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What if NFLPA wins antitrust suit?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by part-timer, May 15, 2011.

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  1. part-timer

    part-timer Rookie

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    What will it mean to the whole of organized major and minor league sports, not to mention college regulations if the NFLPA's stratigy of decertification and fileing antitrust suits against organized sports? You must figure this will be a landmark decision by the courts that will set a precedent for the future of all organized professional sports. Why wounld any players union negociate when they can call all bets off by decertifying and fileing anti trust cases to break up and disunify the owners ability to negociate. After all the lead Atty. for the NFLPA will be representing the NBA players next. No draft,no free agency regulations,no salary cap or floor, no agent regulations pro or college related, where will the changes take all pro sports. It may very well be that Kessler has duped the NFLPA into makeing themselves the test case at their expence for his future cases reshapeing all of pro team sports. I also think the pro agents who's percent is currently capped may have duped the players into pushing this case for their own gain. Agents fees become uncapped, agent free to aproach any college or high school athletes for that matter. Agent may even have the ability to shape and influence teams buy their negociations of multiple players. Grouping player contracts into blocks and same end years. Teams futures may be a stake by the shifting of succesfull players to successful teams. This could be the start of the new wild west of sports with no player-owner regulations. I realy don't see it as a healthy senario for the future of any organized sports on any level.
  2. patriot lifer

    patriot lifer Rookie

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    Last edited: May 15, 2011
  3. patriot lifer

    patriot lifer Rookie

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    Bear in mind that there was the same doom-and-gloom preceding free agency (which worked out well). And bear in mind that players will still want a CBA even if they win.

    :spygate:
  4. townes

    townes Rookie

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    They already won it years ago and that is why a collective bargaining agreement is needed for the league to operate in the fashion it does, and it's also why the courts continue to supervise the league/player relationship. The players decertified at that time also and at the insistence of the owners created a new union, so the decertification is nothing new and the real question is how the players and owners respond when the decision is in, if either side goes for blood they endanger the game and hopefully owners who have some brains and players who care about the game prevail over the more extreme elements of their side.
  5. part-timer

    part-timer Rookie

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    It appears that pieces are moveing closer to show the ultimate goal of destroying what is left of organized team sports. The NBA,NHL,and MLB unions have all thrown there concerns into the NFL lawsuits when the NFLPA file a last minute brief with the 8th circut court minutes before the deadline on friday night. They all had input into the fileing of the brief showing support and concern if the NFLPA's tactics in trying to bring the league down are unsuccesfull. This will be the landmark decision that will be referenced when the NBA,NHL,and MLB all follow the same NFLPA tactics in their next contract negociations. Hopefully the appelet court relizes the gravity of all upcomeing decisions because they will shape the way organized team sports will be run in the future. Atty. Kessler has wanted and pushed for this change, and the NFL is his test case, realizeing that he will be representing the NBA in their next contract negociations.If successfull the NHL and MLB will be next. The battle lines have been drawn here in the NFL for all ML sports.
    Players call NFL a 'cartel' in court filing - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
    It also seems that this is not a battle for a mere few billion dollars, more like tens or hundreds of billions of dollar in the future of all organized team sports dumping into the hands of players and agent as apposed to maintianing the quality of the game experience and team operations,cutting into our experience and appreciation of the games.
  6. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The players are suing for a result they know they don't want. Getting at will employment would appear to be a win, but would ultimately ruin the sport. The collectively bargained rules (draft, cap, etc) are there because they are better for the sport, and ultimately both the players and owners. The rules are there to allow a competitive balance. Without teams being competitive with each other the league would lose a tremendous amount of its popularity, and each side would lose a ton of money.
    The players are not too stupid to know this. "Winning" the lawsuit is simply and effort to have a negotiating advantage when they recertify.
  7. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You keep saying the owners insisted they recertify, and that is not an accurate statement. The only way to settle the case in a manner that allowed pro football to continue to exist was a CBA. You cant have a CBA is there is no C.
  8. The Scrizz

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    Dissolve the NFL, every team. And then start a new league where each team is a franchise of the parent organization like McDonald's (NNFL - New National Football League). The NNFL sets the working conditions for their employees just like every other corporation in America. You don't like their rules you are free to go flip burgers.

    The players want to pretend they are partners in this somehow. They aren't. They haven't invested a dime in this league. If it wasn't for guys like Robert Kraft spending millions of his own money on stadiums 95% of the players would be bagging groceries, selling insurance, or in jail. F them.

    The owners would be running a different business if there wasn't an NFL. The players would be on food-stamps. They should be grateful that a league like the NFL exists for them to make millions of dollars.
  9. AndyJohnson

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    The owners need the players too.
  10. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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  11. The Scrizz

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    Except that the owners own other things. From a strictly business standpoint, the players need the owners more. Most of the owners would be making millions without the NFL, most of the players would be scratching out a living like us poor fools who pay so much to watch them.

    If the league simply disbanded and incorporated differently they could get around the anti-trust crap. The players could then either play football or not. I bet they would choose to play football.
  12. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You could make that argument about any businesses, the owners could just run a different business, but in practice it isnt that simple. They would lose a ton of investment if the league disbanded. Many are leveraged as well.
  13. DaBruinz

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    I've said it before and I will say it again. No Judge or set of Judges is going to set the Sports world on its ear by eliminating the drafts, free agency, etc. Wht? For the specific reason that it would affect ALL the other sports leagues.

    A few things:

    Agents will NOT be able to approach any college student or even high school student unless that student wants to lose their college eligibility. The NCAA has a plethora of rules that have nothing to do with the NFL.

    Also, the NFL, like any other employer CAN set experience requirements for its jobs.

    There is nothing. Absolutely nothing, that says that teams have to pay oodles of money to players in an "open market" scenario. In fact, I think that you'll find that players will be screaming for better pay pretty damn quickly..

    In an "open market" scenario, teams would not be required to pay for any benefits.

    I just saw something that said that 74% of ALL Pro Football players are at or near bankruptcy within 2 years of retirement. What's going to happen when they have no pension from the NFL because of the open market? What's going to happen when they are responsible for paying their own social security, medicare/medicaid and income tax because they'll be considered independent contractors?
  14. DaBruinz

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    Yes, but they do not need the players in the current "Association". There are numerous things that the players have over-looked since the last time they went to court. One of them is that there are 3 other fairly successful leagues around now. There weren't previously.

    In 1989, there was the CFL and it was having major team issues. It's much more stable now. So is the AFL. And the UFL is coming back for a 2nd season.
  15. smg93

    smg93 Rookie

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    If that happens, I can see a scenario where professional sports kind of goes the way of Boxing. A few decades ago, when you were the heavyweight champ like Joe Louis for instance, everyone pretty much knew he was the champ. Now you have the WBC, WBA, WBO, etc. which has diluted the image of a boxing champion

    The only games or leagues that people will pay attention to are the ones with the marquee players. Players like Brady, Manning, etc, the superstars will become immensely more wealthy then they are now but a much much greater percentage of players will be paid to play football at much closer to what the average joe makes in a regular job.

    In Boxing it was/is the same way. You had people like Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, and now Manny Pacquiao or Floyed Mayweather (when he fights anyway) making all the money while the vast majority of fighters get paid peanuts.

    Before all of the non-superstar players support this lawsuit of Brady et al, I hope they truly understand what could happen if the lawsuit prevails. In that world, a special teamer will not automatically get paid the $150 thousand or whatever the minimum is now that they all expect. Heck I could see it where the QB gets $30 million a year and that LB on special teams makes $30 grand.

    Without these rules, the majority of the players will lose because t's all about economics at the end of the day. The general public only has a finite amount of money to pay for this show. Since that's the case, the owners will pay a Brady or Manning an obscene amount to draw in the crowds, crowds that again don't have an unlimited amount of money to spend on watching football. Since most of the money went into the marquee players, all the rest will just get what's leftover.

    PS: I can almost guarantee that there wont be 32 marquee players as well. You might see a league where there are only half the number of teams because all the "great" players will be signed by big market teams and it is only those teams that people will pay to watch.
    Last edited: May 22, 2011
  16. patsfan-1982

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    if the players win the owners will find a higher judge to pay off and over turn it. the players are fighting a losing battle
  17. Fencer

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    The players don't think the owners are mismanaging things badly; they just want better pay and working conditions than the owners want to provide.

    This will end up with the players, yet again, unionizing to give the league antitrust cover. All that's up in the air are the terms and conditions.

    What would be interesting would be if, in a millionaire socialists' dream, the players just founded their own league. There would be a financially awkward transition period, as well as a permanent loss of "root for the laundry" team loyalty. But it's not a totally crazy option.
  18. TheBostonStraggler

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    "The players founded their own league"? Well, I guess terming it "not a totally crazy option" is accurate since not totally crazy means it is at least partially crazy. Crazy = players being interested in risking their own wealth to start a league that would have smaller TV revenue, smaller stadium revenue, the threat of competition from the NFL owners continuing with replacement players.....and of course the new player owned league would have smaller wages. Doing that versus continuing with the current gravy train NFL is crazy.
    At this point I have a different take on the whole legal happenings. I wish, albeit an unrealistic wish, the legal establishment would say to owners and players "not interested in your squabble" (except for barring the owners from getting their dirty trick TV contract lockout nest egg). Make each respective groups stand on the principle of their financial argument or make a significant concession. Barring the legal system giving one side or the other the high ground (which I hope does not happen), the legal wrangling is just delaying the inevitability of one side or the other caving in (or, perish the thought, both sides meet somewhere towards the middle).
  19. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You don't think the NFL would lose tons of money and popularity by replacing its household name players with Arena Football League guys?
    That would be better, at least in the long run, than an at will system which would take away the competitiveness of the game and destroy it, but the immediate impact would also be devastating.
  20. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Free agency worked well because Judge Doty told both sides before he ruled that he was going to rule in a way that both sides were not going to be happy and both sides agreed on a new CBA before there was ever a ruling. A new CBA deal is likely to happen before the Brady, et la case is ever ruled on, but this hypothetical is what if there isn't.

    As there being a new CBA if there is ruling in the case in favor of a free market system, I wouldn't bet on it. Since the antitrust exemption for collectively negotiating television rights is not being contested, I can see teams like the Bengals, Bills, Jags, etc. content with turning into the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NFL with benefitting from the lucrative television revenue sharing while keeping their payrolls around $25-30 million a year. I can see owners like Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones, now that they do not have to share in their individual team marketing deals like they do under the past CBA, happy to try to buy championships year after year. I am sure most owners would rather pay guys who are inactive every game $25k a year rather than $300k a year.

    Both sides lose in a free market system as a whole, but individuals will win big on both sides. I think only 7 teams have to vote against any CBA to squash it. In a free market NFL, the league might not have the votes to pass any CBA. There will be a lot of elite NFL players who would vote against a CBA if a free market system pass, but I don't know if there enough to squash it.

    You are comparing apples to oranges. The OP is talking about a court ordered free market system. The NFL has never had a court ordered free agency system because in 1993 cooler heads prevailed and both sides realized that a court ordered system would destroy the NFL.
  21. Frezo

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    I don't think franchises would be able to classify their workers, (players), as independent contractors without violating labor laws. For example they are required to wear employer supplied uniforms, do not bring their own tools to work like footballs, weights, exercise machines, etc., they have to follow a rigidly structured timeline or face penalties, and a player cannot work for a different employer.

    I'm a far cry from being a labor lawyer and could well be off base.
  22. patriot lifer

    patriot lifer Rookie

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    The overarching point of that post you are replying to is that we all got too bogged down in the details and what-if scenarios and hypotheticals of every little ramification of there being a major change to the NFL. It will happen again that the solution in the next CBA will displease both parties. That or the owners coming out ahead (like in Hockey, which didn't work out well).

    As for the players litigating in favor of a free-market system, I don't think they actually want this end. They just have to act like they do. And to even discuss the circumstances that would arise out of a court-imposed free-for-all is to completely ignore the fact that it is merely a bargaining chip for the "negotiating" table. Both sides want the stability of an agreed upon, written CBA. Anything short of that would be a failure in the eyes of both sides--especially to the vast majority of players who would be susceptible to being paid significantly less than the status quo (as you mentioned). So as for paragraph 2 above, I don't see this as ever effectively playing out anymore than it is at present. Let's not forget that baseball isn't nearly as big in pretty much all other parts of the country, so to suggest that the bottom-of-the-barrel NFL teams will turn Pittsburgh Pirates on their fanbase is to forget that the Pittsburgh Pirates company wouldn't be earning much even if they were good (sad but true-that's baseball today). If teams do well in the NFL, then they will maintain their fanbase.

    So as to the question, "What if NFLPA* wings antitrust suit?", well...the NFLPA* gets leverage and it will help them get a better CBA. That's the likely outcome. If the owners are recalcitrant, then they may consent to the free market free-for-all by refusing to agree to a CBA (and not recognizing the leverage on the players part). In a way they would be complicit (something that is easily arguable). Or they could shut the league down. Another fantastic outcome.
  23. AzPatsFan

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    Well the millionaire socialist's dream did sort of happen. Many of the early NFL clubs had player/ownership involved. Look at Papa Bear Halas. Mr. Bear was a Player and an Owner. The trouble is that players do not remain players forever. What happens when the present band of Player/owners gets too old to play? Then there is another group of Players versus a group of former Player/owners, just like now...

    There was even a former player who started a League and named his own team for himself. He was a minority Owner, was successful, and he still got fired.
  24. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think you are correct, but I think the independant contractor part of the example was not too relevant to the overall point.
  25. Frezo

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    No, it wasn't relevant. It's just an odd thing to wish on the players. If they were true independent contractors, any player could work for any other team during a bye week. It would be a new interesting form of total chaos. Should a team contractually forbid them from doing so, they will then be seen as employees.
  26. Rob0729

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    So the NFLPA is trying to win this case so they will have leverage about 5-6 years (or longer) from now? You do realize that this case will be drawn out for years and if it does actually go to judgement, it will easily be a half decade or longer for the judgement and all the appeals to be done. In the meantime, the players will be likely locked out for the 2011 season if not longer and could be subject to a NFL employment system less than favorable to them until the case is settled. By then, most of the players named on the lawsuit will be former players (if the case goes to 2016 or 2017, what are the likelihood of Brady, Manning, and Brees still being playing). The motion to enjoin the lockout will take about 3-6 months to playout when all is said and done and that is a miniscule part of the overall antitrust case. This case will be bogged down with motions and appeals of the outcome of those motions for years. The 1987 antitrust case took five years and it never even reached final judgement nevermind entered the appeals process. If the players are looking for a final ruling on this antitrust case to gain leverage, they are a bunch of morons since most of them will be out of football by the time a judge rules on the overall case.

    As for your baseball argument, it is completely different. MLB has no pooled television package other than the deals they have with Fox (a couple games a week) and ESPN (the same). Every team has their own television deal. If MLB had a pooled package for all the game, the Pirates would be making astronimical profits. Even know they are very profitable with never having a chance to win the Wold Series. They made a profit of $29.4 million in 2007 and 2008.

    Pittsburgh Pirates win by losing, financial documents show - ESPN

    Now imagine if they had revenue sharing like the NFL does.

    As for wanting a free market system, many of the players do including Jeffrey Kessler who is the player's outside attorney. He was pushing for this even when Upshaw was alive. There is 5-15% of the players who will get huge pay jumps if there is a free market system. I am sure guys like Darrell Revis who has already held out once to be the highest paid CB and said he will hold out again next year if he doesn't get a new deal will love to see a market place where he can make $30 million a year. The question is whether these guys will lead the discussions.

    I already said that I doubt this case sees final judgement. But if for some crazy reason it does, I wouldn't be surprised if the free market system stays because I don't know if the owners have the votes to ratify a new CBA in this situation without a serious one sided deal in their favor. There are at least 7 teams who will benefit from a free market NFL although the majority wouldn't.
  27. part-timer

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    The next step has happened. The NBA has filed a grievence with the NLRB to block the owners from locking out the players on the grounds of not negociating in good faith because they don't like the owners proposals.This fully before the owners even atempt to do so. This all well before the expiration of their current CBA. If that is unsuccesfull what do you think is next, Decertification and antitrust claims maby. It apears that they have learned a little bit from the NFLPA's stratigy. If both the NFL and NBA both decertify and file antitrust lawsuits forceing the owners to lockout to avoid antitrust violations putting two sports in jepordy of lost seasons, could the unions joint stratigy against the owners and fans be considered an act of COLLUSION?
  28. lamafist

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    Decertification does not "force" a lockout -- quite the opposite, it is a measure taken to be able to prevent one. I really don't get how people have managed to convince themselves otherwise. A lockout in no way "avoids" antitrust violations because locking out a non-unionized workforce is itself a huge antitrust violation.

    If the players do not decertify, the NFL can lock the union out or continue business under the provisions from 2010, both with equal legal protection from antitrust suits.

    If the players do decertify, the NFL has legal protection from antitrust suits if it continues business under the 2010 rules, but actively courts suits for antitrust violation if it installs a lockout.
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  29. part-timer

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    Any organized set of rules that the owners put in place includeing the old CBA and forces the players to comply to will be a violation of the anti trust laws. And as long as the players stratigy is to chalange the anti-trust exemption the owners have no choice but to refuse to operate without knowing what set of rules they can operate under and not put themselves in jepordy of more legal damages. They will not also allow themselves to be forced to operate under the whims of the NFLPA's judgements. These guidelines can only be directed by the court or an agreement on a new CBA. Don't forget that the NRLB still has not ruled on the legality of the decertification stratigy, and the appelet court may over rule the lock out decision and throw it back to the NLRB.
    Also don't forget that tha old CBA was inacted by a union that no longer exists and expired.
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  30. lamafist

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    You're mistaken on a number of counts.

    The NFL can, in fact, continue to operate using the terms of the last collectively bargained agreement in place without making themselves liable for any damages from antitrust violations. The players could bring an antitrust suit to challenge things like the draft and restrictions to FA in the future, but there would be no damages for the players to sue for.

    You also seem to remain confused about the fact that choosing to refuse to operate -- and thus preventing the free agent players from seeking employment and the players under contract from earning their salaries -- entails the biggest possible antitrust violation with the most potential damages possible on the part of the NFL. In no way can limiting damages liability be a motivation in the course of action that maximizes it.

    You also are confused about the NFL's antitrust exemption if you think the players' strategy involves challenging it. The Brady suit allegations involve antitrust restrictions from which the NFL has never had an exemption from. The NFL's antitrust exemption has to do with their being able to operate as a single entity with regards to selling their broadcast rights. It doesn't have anything to do with the labor dispute.

    Finally, I'm not sure exactly how you think the NLRB and 8th circuits' pending rulings are relevant to a discussion of whether the NFLPA's decertification in any way "forced" a lockout. The only thing "forcing" the lockout is the fact that the players are fine with playing under the terms of the previous CBA, and thus would not have much incentive to make concessions so long as those terms are in place.
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