DeMaurice Fitzgerald Smith is the Executive Director of the National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA). He was elected unanimously by a board of active player representatives on March 16, 2009 and re-elected unanimously to a second term on March 29, 2012. ESPN opined that Smith had assumed the toughest job in sports by succeeding the late Gene Upshaw and heading into the most contentious and public labor/management battle in sports history.
On August 4, 2011, Smith signed a 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement with NFL management, leading the Players through the owners’ 132-day lockout. Smith and his team employed a novel multi-faceted strategy that combined a successful legal attack on the NFL’s lockout funds, a federal and local legislative agenda, creative use of social media and the unprecedented securing of the first employee anti-lockout insurance policy. The new CBA codifies new health and safety protocols for Players, achieved longer off-seasons, significantly reduces the amount of contact during practices, provides for unannounced inspections of training camps, creates the first compliance and accountability structure for NFL medical personnel, and provides the Players’ with their highest share of TV contract revenues in history.
Prior to his post at the NFLPA, Smith was an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia and was Counsel to then Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. He was awarded the US Attorney’s Office highest honor for courtroom advocacy and the Department of Justice’s highest honor by US Attorney General Janet W. Reno. Smith served as a Partner in firms of Latham & Watkins, LLP and Patton Boggs, LLP, in Washington, D.C. where he represented corporations, boards of directors and senior executives in civil and criminal matters.
Smith has been awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award, the Keeper of the Dream Award, by the Action Network Alliance, the City of Justice Award by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy and was inducted into the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges’ Hall of Excellence. He serves on the Board of Directors for ULLICO; The Board of Directors for the US Congressional Award; and The Board of Advisors for the Office for Access and Advancement for Public Black Universities. Smith Chairs the Annual Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Fundraising Dinner and has been named one of the top 10 most influential executives in sports.
He is a 1989 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and a 1985 graduate of Cedarville University. Smith is on the Faculty of the National Trial Advocacy College in Charlottesville, Virginia; Executive in Residence and the Darden Business School at the University of Virginia, and is a guest lecturer at Georgetown University, Columbia University, Harvard University, George Washington University, and the University of Virginia School of Law. He has also been a guest speaker at the New York Stock Exchange, Commencement speaker for the University of Maryland and for the Howard University School of Law (2012).