NFL Labor Fight Will Resume In Court

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Roger Goodell

The commissioner could have a big problem on his hands.

The NFLPA decertified on Friday, dissolving itself as a union.

That means the players can now sue the NFL under antitrust laws.

The NFLPA and NFL had spent 17 days with a federal mediator to try to work out a new collective bargaining agreement, but things finally reached an impasse.

“After carefully reviewing all the events that have transpired, the judgement of yours truly … is that no constructive purpose would be served by requesting the parties continue mediation at this time,” mediator George Cohn said.

The biggest issue was the NFLPA’s request for detailed financial records. With the owners asking the players to take a substantial pay cut, the players want to look at the books.

NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith requested 10 years of audited records from the teams, while the NFL offered five years of individual club’s financial documents and profitability data. By decertifying and taking the fight to court, the players hope to get access to all the clubs’ books, which could be quite interesting.

If the players are successful, financial info for all 32 clubs would be made available to the public. Not only would the players get to see each team’s finances, but so would the media, other owners and fans.

The league, of course, wants no part of that.

The NFL released the following statement after talks broke down.

“The fastest way to a fair agreement is for both the union and the clubs to continue the mediation process. Unfortunately, the players’ union has notified our office that at 4 p.m. ET it had ‘decertified’ and is walking away from mediation and collective bargaining, presumably to initiate the antitrust litigation it has been threatening to file. In an effort to get a fair agreement now, the clubs offered a deal that would have had no adverse financial impact upon veteran players in the early years and would meet the players’ financial demands in the latter years.”

“The union left a very good deal on the table. It included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; ensure no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).”

The fight is likely to go on for some time, so stay tuned.

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

5 Comments on "NFL Labor Fight Will Resume In Court"

  1. jeremy

    The owners could be rid of this process of overpaying athletes for good by transitioning the NFL into a nonpublic corporation they each owned stock in. Each owner could maintain management of their franchise through the bylaws of the corporation, and they could then decide to run their business however they wanted. Professional sports leagues are the only business venture that competes financially with its self. Any other executive would laugh at the idea of bidding against another division of it’s business for the services of someone they already employed. The model already exists in MLS. Of course this will never happen because it’s too obvious a solution for the megalomaniacal personalities involved.

  2. iltarion

    Though there is some merit in the idea, Jeremy, going from basically a sole proprietorship to a 32 partner owned corporation would have a HUGE impact on the owners’ personal finances. Just the tax implications alone would take a team of accountants to figure out. Even bylaws can be changed by a majority of stockholders. That is way too much the risk for an individual owner to take.

    The “call for financial statements” has nothing to do with the impasse. It is a smokescreen for the fact that the players think they’ll be better off in court than negotiating. Anyone who thinks for a second that the owners “opening their books” would then cause the players to turn around and agree to a deal is seriously naive.

    Smith said “open your books in 15 minutes or forget an extension.” That is not an offer. It is paramount to saying “part the Red Sea, get me the Hope Diamond and the panties of Grace Kelly in 10 minutes.” It is a good comparison to the “deal” that William Wallace offered the commander of the English forces at Stirling. In short, no deal was ever intended to be made. The players were going to litigation, but they wanted to make their “open the books” PR campaign plea one last time.

    • jeremy

      “Just the tax implications alone would take a team of accountants to figure out.”

      Of course it would be a huge mess to transition, that would require dozens of lawyers and accounts. Then they wouldn’t have to have dozens of lawyers and accountants deal with labor unrest by overpaid children every 15 years.

  3. Madcity Packer Fan

    I am being tortured by basketball and soon I will be tortured by boring ass baseball. They better stop acting like fuckheads and put a pen to paper! UFL has 5 teams and most of the players are wannabes and has beens. The LFL is fine for 5-10 minutes of checking out some t&a. Someone suggested the CFL…hmm…fuck that. Ahhh Fuck! Get a deal in place!

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