DeMaurice Smith has taken a considerable amount of heat over the last year or so. As one of the faces most closely associated with the lockout drama, Smith would be the last one to be shocked by that heat. But it was the criticism that he took regarding his support for players in the ever-changing world of player discipline--that world being viewed more and more as Roger Goodell's world--that likely made him very irritated.
It turns out that both Fred Davis and Trent Williams could have been facing longer punishments had it not been for the way DeMaurice Smith was able to successfully negotiate their suspensions down from a year to four games.
I am sure the last thing DeMaurice wanted to do was go from negotiating billions of dollars in benefits for players to arguing the merits of marijuana suspensions. Maybe it went like this:
Roger Goodell: De, you did well for your players. Congratulations...that was a lot of green to carve up, but we did it!
Smith: Uhhh, yeah...speaking of green...I have to...uhhhh...handle another delicate matter.
Davis and Williams were among a group of players facing disciplinary measures that Smith was able to get reduced as part of a settlement following the lockout. That grace period we have all been hearing so much about? Turns out it was real!
Unfortunately, two of our favorite young Redskins then tested positive during the season.
As a Redskins fan, I have to thank Smith for his efforts. Think about it--how much different would OUR ENTIRE TEAM LOOK LIKE if these two were suspended for a year. I understand that some of you will be quick to suggest we don't need two guys who were foolish enough to get tripped up in this. On one hand, do we all really think this is the worst thing players are doing? On the other hand, starting left tackles and stud tight ends do not grow on trees.
I guess if Smith is willing to get himself a little bit dirty for his players--and negotiate a new CBA at the same time--perhaps he deserves a little more credit than he has received.