At Giants reunion, NFL alumni president George Martin has strong words for DeMaurice Smith
By Mike Vorkunov/The Star-Ledger Published: Sunday, June 12, 2011
During a day of retrospection to remember the Giants’ 1986 Super Bowl championship team, George Martin also spoke about his present-day business as the Executive Director and President of the NFL Alumni. And he had strong words for DeMaurice Smith, the NFL Players’ Association Executive Director.
Martin is frustrated that he cannot get a meeting with Smith to talk about the role and interests of retired players in the current collective bargaining agreement negotiations. He said it was “questionable” that Smith had the best interests of the alumni in mind.
“When you don’t have a conversation with the recognized leader of the NFL alumni, how can you say you have the best interests of retired players at heart when you won’t even sit down and talk to their leadership,” Martin said. “That to me flies in the face of that rationale.”
Although he discounted any personal issues with Smith or making it personal because it would be unproductive, Martin did say that Smith has reneged on promises to meet. Martin said that Smith promised a meeting when he took over the NFLPA and subsequently last year if Martin responded to a letter from Smith, which Martin says he then did.
“I’ve never been given the opportunity to sit down with him and talk about some of the similarities or some of our objectives,” Martin said. “I really resent the fact that that opportunity hasn’t been presented to me despite his pledge to do so. You have to be a man of your word. You have to have the integrity. I think that calls into question where Mr. DeMaurice Smith resides.”
The topic of how retired players will be treated did come up in conversation with his former teammates during the Giants’ reunion. Martin believes that former players will be pleasantly surprised by the new deal alumni will receive — specifically pension.
Martin has found a willing ear in Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner. They have met at least 20 times.
“When that’s the only open door to you, when that’s the only receptive door to you, you have a tendency to take full advantage of it,” Martin said. “We’ve done that and we are doing that. It seems instead of DeMaurice Smith following suit and saying let’s do likewise, he has criticized those meetings—which I think is deplorable.”
Mike Vorkunov: firstname.lastname@example.org