The NFL Players Association has decertified, which will allow the players to file an injunction to block the lockout and an antitrust lawsuit to sue the league “to award damages from their monopoly,” according to a highly respected player representative.
The injunction and antitrust lawsuit would be filed separately. The injunction could be resolved in about a month, according to the player rep, but the antitrust lawsuit would take “some time,” and maybe as long as six months.
If the players win the injunction, it would allow business to reopen. United States District Judge David Doty would preside over the injunction, and he has historically ruled in favor of the NFL’s players. Free agency, trading and other personnel matters will be up to Doty’s ruling.
The Players Association had to decertify in order to file these lawsuits.
The player rep was on a conference call Friday afternoon with the NFLPA, and he said they were dedicated toward reaching an extension on the negotiations by Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline. Reports at 3 p.m. on Friday that said the NFLPA had decided to decertify were 100 percent incorrect, according to the player rep.
There was no chance for the two sides to reach a new collective-bargaining agreement by Friday’s deadline, which left decertification and an extension — believed to be three days — were the only two options on the table.
The major snag in the negotiations came from a financial dispute. Under the current CBA, the owners received $1 billion off the top of the league’s total revenue before the players received 59.5 percent of the remaining revenue.
Owners were negotiating to receive $2 billion off the top of the NFL’s total revenue before the players received 59.5 percent of the remaining revenue. The owners then dropped their demands from $2 billion to $1.75 billion. NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash said Friday the owners were ready to split the difference in half, but it was unclear if that difference came from the original $2 billion or the revised $1.75 billion. That means the owners and players were still apart by $375 million to $500 million.
Sources have indicated to NESN.com throughout the process that the players were willing to agree to the owners’ financial demands, but the players wanted to know where that money would be spent. The owners never cooperated by giving in to those requests.
The NFLPA’s final request demanded 10 years of audited finances in order to determine why the owners wanted the extra money. That’s an extremely steep demand from the players, and it’s not exactly surprising that the owners denied the request. Then again, the players were also insulted by the fact that they were asked to hand over an extra $1 billion in blind faith.
With those significant differences, the players had no other choice but to decertify. But if they win the injunction to block the lockout, there should still be a full regular season in 2011.