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.