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NFL tells Congress it’s not hoping to use American Needle against NFLPA

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives committee on courts and competition policy convened a hearing to discuss the potential ramifications of the American Needle antitrust case.

The NFLPA fears that the league hopes to parlay a finding that the NFL is a “single entity” for marketing purposes into a finding that the NFL is a “single entity” for player-acquisition purposes, too.

NFL senior V.P. Gary Gertzog told the committee that the American Needle case has no bearing on the union.  “This case is not about any other aspect of our business,” Gertzog said, per Mark Maske of the Washington Post.  “It is not about our labor relations.”

But the arguments presented last week to the Supreme Court by Gregg Levy suggested that the NFL believes otherwise.

So unless and until the league publicly states that Levy misspoke and/or that he misunderstood the league’s broader position, the argument that the league is a single entity for labor purposes is still potentially in play.

And absent such clarification, this matter falls within the often frustrating disconnect between the things a person or company says directly and the things said by its lawyers within the confines of litigation.  Ideally, the messages will be consistent.  All too often, they aren’t — and when that happens it should be regarded as the person or company talking out of both sides of its mouth.

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7 Responses to “NFL tells Congress it’s not hoping to use American Needle against NFLPA”
  1. murph26 says: Jan 21, 2010 5:06 PM

    First post – great site! Didn’t the 7th Circuit rule that the NFL is one entity for marketing purposes? Why would they have appealed the case if they didn’t want to expand the ruling to other aspects of their business (such as labor relations)?

  2. Deb says: Jan 21, 2010 5:17 PM

    @Pantherfan10 …
    It’s a single Congressional committee, not the entire House of Representatives. These small committees sometimes actually do accomplish some things. And sadly, professional sports does require some level of oversight.

  3. gbsparks says: Jan 21, 2010 5:17 PM

    Once you dweebs realize the true significance of this antitrust case, you’ll understand why Congress should indeed get involved.

  4. Ben Roetlisbunger says: Jan 21, 2010 5:43 PM

    Parse his words a little more, Florio. “This case is not about any other aspect of our business,” means the case about American Needle is not a labor case. It does not mean that the findings in American Needle will not apply to future cases in other aspects of the business.
    “This case is not about any other aspect of our business,” does not mean “this case does not apply to any other aspect of our business.”

  5. slipkid says: Jan 21, 2010 7:02 PM

    well i’d rather have the congresscritters fubar the nfl instead of health care etc…
    the bfl ought to delay this for a year, at which point a new congress may not bring it up

  6. Brewster says: Jan 21, 2010 7:16 PM

    Good point Ben Roetlisbunger,
    “This case is not about any other aspect of our business,” does not mean “this case does not apply to any other aspect of our business.”
    And another reason why it’s not good business to believe anything that comes out of the mouth of a PR person, or an Attorney. They both earn their living by speaking out of both sides of their mouths.

  7. Sallier says: Feb 13, 2010 10:11 AM

    The highest level of football that will be played in 2011 is College.
    Geaux Tigers & Hook ‘em Horns!

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