The NFLPA (pre-asterisk) knew a lockout was coming, so the NFLPA (pre-asterisk) took steps to ensure that money would be available to players during a lockout. The NFLPA created the fund by setting aside dues payments and rights fees in 2009 and 2010.
So with the lockout only 18 days old and no game checks to be missed until September, the lockout fund is being unlocked as of April 15.
Jason La Canfora of NFL Network reports that notification letters and direct deposit slips have been sent to eligible players. Players on NFL rosters for all 17 weeks of both the 2009 and 2010 seasons will be eligible for the maximum payment of $60,000.
The amount, paltry in comparison to the money that NFL players ordinarily make but still a decent chunk of change for the average person, likely won’t carry players very far — especially if they start receiving pieces of it as early as April 15.
That’s the most amazing aspect of the report. If players start dipping into the shallow lockout fund five months before the season begins, how can the players ever make it through a full season without pay checks?
The fact that the money from the lockout fund will start flowing so early reconfirms that the goal of decertification and litigation was to end the lockout — and to end it quickly. The owners will have tremendous leverage once player start to lose paydays, especially if their $60,000 piece of the lockout fund is long gone before then.
And it will be.