NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith has accused NFL commissioner Roger Goodell of lying about wanting to work with the union prior to drafting the league's revised conduct policy in 2014.
Smith, in an interview with HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," was asked about Goodell's comments prior to drafting a revised personal conduct policy in 2014 in which the commissioner said he would "ask the NFL Players Association to help us develop and deliver these programs in the most effective way."
Smith's thoughts now about Goodell's comments then?
"That says he lied," he told Gumbel.
Smith followed by telling Gumbel that he doesn't "spend time thinking about Roger Goodell's thoughts" and that he doesn't "have the luxury of trust" when it comes to his relationship with the commissioner.
NFL owners unanimously approved a revised policy in 2014 which embraced the use of independent investigations and outlined specific criteria, including suspensions, for anyone charged with a violent crime.
The NFLPA issued a statement at that time expressing its displeasure at not being able to collectively bargain any changes to the policy, and Smith still stands by the union's statement.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy issued a statement to HBO about Smith's comment that Goodell "lied."
"We repeatedly tried to engage the union but they had no interest in developing a tough and enhanced personal conduct policy," the league's statement to HBO said.
Earlier this week, Smith told The MMQB/Sports Illustrated in a video interview that the likelihood of either a strike or a lockout "is almost a virtual certainty" when the current collective bargaining agreement expires in 2021.
He told Gumbel that Goodell's role to act as the ultimate authority on personal conduct likely would be a point of contention in any future negotiations.
"Could that be an issue of bargaining going forward? Yes," Smith told Gumbel. "Is it up to the players and our leadership to decide how much weight to put on it? Absolutely."
Smith has served as executive director of the NFLPA since 2009. The union will hold an election next March, and Smith told Gumbel that he would like to stay in his role if the players should vote to keep him there.
"I think there's work that needs to be done," Smith said. "At the end of the day, am I always going to be happy with the decision of the players and respect their decision? Absolutely."