“We went to the mattresses the day that we decertified,” Smith said Friday morning. “Not because we wanted to, because they made us do it.”
With the lockout dragging into a third month, players asked a federal judge Thursday to make $4 billion in disputed broadcast revenue off limits to the league and to award them at least $707 million in damages, too.
The damages award alone could amount to a huge piece of leverage for the players in their fight with the NFL over the next collective bargaining agreement.
“The players understand the fight that they’re in,” said Smith. “Right now they don’t want to lay down and be forced to take a deal. They don’t believe that it’s fair. I can tell you that they resent being lied to. They resent being tricked. They resent the fact that the league has been found now twice to have violated the law. So those are the people that we’re inextricably tied to.”
“I can tell you every player wants to play football,” he said. “We’ve got our guys working out by themselves. You’ve got guys down in New Orleans where Drew (Brees) brought his guys together and paid their way so that they can practice. These guys are going and keeping themselves in shape for nothing at a time where, for the first time in history, a business has actually sued not to do their business.”
“So while our guys are probably a little edgy, to use a soft word, they want to get back to enjoying their game.”