With the NFLPA transforming from a full-blown union into an asterisked trade association, the NFL believes that the group no longer has the ability to negotiate marketing deals on behalf of its constituents, according to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal.
“We don’t understand the source of their rights,” NFL senior V.P. of business affairs Gary Gertzog told Kaplan. “In the CBA, it states group licensing rights are designed to support the objective of the union. If the union no longer exists, there is certainly a question whether those rights are valid, and people who do business [with the NFLPA*] should be looking into those questions.”
And the league has decided to help its partners realize the potential problem.
“We have communicated to our sponsors who were relying on these rights [that] if they are still interested in group players they will have to find out how to access those benefits, whether through some other entity the former union has or going directly to the agents or players.”
Let’s call this what it really is. The league hopes to make it harder for the NFLPA* to generate revenue that the players would use to survive a lengthy lockout. Why else would or should the NFL care? Sure, the league can pull an Eddie Haskell routine, claiming that it’s merely helping its business partners find their way through presently uncharted waters, even though the only thing that the league typically wants to help its business partners find is their wallet.
So this is about putting even more pressure on the players to accept what the players continue to unreasonably call “the worst deal in the history of sports,” or something close to it.
UPDATE: This article was from last week’s issue of SBJ. There’s an update in the new issue. We’ll get to it after PFT Live.