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Martin rips NFLPA's Smith

Former Giants defensive lineman George Martin lost several

Former Giants defensive lineman George Martin lost several close friends in the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Credit: AP

Frequently rebuffed in attempts to speak with NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, former Giants defensive end George Martin, head of the NFL Alumni Association, criticized Smith for his unwillingness to consult with Martin on issues affecting retired players. 

"There's no personal issues between me and DeMaurice Smith, but we just haven't been able to get together, and that's very unfortunate, not just for me personally, but I think for the people we represent," Martin said this morning at a breakfast commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Giants' 1986 Super Bowl championship season. "There's strength in unity. Apparently, Mr. DeMaurice Smith thinks there isn't. I think it’s an absolute shame when you have someone with my accomplishments and my commitment to not only active players but retired players, the fact that we can’t sit down and discuss our similarities, but our differences if there are any, I think that’s a travesty." 

Martin said he has reached out numerous times to Smith. The two have met only once - at  player meetings in Marco Island in March - and Martin described that gathering as contentious. They have not met since. 

"I’ve made the request on countless occasions to have some interaction with him," Martin said. "The reponse has been etiher no response or no. That's really unacceptable. I still have a mssion to accomplish relative to NFL Alumni. There shouldn’t be any prohibition about sitting down and discussing the things we can accomplish. It’s important for someone to have not only the institutional knowledge of the issues, but also have the empathy for retired players. At this point, when you don’t have conversations with the recognized leader of NFL Alumni how can you say you have the best interests of retired players at heart?"

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