All he was ever doing was his job:
Representing his clients to the fullest of his ability, getting as much as he could out of the agreement.
He did just that.
He got a good deal for the players, a 10 year CBA, and no missed game time.
There are a lot of reasons people wanted to dislike Smith. I'm not sure any of them ended up being valid.
To put it in sports terms, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, whose current contract is up in March of 2012, had one of the best contract years in recent history. Not only did he hold the owners to the fire in a way no other union head ever has, he understood from the start that litigation was the one way to facilitate the journey to a new CBA. And in the end, it was his calm but strong hand that led the players back to the table after the owners' ratification/press conference stunt. After the CBA was signed, Smith said, "Our guys stood together, when nobody thought we would." The union stood strong, and he's the primary reason.
The biggest winner of all may be NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith, an experienced trial attorney but like Goodell, a rookie in labor negotiations. There were predictions that the owners would fleece Smith - and the players - as they had done throughout the union’s existence. But this time was different. Smith proved to be up to the task of protecting his constituents and came away with an agreement that on the surface appears to be fair, balanced, and guarantees labor peace for the next decade.