After making his mark in the secondary as a defensive back during a 10-year career with the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles, Kermit Alexander stood on the front line of defense for players as a leader within the NFLPA.
Once Alexander became the Rams’ player rep in 1970, he quickly ascended through the union ranks, serving on the NFLPA’s Executive Committee from 1971 to 1977; as president in 1975 and as the west coast representative in 1976.
During his seven-year tenure with the NFLPA, Alexander was one of only three players to participate in both the 1970-71 and 1974-77 collective bargaining agreement negotiations. The former UCLA star was the lead plaintiff in the NFLPA’s 1976 class action suit, Alexander v. NFL, which resulted in a settlement of more than $13 million for the players.
Two years earlier during the 1974 strike, Alexander played a vital role in the National Labor Relations Board filing charges against the NFL. Among the 15 unfair labor practice charges was that Alexander and two other player reps were illegally cut or traded due to their activities for the NFLPA. Following a two-year battle, a judge found that Alexander and the two other players had been victims of discrimination, resulting in reinstatement and back pay.
Alexander retired in 1976 and, in the next year, helped the NFLPA negotiate the final CBA settlement. Since then, he was written a book about the tragic death of his mother and four relatives and his adoption of five Haitian children in the aftermath of the country’s 2000 earthquake.