Wednesday, July 6, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Sports Law

The NBA & NFL Are Locked Out....Now What?

Well, it appears the NFL may be close to a deal which would get training camps started and the season underway.  We've reported on this for some time now, and finally some good news.  After decertification of the Players' Association and a class action suit alleging antitrust violations filed by the likes of Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, among others, negotiations have been in high gear over the last few days.  Both sides met Thursday and Friday.  They even got talks started yesterday morning, straight off the extended holiday weekend.

Clearly both sides see the importance of reaching an agreement with $800 million - $1 billion of losses in jeopardy.  To reach their final destination, players would have to drop their lawsuits and reach a new collective bargaining agreement with owners.  Sacrifices would have to be made on both ends.  If things move quickly, no time will be lost on the upcoming season.

Now basketball, on the other hand...

Things don't seem to be going as well for the NBA.  No bargaining sessions are on the schedule, and some players are even talking about going overseas to play.  Doing so would certainly raise more labor issues with owners later.  If no negotiations start soon, all sorts of things could happen.  If owners don't budge on the players' demands, the union could "decertify", which we reported before as being a dissolution of the players' association.  This move would allow them to file individual antitrust lawsuits.  Players could sue on matters like the draft, restraint of trade, salary caps--all things currently prohibited by being unionized.  Unfortunately this tactic has not worked so well for the NFL--we'd advise the NBA Players' Association to try something else.  It seems like a good idea, but without union backing, factions can develop, and the gains they could receive as a unified group would be vastly reduced. 

To make any headway, both sides will have to be flexible.  They'll have to be conscious of the losses they face--not only in dollars, but also in TV ratings for games and commercials.  These losses really hurt the league during the shortened 2005-2006 season.  After this past playoffs season, the NBA is in no position to let their ratings slip. Maybe the league can make up the money in fines, seeing as they're imposing $1million penalties (yes, million) for coaches mentioning players in tweets?  

Players will have to accept the idea of a soft salary cap, and owners may have to raise their current desired level of $64 million to the $70-$80 million range.   Both sides will have to bend a little. 

Hopefully negotiations will be underway soon.  On the positive side, players like Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo, who had major injuries in the playoffs, will have extended time to recover.  But, we're certain they'd prefer the treatment at their respective team facilities.

We'll keep watching for more...

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