The NFL Heads Back to Court
After standing before the SCOTUS this past summer to determine logo licensing matters, the NFL is headed back to the courtroom. Despite months of negotiations to figure out sticky labor provisions with the League, the Players' Association has filed papers to decertify as a union. The filing also includes an antitrust suit under the Sherman Antitrust Act of the United States Code. The Act, a federal antitrust statute from 1890, limits monopolies and imposes restrictions on commerce. The League's announcement of a lockout is closely looming.
Decertification is the dissolution of the union, no longer making it the representative of the players in negotiations. Basically, negotiations are over because there's only 1 side left. Without a union, players can now file their own lawsuits --and have, including Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady for restraint of trade. They are now their own independent entities.
Before the announcement, NFL owners said they would lock the players out if no agreement had been met by yesterday's midnight deadline. League owners made a collective bargaining agreement offer to the players' union, but was denied. This is likely because the financial documents of each team were never shared as requested. The league also made the following offers, among others:
• Creating new year-round health and safety rules.
• Maintaining the 16-game regular season with 4 preseason games for at least 2 years, with changes open for negotiation.
• Establishing a fund for retired players, with $82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years.
• Instituting a rookie wage scale where money saved would be paid to veterans and retired players.
The last time the NFL was forced to stop play, they were forced to play games with replacement players. Interesting. At this point, the player's union would have to form again and restart negotiations, probably from scratch. For now, we don't have much reason to get excited about a 2011-2012 season, and must sit back to see what happens.
We'll keep you posted!