After getting our hands on the 44-page ruling in the StarCaps case, we sent out requests for comment both to the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
The NFL declared victory. The NFLPA made like Switzerland.
“We are not party to the case, so there is no NFLPA comment,” assistant director of external affairs George Atallah posted on Twitter. “Though, the NFL declaring victory before trial even starts is odd.”
The message prompted a Twitter response from Aiello. “NFLPA is not a party to the state law StarCaps case in Minny, But, but, but . . . more to the story.”
Responded Atallah: “You mean like the court ruling that 32 teams are separate entities?”
(That’s a reference to the potential impact of the StarCaps case on the league’s position that it’s a “single entity” for antitrust purposes. We’ll bore you with more details on that issue in a separate post.)
Said Aiello: “[The union] did sue its own steroids program in federal court in StarCaps. Those claims were dismissed — twice. Odd to see union distance itself now.”
It’s really not that odd. The union likely prefers a ruling that the NFL isn’t a joint employer of the players, even though it would hurt Pat and Kevin Williams. Such an outcome, and the things said by the NFL to secure it, would then provide valuable ammunition if/when the union decertifies, the players file an antitrust action based on the salary, draft, and free agency rules that the NFL will unilaterally implement next year, and the league argues that the NFL and its teams are a single entity that cannot violate antitrust law.
Still, we’re surprised that the union isn’t up in arms regarding the apparent fact that someone leaked to the media the fact that Pat and Kevin Williams had tested positive for Bumetanide, especially since the confidentiality breach constitutes one of the key remaining claims in the StarCaps case.
Then again, the union possibly is remaining neutral on this one due to concerns that the leak might have come not from the NFL, but from the NFLPA.