OBR Daily Blog 3/12-13

Friday stunk if you are a fan of the NFL. How we hurry up and wait for what's next. Ugh.

5:06 PM

RT @BarryMcBride I’m busy munching mocks. Still have some bugs to squash, but mostly there.

4:13 PM

Mike holmgren to meet with media monday.

The Week That Was in Labor
Dave Kolonich on March 13th, 2011 AT 8:29 AM

The National Federation of Lawyers finally reached its zenith over the past few days, as those skilled in the arts of litigation have firmly taken over the labor process.

Considering the staggering volume of lawyers found on each side of the debate, could you have expected a different result?

Regardless of the arguments coming from each side of the debate, the entire process is now the exclusive property of the court system.  Gone are the days of bargaining and mediation.  Now, it's time for some hardcore litigation.

Is there anything more American than that?

Anyway, as a follow-up to Don Delco's Thursday report, here's a quick look….

OBR – Delco – D Day Has Arrived

To recap, here's what has happened since then….

1.  The NFLPA is no more, as the union dissolved itself.  In doing so, the NFLPA no longer retains collective bargaining rights – which means that players now have the rights to sue the NFL under the Sherman Act of Antitrust violations.  Legally, a union cannot sue on antitrust grounds.

2.  Wasting little time, an antitrust lawsuit led by ten NFL players, including Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, was filed against the league's owners.  This bit of litigation could take months to resolve itself – as the situation is incredibly complex.  Basically, the players will have to prove that 32 league owners acted in an unfair interest.

3.  In response to the players' lawsuit, the owners imposed a lockout – which officially ends all league business, excluding April's draft.  Free agency, OTA's, mini-camps and all other organized league activities have been put on hold.

4.  The players filed a preliminary injunction against the league owners in an attempt to have the lockout reversed.  It's hard to predict how long the players' injunction will take to be settled, but some estimates suggest that the process will take between two weeks to around one month. 

5.  Depending on the outcome of this injunction, the landscape of future football will be shaped.  Either the owners will retain a huge bargaining chip in shutting down league business, or the players will have gained tremendous leverage as their antitrust lawsuit proceeds over the next several months.

6.  However, if the injunction is ruled on behalf of the players, the owners can appeal the decision to a Circuit Court – which could take up to another month or more.  Again, the owners' main bargaining chip at this time is a lockout.

7.  Although it's also possible that the league could challenge the NFLPA's decision to decertify in front of the National Labor Relations Board.  Such a move could lead to the NLRB filing a federal request to block the decertification.  Of course, this is assuming that the NLRB agrees with the owner's assertion that the NFLPA had planned from the beginning to decertify and litigate.

8.  If the lockout is blocked, then the league would have to decide how to operate in 2011.  The main issue here regards whether the league would operate under a salary cap during 2011.  Although it's mainly speculation at this point, most feel that the league would carry over its' 2010 operating model.


As for what all this means going forward….

1.  Regarding the actual playing of football, the biggest issue right now is the preliminary injunction filed on behalf of the players regarding the lockout.  If this ruling favors the players, then the owners lose their lockout leverage and will have to resort to what should be a 2010 model of operation.  In this scenario, free agency and other types of offseason activities would resume.  However, the question here becomes when exactly this decision will be made.

2.  Also, because the owners have already lost their TV contract cushion, their stance would be significantly weakened, which means appeals will be made.  Regardless of the outcome of these appeals, the process could take a couple months to resolve itself, which would push the resumption of league activities into at least May.

3.  Under this scenario, free agency will operate without the limits of a salary cap – like in 2010 – but will occur at a warp speed.  Obviously, if the start of free agency occurs after April, the landscape of the NFL draft should be altered. 

4.  However, if the courts rule that the NFLPA's decertification was a "sham", then all bets are off.  In this case, a lockout would be imposed and all offseason activity would come to a halt – along with the likelihood of the 2011 season beginning on time – or at all.

5.  Regardless of the outcome of the preliminary injunction, the clouds of litigation will hover over the league for the remainder of the year.  Basically, any future labor negotiations will be left in the hands of a sea of lawyers. 

6.  And we all know what that means.  Pirated Internet feeds of CFL football.

Latest Links from the OBR Newswire
OBR Newswire on March 12th, 2011 AT 8:00 AM

These are links from the OBR Newswire for March 12th from 07:49 to 07:52:

6:26 PM

D(certification)-Day Has Arrived: NFLPA decertifies, as mediation breaks down between players, owners http://bit.ly/fKLufW

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