The burgeoning war between the NFL and the players union will entail many fronts beyond the bargaining table.
From the halls of Congress to the well of the Supreme Court to, ultimately, the hearts and minds of average football fans, the fight will unfold in various ways.
Next week, a legal skirmish will take place via a hearing before the Special Master charged with interpreting the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which arose via a settlement of the antitrust lawsuit filed after the failed players strike of 1987. The NFLPA claims that the league cannot pull the plug on supplemental revenue sharing, a system for redistributing excess money earned by some of the teams that isn’t subject to the automatic division of the pie into 32 slices. The league believes that supplemental revenue sharing always was supposed to evaporate upon the disappearance of the salary cap and salary floor in 2010.
Multiple league sources have expressed to us a strong belief that the union’s position will not prevail. But the reality of litigation is that, usually, both sides feel strongly about their positions, and one of them inevitably ends up being dead wrong.
So stay tuned.