The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is set to vote this week on whether to oust its executive director, DeMaurice Smith, from his longtime role with the union.
Sources told ESPN on Wednesday that Smith’s future with the union is in the hands of the NFLPA's 32 team player representatives, which will a conference call on Friday to vote on the matter.
Smith will need 22 votes those union representatives to be reelected, putting him in charge of negotiating a new contract with the union.
If he doesn't reach that threshold, Smith’s position would be be opened for other candidates ahead of the union’s official meeting next March.
Smith would need at least 16 votes from the player representatives to be allowed to run for the seat again, according to the union’s constitution.
The new development comes after notable league players such as Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Richard Sherman have publicly criticized how Smith and union leadership negotiated its last collective bargaining agreement.
The current CBA, which runs for 10 years, was ratified by the players union in March 2020 in a close vote, ESPN reported.
The agreement was sealed three days before various sports leagues suspended their seasons for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Smith noted to the union that it would’ve been harder to negotiate a new deal with the league during a global pandemic, but several players have argued the union should’ve held out longer for more concession from team owners.
The union’s executive committee voted in a 7-7 split on Tuesday to keep Smith on the job, with Smith needing a unanimous approval from the 14-member committee to secure his job, ESPN noted.
The Hill has reached out to the NFLPA for comment.