As percentages go, the plaintiffs in the Brady antritrust lawsuit are slightly better represented than the defendants.
The lawsuit has 10 named plaintiffs, including Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees. Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that only two of the named plaintiffs — Ben Leber and Mike Vrabel — are present for the mediation. (Yes, we believe they all should be there.) The action has 33 defendants, the league and the 32 teams. And the defendants are represented by Commissioner Roger Goodell and four owners.
That’s 20 percent of the plaintiffs and 15 percent of the defendants. Of course, as long as someone from each side has the ability to negotiate an agreement, it doesn’t really matter how many or few are present.
Some would contend in response to our belief regarding the importance of all owners attending that all 1,900 or so players should be there, since they ultimately will have to vote on any deal that is negotiated. But that’s not how things work after decertification of a union.
The players have forfeited their ability to vote on the proposed settlement agreement. Under normal class-action procedures, they’ll have a chance to individually object in court to any proposed agreement. And they can still file their own lawsuits. But the future of the league, from the players’ perspective, currently is in the hands of the 10 named plaintiffs, subject to the approval of any settlement by Judge Nelson.
Thus, we’re comfortable concluding that, between Leber, Vrabel, and DeMaurice Smith (pictured, with lawyer Jeffrey Kessler), there’s enough juice on the players’ side to get something done. The real question is whether the four owners have the ability to craft offers without further approval or permission from the 28 owners who aren’t there.