Skillsoft Blog

Throw Back Thursday: leadership

We receive so much valuable content from our customers, partners
and internal subject-matter experts. On Thursdays, we thought it would be fun
to do a “throw back” and bring back an older post that was valuable to our
audience. Since it’s now football season, today’s throw back is about leadership
Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association.

Skills Training Lesson: finding a hero in DeMaurice Smith

By Shawn Hunter

DeMaurice Smith
is my new hero.

I was lucky
enough to sit and interview DeMaurice, executive director of the NFL Players
Association, who just completed a 9,000 mile tour to visit every one of the
NFL’s 32 teams and the 1,800 players who make the game as great as it is today.

With an average
career lifespan of 3.4 years, rising statistic of bankruptcy five years after
retirement (DeMaurice doesn’t like the word ‘retirement’, but more on that in a
moment), 100% injury rate, increased fines, and reduced benefits, it’s no
wonder DeMaurice is a busy man.

DeMaurice calls
the likelihood of an NFL lockout this spring 140% because he is simply
unwilling to compromise on the health and benefits of the players. NFL players
have a 100% injury rate. That’s right, everyone gets hurt. It’s just a matter
of when. And DeMaurice will always be in your corner. Put it this way – if you
were ever in a legal negotiation, you want DeMaurice on your side. He’s that

He visits every
team and player to have that personal and direct touch, and he is also on a
mission to teach them something else: financial literacy. In his words, if you
fail to prepare for life after the NFL, you have failed as a businessman, a
leader, and a father. It is the responsibility of every player to educate
themselves and prepare their family for their future after the game.

And now you get
why he doesn’t like the word ‘retired’ because it suggests they have left the
game and the league, and DeMaurice wants you, the former player, to know that
he will never leave you.

He also always
focuses on the positive. While mainstream media wants to talk about bar room
fights and DUIs, DeMaurice wants the fans to know that players also helped
rebuild villages in Africa, provided labor and relief efforts in Haiti and
donate time and energy to their communities. It is with tireless passion and
energy that DeMaurice works for the players each and every day.

Take a lesson
from DeMaurice and recognize that life is wonderful indeed when you find that
intersection of passion, integrity, and sense of purpose. As DeMaurice put it,
“Every job I’ve had, I felt at that moment it was what I was born to do.”


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