Thursday, 03 March 2011 15:48

NFL Collective Bargaining, Anti-Trust Lawsuit D-Day?

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Will NFL season collapse this week as mediated talks surrounding the pending expiration of the labor agreement end?

It is doubtful. Then, if it does not "collapse", could it be on injured reserve?

There are various schools of thoughts

As published in, two experts in law are paying attention to the resumed mediated talks amid the pending expiration of the labor agreement.

Each, though, is looking past Thursday night, when the collective bargaining agreement expires, to an undetermined "deadline" in late summer. When cancellation of regular-season games becomes a reality, they insist, is when the warring sides will roll up their sleeves and get something  done.

"Nothing magical happens Thursday or Friday," stressed Gary Roberts, former Tulane sports law guru and now dean on the Indiana University School of Law. "The collective bargaining agreement expires Thursday, but there's really no earth-shaking consequences that flow from that. What's worrisome is whether this all might result is losing some games, or losing the season altogether.

"I think the deal will probably get done in late August or early September. That's really when the deadline is."

Gabriel Feldman an associate professor of law and director of the Sports Law Program at Tulane, agreed.

"There has to be some pressure on both sides to make a deal," said Feldman. "The pressure point right now is this March 3 expiration. That doesn't seem to have been effective at getting them to make a deal."

If a new agreement isn't in place by Thursday night, the players union might decertify or, failing that, owners are expected to lock out the players.

So, what could happen if the union does decertify?

According to the Houston Business Journal, “it would need to do so by 5 p.m. Eastern time Thursday to be able to file an antitrust lawsuit against the league. Under terms of the agreement, the union has to decertify prior to the labor pact’s expiration or wait six months before filing such a case. It is possible then there could be a formal announcement from the NFL Players Association at some point Thursday.

However, as many of us know, once a lawsuit is in place, it is a crap shoot and it’s anything goes.

Today might be the opening bell of a long-protracted legal and public relations turfwar.

We will just have to wait and see.

by Ed Staton and Bayoubuzz Staff


Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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