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Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson had some intense criticism for NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith while talking to Fox News Digital Tuesday about his new book “Watch My Smoke: The Eric Dickerson Story.”
The former Los Angeles Rams star running back said he had been thinking about writing a book for a while and got to work with his friend Gustavo Miguel and writer Greg Hanlon. The book was released in January.
“I got to say, the book sounds just like me. One thing about me is I’m very honest. My dad always said the truth isn’t popular, but it is the truth. Everything in my book is the truth,” Dickerson said.
Eric Dickerson speaks on stage at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at the University of Southern California on April 23, 2022. (David Livingston/Getty Images)
When asked what he wants fans to take away from the book, he reiterated to Fox News Digital that it’s “just the truth.”
“Playing back when I played, there was a lot of disparity between the players and the owners and there still is. We’re still not on the level we should be as players because the players make the NFL, the owners don’t make the NFL,” he said.
“Let’s talk about helping us. How bad our pension is, how bad the health care is. Just look at it. But a lot of people love the NFL so much, they look past that. I get that but just as a reminder, NFL players are human beings. They’re not just a system, they’re not just a number that plays on a football field. They have a mother. They have a father. They have children. I talk about all that in my book.”
Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams waits on the sidelines against the Houston Oilers on Dec. 17, 1984, at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California. (David Madison/Getty Images)
Reminding team owners and fans that players are more than just a name and number on the back of the jersey was one of the things Dickerson underscored. The former running back said it’s going to take the NFL players standing together and becoming a stronger union before things improve.
“I think it’s going to take the players being willing to stand together. If the fans work to stick together, we’ll work to stick together. They’re afraid of the NFL, they won’t stick together. That’s the big thing. They’re not like the NBA, they’re not like Major League Baseball. Both of those have great unions,” he told Fox News Digital.
Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams during the Houston Oilers game on Dec. 17, 1984, at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California. (David Madison/Getty Images)
“DeMaurice Smith runs the union, the players association, but he’s a bozo. He sells the players out. I even go back to Gene Upshaw, he sold the players out. They do what’s good for them. Not good for the players. DeMaurice Smith, he’s never put on the uniform. He has no idea what it’s like to play football. He has no idea what it’s like being a trainer. He has no idea what it’s like to play in the cold with your hands freezing. He has no idea what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night hurting after you played a game. He doesn’t really care. All he cares about, basically, is kissing the NFL’s a–, not helping the players.”
Smith was a trial lawyer in Washington, D.C., and formerly served as counsel to former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder before entering the private sector. He was selected as the executive director of the NFLPA in 2009 over former players Troy Vincent and Trace Armstrong.
The NFLPA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speaks at the annual state of the union news conference in Miami Beach, Florida. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
Dickerson has long been critical of Smith. In 2018, he and more than a dozen other Hall of Famers sent a letter to Smith, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and then-Hall of Fame President David Baker demanding health insurance coverage and a share of NFL revenues. They threatened a boycott of the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
Last October, the NFLPA voted to retain Smith for a fifth term. He will be the NFLPA executive director until at least 2023.
“The NFLPA Board of Player representatives voted to extend DeMaurice Smith for one more term as our union’s Executive Director,” NFLPA president J.C. Tretter said in an October statement. “He was transparent with us about his interest in moving on after this term and for the stability and security of our union, he will work with our player leadership to ensure we have a succession plan in place for the next leader. De cares deeply about our union and about our players and we thank him for staying to help us secure a strong future for the NFLPA.”