NFL players association executive director DeMaurice Smith rarely shies away from speaking on the division between the league and its players.

In a recent appearance on The Pivot podcast, Smith said that NFL fans truly don’t know the struggle between the two factions and the lack of oversight at the top.

“The league has probably been the largest group of bullies in the labor market,” Smith said. “We’ve had people declare war on labor forever, but I don’t know of another business in America that has antitrust exemptions, they answer to no one, . . . there’s no board of directors, there’s no transparency, there’s no oversight.”

While Smith believes the players could stand up to the NFL, he says they are limited in their ability to do so. As a result, Smith said he sees the league-player relationship as a struggle between good and evil that stems from its leadership under Roger Goodell. 

It is also why he wants players to put an end to engaging in free publicity for the NFL on social media.

“Stop giving away things for free,” Smith said. “When you put your jersey or something else on your Instagram post, I think that’s great . . . but you know who loves it more than you? The NFL and the team. They’re getting full promotion about how much you love the game and how much you love them without them paying you a cent.”

Smith was instated as executive director in 2009. He oversaw a collective bargaining agreement negotiation in 2011 that resulted in a four-month lockout during the offseason. He also was in charge during the negotiations for the ’20 CBA that will run through ’30. Smith caught some heat from players for several aspects of this contract, including the addition of a 17th game, but he remains as the leader of the players union.