NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith told The MMQB/Sports Illustrated in a video interview posted Thursday that he expects a work stoppage when the league’s current collective bargaining agreement expires in 2021.
“I think that the likelihood of either a strike or a lockout is almost a virtual certainty,” he said.
“So we have a new deal where if it doesn’t get fixed, you head into a certain ‘small-a’ Armageddon.”
DeMaurice Smith on the current CBA
The NFL and its union agreed to the current 10-year CBA on July 25, 2011. That agreement came after a 132-day lockout.
The agreed-upon CBA hasn’t meant there has been labor peace, however, as the NFLPA has clashed with the NFL over player discipline in such high-profile cases as Adrian Peterson‘s suspension for child abuse, Tom Brady‘s Deflategate suspension and, most recently, Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension for alleged domestic violence.
On Wednesday, the NFL and the players’ association released dueling statements in which the NFL alleged that the union was releasing details of Elliott’s accuser’s text messages to discredit her. The NFLPA responded by calling the accusations a lie.
The previous NFL CBA was agreed upon in 2006. The owners, however, opted out of the agreement in 2008, and it expired on March 11, 2011, after a one-week extension of negotiations failed to result in a new agreement.
The last time NFL players missed games was the 24-day strike in 1987, which began after Week 2 and prompted the NFL to cancel its Week 3 games and shorten the season to 15 games. The league played with replacement players for the next three weeks until the players ended their strike after Week 6.