Rooney Rule creator Cyrus Mehri challenging DeMaurice Smith for NFLPA executive director job

By Alex Butler   |   Aug. 23, 2017 at 1:05 PM
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Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Cyrus Mehri, the creator of the NFL's Rooney Rule, has announced his candidacy to be the executive director of the NFL Players' Union (NFLPA).

He made the announcement Tuesday on HBO's Real Sports.

"Tonight, I'm humbled to announce my candidacy for Executive Director because I believe that NFL players deserve better," Mehri said on Real Sports.

"From a young age, NFL players put in extraordinarily hard work to master their craft and excel at the game they love. However, their careers are on average short and getting shorter. Their stature in society is fragile. They deserve a union that will maximize their success at every stage of their careers and after they are done playing. A union that will work to lengthen their careers so that more players get to their second and third contracts where wealth is created, a union with new ideas and innovations. They deserve a union that will give voice to the causes and concerns of NFL players."

Smith is taking on current NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith for the job. Smith took the job in 2009.

Mehri is a labor and employment attorney. He is a founding partner for Mehri & Skalet, PLLC. He was also a co-founder, with the late Johnnie L Cochran Jr., of the Fritz Pollard Alliance. It was there where he developed the Rooney Rule outline and worked with the NFL to put it in place.

On Wednesday, NFL Hall of Famers Harry Carson and Kellen Winslow Sr. announced their backing of Messi. NFL legend John Wooten was also part of a joint statement from the football icons.

"As former players who have spent the bulk of our lives in the NFL community, we firmly believe that Cyrus Mehri is ideally situated to lead the NFL Players Association into the future as its next executive director," the players said in the statement.

Mehri said on Real Sports that "America's Game deserves better."

"We will provide a new vision, new innovations, and a new successful path forward for NFL players. We will bring out the best of all stakeholders in America's Game. In doing so, we will show America, and particularly our youth that, despite differences, the NFLPA and the NFL can amicably resolve disputes and shepherd America's Game forward into a new golden era. And we will begin by urging that negotiations on a new CBA start early. The players cannot afford to wait three years."

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