanimous, support among the players on the union’s ruling executive committee to award the bonus to Smith.

The executive committee could make a decision as soon as the next few days, though there is some sentiment to delay the decision.

Smith did not take a salary during the NFL lockout, which lasted from March until July, and did not receive a bonus in either 2009 or 2010, one person said. His contract expires in March.

Players were locked out for 4-1/2 months before completing a new deal that divides up $9 billion in revenue with owners. Players dissolved their union in March and filed antitrust litigation against the owners, but re-formed the union when they completed the agreement with the league.

People on both sides of the dispute said that Smith and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took the central roles in the discussions that ended the sport’s first work stoppage since 1987.

More recently, the union has faced scrutiny from Capitol Hill lawmakers for failing to complete arrangements with the league to blood-test players for human growth hormone.

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
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