Skip to content

De Smith seeks leverage in threat of no union

NFL And Players Resume Mediation Getty Images

At a time when the NFLPA* faces the possibility of losing the effort to lift the lockout via the court system, the union-turned-trade-association needs real leverage, if the next step will be to negotiate a win-win, long-term labor deal.  Although the most recently published comments from NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith on the subject hint at a stubborn commitment to leverage-through-litigation, the broader circumstances could be cause for a glimmer of hope.

In a new interview posted today by Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports but conducted “earlier this month,” Smith suggests that he’s committed to a future without a union.

“When I went into this,” Smith told Silver, “my attitude was that the only way you have power is collectively, and I believed in unions as vehicles for employees asserting their rights.  But looking back on what Gene [Upshaw] experienced and understanding this particular situation, I’ve now come to appreciate the value of decertification in our particular circumstance.  And I don’t see why we’d want to go back to being a union.”

In 1993, Upshaw wanted no part of re-forming the union.  But there’s a good chance that Upshaw knew the NFL had to insist on a CBA in order to protect the NFL against antitrust challenges.  The settlement of the Reggie White antitrust suit in the 1990s or the Tom Brady antitrust suit today would still leave the NFL susceptible to challenges from players who were not yet in the NFL at the time of the settlement.  So if, for example, the Brady class agrees as part of the settlement that the draft will continue, any and all future incoming players could sue to challenge it as an antitrust violation.

Upshaw was very smart.  More than smart enough to know that, because of the antitrust exemption that comes with a multi-employer labor deal, the NFL needed the union more than the players needed the union.  Thus, Upshaw knew that he could get greater concessions by fighting against the return of the NFLPA.

Smith, in turn, is smart enough to know that, with the first shot of the Brady case seemingly destined to fizzle like John Madden’s “last shot from a Roman candle,” leverage needs to be mustered for the inevitable negotiations that are moving to the front end of the horizon.

Of course, if Smith isn’t saying what he’s saying for leverage, then it’s lunacy.  Apart from threatening the competitive balance of the game by putting the draft and free agency restrictions in peril and jeopardizing college football by giving the next Maurice Clarett a much stronger case for forcing early entry into the draft pool, Smith risks inviting a new union drive that would, if successful, render his employment irrelevant.  Even Upshaw, who commanded respect in every corner of every locker room, couldn’t keep his players from crossing a picket line.  If Smith tries to force a non-union reality onto the NFL, the players who will be affected by the absence of protections like minimum salaries and mandatory benefits eventually will come together and attempt to form a new union.

Thus, in lieu of focusing on the gloom and doom, we’ll assume it’s all about the leverage.  Making us even more comfortable in this conclusion is that Silver, like Upshaw and Smith, is smart.  And Silver wrote last week — apparently after interviewing Smith and hearing all about the “no union” strategy — that he believes based on his conversations with both sides in this labor fight that the end result will be a multi-year CBA.

Which means that Silver believes the union will return.

To get there, the players need leverage.  And part of that leverage will be a reluctance by the NFLPA* to remove its asterisk.

Permalink 67 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, Sprint Football Live - Rumors, Top Stories, Union
67 Responses to “De Smith seeks leverage in threat of no union”
  1. mightygiants says: May 27, 2011 3:07 PM

    There would be pluses and minuses of no union:

    Pluses:

    You could work and live in the team and town of your choosing

    Older Vets wouldn’t have to worry about becoming a salary cap casualty

    The starters would most likely see increased salaries (at least in the short term)

    Minuses:

    No pension unless their association creates a voluntary one for them to join

    the subs and scrubs would most likely take a big salary cap hit

    no union for protection of the player’s rights

    Healthcare would have to be paid for by the players, either to a player formed health consortium or a players would have to look for private insurance.

    While Mike and the owners mike think a world without a player’s union is unthinkable, the players need to see a CBA offer that has more pluses than the free market.

  2. BlackAndGoldAllDay says: May 27, 2011 3:08 PM

    Smokescreen. There’s no sane scenario in which the union does not re-form.

    This is why De Smith isn’t so great at this. His motives and tactics are transparent to even the most casual observer.

  3. bobwhitequail says: May 27, 2011 3:08 PM

    I bet we’ll see all kinds of B.S. legal suits from De Smith and that Kessler slime. They live to sue, they love it and get rich from it. They’ll probably try to have every individual player sue next. The more of a mess they make the more they get paid. If they actually negotiated and got a deal done, guys like Kessler would be out of a job. Before this year, Kessler had already made $25 million off the CBA related suits.

  4. armchairgm9 says: May 27, 2011 3:10 PM

    This statement makes me fear that the game of football that we know may change drastically after this is all over with. Why mess with a good thing?

  5. bobwhitequail says: May 27, 2011 3:12 PM

    “Kessler also has a wild conflict of interest, according to Pro Football Talk. If there is a work stoppage, Kessler’s law firm could handle the litigation that would arise from the decertification process, which would make him the de facto head of the NFLPA, PFT theorizes. And if that’s the case, Kessler and his firm would make millions upon millions of dollars. But without a work stoppage, Kessler wouldn’t generate as much revenue, and he’ll lose his time in the spotlight.”

  6. 2011to2020lions says: May 27, 2011 3:16 PM

    Bla Bla Bla Fire Smith, negotiate a new deal and lets play football. Enough with all this bull crap!!!!

  7. harmcityhomer says: May 27, 2011 3:18 PM

    I see no advantage for the players in forming a union. They are likely to make more money under a free market system.

    Having a CBA is a privalege, not a right. The NFL wants one, it does not need one.

    I would like to read the arguments (with details and some form of proof that does not include MLB references) that the NFL would be less interesting without a CBA.

    Also Smith does not have to worry about players crossing a pickett line because there is not one. This is a lockout, not a strike. When the NFl opens up for buisiness, all the players will come back not just some of them.

  8. eaglesfan290 says: May 27, 2011 3:18 PM

    Then again considering DeSmith has a pending case against the NFLPA* filled by the NFL to the NLRB is anyone shocked he said this?

    DeSmith has to in public make it appear that the decertification wasn’t all about a litigation strategy, the fact is the Union has not disolved it’s assets, closed down it’s offices, disbanded it’s represenatives for each team , written checks to all 1800 due paying active players and closed it’s bank accounts.

    HMMMMM I wonder why?

  9. dccowboy says: May 27, 2011 3:18 PM

    Isn’t the only way the NFLPA* gets leverage is if the NFL BELIEVES that Smith doesn’t want a union?

    Seems to me that the last paragraph of your piece says teh NFL doesn’t take Smith seriously, thus he gains no leverage and, it makes his attempt pretty lame. It’s a poorly executed bluff.

  10. willycents says: May 27, 2011 3:19 PM

    the current players “nuclear” option was “disclaimer of interest.”
    The future players “nuclear” option is lawsuits.

    The owners “nuclear” option is to disband the NFL and re-form as a single business, thence avoiding anti trust action.

    or

    Convert the NFL, inc (similar to USOC or NCAA) to a simple sanctioning authority with the ability to only regulate sanctioned events with whatever rules they decide are applicable, perhaps:

    limits on total salary outlays on game day rosters??
    No NFL insurance for players?
    draconian sanctions/procedures for drug testing/failures?
    scheduling 40 game seasons, with teams having the option whether to play or not?

    The end result of the players litigation strategy could really blow up in their faces, making working conditions ten times worse than they think they have now. How about each team having different workplace rules? Say some of them decide on 52 wk, two a day, full contact drills? That would suck for the players. And don’t think there are not some owners who would do it for the possible competitive advantage they might gain

  11. bobwhitequail says: May 27, 2011 3:19 PM

    I’m sick of all the lawsuits. This is impacting 10′s of thousands of people while those doing the suing (Kessler especially) just get richer and richer. Kessler has a long history of dissolving unions so that he can sue. the more suits and the longer they take the more he makes.

  12. txchief says: May 27, 2011 3:20 PM

    Although it would be a complicated and possibly a prologed process, the NFL really needs to reformulate as a single payor/employer entity so that they can regain control of the game and protect the fans from these labor antics.

  13. smacklayer says: May 27, 2011 3:22 PM

    So let me re-phrase your whole article -

    The decertification was a sham ploy to get leverage and the NFLPA has every intention of reforming once a CBA is worked out and they are just biding their time to see if the this tactic will produce any appreciative leverage.

  14. gorams55 says: May 27, 2011 3:25 PM

    i really dont understand why de smith is only focused on the one billion give back, while its true this is probably unprecedented for a sports league to ask for that much money back, why isn’t he saying ill give you that but in return i want player contracts with a higher guaranteed percentage something in the 50-75 percent range and better pensions or total health coverage no deductible health care for retired players. Bottom line if smith wanted he could have given up that one thing and gotten the players so much more in the long run if he wanted to.

  15. blantoncollier says: May 27, 2011 3:28 PM

    I have been saying for months, DeKessler’s goal is to destroy pro football as we know it.

    Now its clear what is goals are. If you are marginal player beware because DeKessler’s dream of no union will ruin your already short career. No guaranteed pay. No pension benefits. No Health. No long term disability. No nothing. The players will become haves and have nots.

    Way to screw up a good thing De….

    What a clown…

  16. saints25 says: May 27, 2011 3:32 PM

    NFLPA is going to ruin the NFL.Fans we have to stand-up.Even If they go back to football..Make them play in fron of EMPTY SEATS..they dont need our money,both sides are telling YOU this.

  17. depotnator says: May 27, 2011 3:34 PM

    Now the owner shills have this site practically to themselves. The rest of us see little sense to argue facts with propagandamongers.

  18. realfann says: May 27, 2011 3:34 PM

    This article claims it would be “lunacy” for the players to not want a union.

    Yet the overwhelming majority of working men and women in America do not belong to a union.

    I’m guessing the writers at PFT don’t belong to a union either.

    So we are all “lunatics” ????

    I don’t think so.

  19. willycents says: May 27, 2011 3:35 PM

    Waiting for the players and their paid shills to get on here and defend smith and co.

  20. djstat says: May 27, 2011 3:44 PM

    I’d like to challenge De Smith to a UFC Cage Match so I can beat some sense into him. its a shame that 9% of players do not realize that his strategy will screw them. Sure the Brady’s, the Brees’s etc will get richer, but the guys making league minimum will wind up getting 50% of what the league minimum is now. De Smith: YOU SUCK

  21. cardinalerror says: May 27, 2011 3:48 PM

    Sound plan, except for the fact that the NFL (as in the 32 teams that play in it) has a virtual monopoly on pro football. What’s the alternative , UFL ? Only, it’s really not a monopoly, so you can’t sue them for being the best in the business.

    So the second the players disband the union, the NFL could as well drop all the new player safety rules, the ones that favor the QB and offense in general. You know, the rules most fans and almost all defensive players don’t like. What could the players do then , opt for the UFL or the AFL ? Naw, they’ll stay in the NFL knowing they can get injured, but also that they can get that million $ paycheck.

    Except that now half of them (the subs and scrubs, as someone aptly called them before ) will be playing for less than they make now, without a minimum wage system. And that will still be more than they could make anywhere else.

    Except at OSU, of course :D

  22. stavreafavre says: May 27, 2011 3:49 PM

    It’s really nice that everyone involved is smart. Unfortunately, in just my fiftysix years on this planet, very “smart” people have gotten the country into all sorts of massive clusterf***s, from Vietnam to the Wall Street collapse. This could clearly be another one – all over a very simple game.

  23. bobwhitequail says: May 27, 2011 3:50 PM

    “If you are marginal player beware because DeKessler’s dream of no union will ruin your already short career. No guaranteed pay. No pension benefits. No Health. No long term disability. No nothing. The players will become haves and have nots.”

    I totally agree, and guess who is the agent for the haves? Jeffrey Kessler’s son, who represents 28 former first round picks. This is all about the Kessler family getting richer. I feel sorry for the average player having this guy represent them.

  24. prmpft says: May 27, 2011 3:53 PM

    I usually insert a smart@$$ comment here…but seriously – WHY would that be a threat? I would think it would be ideal…responses?

  25. tombradyswig says: May 27, 2011 3:57 PM

    I think Doo Doo needs to seek a hole to hide in!!

    These frustrated players are gonna be gunning for his head REAL SOON!!!

  26. realfann says: May 27, 2011 3:58 PM

    Let’s examine the reasons for a union as listed in this article:

    1. To preserve the draft. The claim is made that the draft is anti-trust and could not survive legal challenge. The Supreme Court left a pretty broad hint in their Needle judgement that indicates that the draft is not, in fact, a breach of anti-trust.

    2. Minimum player pay. I don’t have minimum pay in my work. Neither does anybody else that posts here. So no, it would not be missed.

    3. Pay, benefits and pensions would be up to each franchise. If they want to attract the best free agents, they will offer competitive packages. Just like in the real world. No union required.

    4. Free agent rules. These are the most effed up thing in the whole CBA. Absolutely none are required. When a players contract is up, he should be free to sign with any team of his chosing. Period. Restricted free agents, franchise designation etc will not be missed. They don’t exist in the real (free) world so there’s no reason to have them in the NFL.

    5. Early entry to the NFL. Anyone can start in any job in America at any age they chose. Why should the NFL be different? This restriction won’t be missed and it certainly won’t “jeopardize” college football. If Maurice Clarrett had been allowed to join the NFL, would college football have crashed to the ground? I don’t think so.

    6. “Scrubs & subs” would not get paid very well. Not sure who the “scrubs” are but substitutes are highly valued in the NFL due to the high risk of starters being injured. So no, the pay of substitutes would not go down. It would go up.

    Conclusion: the players do not benefit that much (if anything) from a union.

    The owners, on the other hand, are desperate for a union. It gives them the means to hide unfair employment practices behind an anti-trust smokescreen.

    It’s 100% guaranteed that the owners will INSIST on the players being unionized as part of any future agreement.

    Which makes it highly amusing that so many owner shills on this board post anti-union hatred.

    Your owners want the union more than the players :-)

  27. NoHomeTeam says: May 27, 2011 4:03 PM

    willycents says: “The owners ‘nuclear’ option is to disband the NFL and re-form as a single business, thence avoiding anti trust action.”

    I’m thinking that would be pretty hard to accomplish, given the disparity in team values (not to mention the egos involved). The unified NFL would have to be divied up into shares, say 160, 256, 320 — something easily divisible by 32 — and then allotted to the current owners by relative value. Jerruh would get 10 because — love him or hate him — the Cowboys are one of the more valuable franchises, while the Bidwills might get 3. But what about the Packers? Strictly speaking, aren’t the shareholders of that team the “owners?”

    On paper, it’s not a bad idea for shielding the League from future Antitrust actions, but making it work might be an insurmountable task.

  28. jimphin says: May 27, 2011 4:06 PM

    I have to completely agree…

    Either DeSmitty is seeking leverage or he is complete lunitic.

  29. patpatriotagain says: May 27, 2011 4:08 PM

    “Smith suggests that he’s committed to a future without a union.”

    translation:
    “players have made a lot of quotes that support the nfl’s sham argument, so i need a few public statements to submit to the court in the next round of litigation”

  30. andrewfbrowne says: May 27, 2011 4:08 PM

    Material for this article collected by Major Buzzkill and posted by Captian Obvious.

    Litigation strategy is being done for leverage. “Well they don’t call him the best color man in the business for nothing…”

    I would have liked to see some form of citation on the Gene Upshaw thoughts about him not wanting a union.

    I also remember Michael Irvin ranting about Gene Upshaw that an offensive lineman did their deal and he wasn’t qualified to do so. I believe Upshaw was not as universally loved as it is made out to be in this article and there is no citation to verify the validity of said statements.

  31. evrybdyhas1 says: May 27, 2011 4:09 PM

    At the end of it all remember the golden rule : them that have the gold rule.

    The owners have the gold and they will in the end do what is needed if this stays in the courts. They will weather missed games better then the players. The players are missing chances to get a deal done.

  32. deadeye says: May 27, 2011 4:12 PM

    What an empty gesture. The players will have a union, otherwise they won’t play, aka they won’t get paid. And if the players need a union to get paid, that means they need a union every bit as much as the owners. What they don’t understand is that they need union leadership willing to sit down and NEGOTIATE, not litigate.

  33. dan39564 says: May 27, 2011 4:13 PM

    One thing appears certain to me; The Players would be a lot better off without De Smith.
    He appears to be an egotist, and has no regard for the players!

  34. tommyf15 says: May 27, 2011 4:16 PM

    mightygiants says:
    May 27, 2011 3:07 PM
    Healthcare would have to be paid for by the players, either to a player formed health consortium or a players would have to look for private insurance.

    Or the individual teams could offer their employees (players) an insurance plan, just as we see in every other profession.

    While Mike and the owners might think a world without a player’s union is unthinkable, the players need to see a CBA offer that has more pluses than the free market.

    Wow.

    Sir, you hit the nail on the head with one brilliant sentence.

    Kudos.

  35. ttebow15 says: May 27, 2011 4:24 PM

    The players picked the wrong leader pain and simple. He ran away from negotiations to gain leverage in the courts, and now as that plan is starting to fail he is resorting to the threat of destroying the game as we know it. If more and more players speak up and put pressure to resolve this through negotiations starting in mid-June after De Smith receives his first major loss in court, then there is hope of football in July. If De Smith digs in deeper as he begins to see leverage slipping away we are in big trouble. And what is sad is the pot they are so desperately fighting to divide is now shrinking at a faster and faster pace. Looks like 8 weekends of my fall are now free and won’t be spent in my seat at Invesco…

  36. commandercornpone says: May 27, 2011 4:29 PM

    smack should have flawrieaux’s job.

    and collier, that was a totally unwarranted slam against well meaning clowns everywhere.

    duh smith is no where and in no way up to, or will he ever be up to, the standards of a clown.

  37. ffootballontwitter says: May 27, 2011 5:20 PM

    Follow the money, follow the power.

    The NFL already provides a healthcare program superior to any available in the free market, even if DeSmith refuses to acknowledge its existence as well the amount of money the NFL puts in every year.

    Instead, DeSmith promotes a vision of healthcare pools, similar to the Healthcare Purchasing Pool Act, knowing full well that a player-formed consortium would become an instant monopoly with huge advantages over smaller pools, as those in the health care benefits industry understand.

    As an association, DeSmith would be managing a much larger pool of money than he would if he were managing a union. The money would be coming from benefit administration, and as we’ve seen elsewhere, healthcare costs alone can rise to encompass more than 50% of all operating costs. This pool of money could be wielded far more effectively to further NFLPA objectives than puny union dues.

  38. notoriousjebus says: May 27, 2011 5:25 PM

    I don’t know how much some of the owners want a union, and that could be one of the factors on why a deal isn’t getting done.

    How do you think Dan Snyder, Jerry Jones, and the owners of other popular and financially strong franchises feel about a salary cap? You don’t think they would jump at the chance to spend two or three times the amount of the Kansas Chiefs if it gave them a better shot at making it to the Super Bowl every year?

    They could tear up their revenue sharing agreement, and wouldn’t have to subsidize owners, like Mike Brown, who are incapable of running a franchise in a profitable manner.

  39. rajbais says: May 27, 2011 5:54 PM

    Maybe he should find a new job with a “threat of no union”.

    Hell, the players and De should “mutually part ways” and just replace him with David Cornwell!!!!

    At least Cornwell has worked with players and the NFL (Roger Goodell included) and doesn’t talk out of his rear end on NFL Network, ESPN, or PFT Live unlike De!!!

  40. nflfan101 says: May 27, 2011 6:00 PM

    By demanding “leverage” before he will negotiate, D. Smith is really saying that he is not good enough at negotiations to make a deal that is fair to both parties. If he had any confidence at all in his abilities, he would have already been negotiating.

    After reading more about his personal legal history and now reading that he has to have “leverage”, it appears to me that he is simply the wrong person in the wrong position and that it is hurting players and football.

  41. willycents says: May 27, 2011 6:32 PM

    @ tommy15

    I am really pissed at myself. I have to agree with your response to mightygiants and to his statement.

    I know the “rapture” or armeggedon is here because I agree with you for once.

    Can I somehow gargle my mind to get that thought out of it?:)

  42. prmpft says: May 27, 2011 6:34 PM

    ok – so I got some thumbs down from (apparently) people unable to describe to my WHY they think what they think – some people just push buttons – that’s one problem with this country – else, WHY is no union not a good idea???

  43. bearskoolaid1985 says: May 27, 2011 6:38 PM

    The players really picked a winner when the selected De Smith to run their union. Between DE Smith and Kessler ( The NFL hating lawyer) they are going to ruin the great game of football.
    They will kill everything we as FAN’s enjoy year round.
    I will say it again the players should be ashamed that they are the blame for this lockout and legal crap instead of negotiating a new deal.

  44. grandsonofcoach says: May 27, 2011 7:01 PM

    This whole article is overthought. If D Smith says the union would reform he basically admits decertification was a sham and hands leverage to the league. I would call him smart for that…just not dumb enough to be tripped up by the question.

  45. realfann says: May 27, 2011 7:54 PM

    And yet again, absolutely no logical arguement from the owner shills as to why the players should reform their union.

    None, nada, zero. A complete vacuum.

    Just a mismash of chicken little nonsense that football will be ruined by not having a players union. Plus the usual totally unmerited abuse of DeMaurice Smith.

    There are thousands and thousands of businesses in this country including the most successful, that do not have unions.

    The most successful sport in the whole planet gets tens times the revenue that the NFL receives, its players are paid more, and GUESS WHAT?

    No unions.

    And their games are 100 times cheaper to watch in person than the Jerry Jones greedfest NFL.

    Yet the owner shills here say the NFL players MUST reform a union.

    Because it makes an easier target for the owners illegal 2 by 4 that they’re using to beat the players into taking less money.

    To the owners, a players union MUST be reformed for them to get a bigger share of revenue.

    The owners LOVE unions.

    The players, not so much.

  46. tommyf15 says: May 27, 2011 8:43 PM

    Here’s what realfann needs to understand about many PFT posters:

    1. They hate unions, as unions are for liberals and commies.

    2. They want the players to have a union.

    3. The 32 owners act as a union, and they like that union.

    4. They don’t like a free market system. That’s also for liberals and commies.

    5. Trying to gain leverage via the courts is morally bad.

    6. Trying to gain leverage via the lockout is TERRIFIC!

    7. They want the owners to bring in replacement players, despite it being illegal for the owners to do so during a lockout.

    It’s a wonderful set of ignorance and contradictions when you think about it.

  47. Brian says: May 27, 2011 9:17 PM

    It would be nice to discover that DeMaurice has a logical bone in his body and in the end, a CBA is negotiated and the game of football can continue.

    Unlike the DeMaurice shills, or shrills, most of us understand that any sports league benefits from some amount of “collusion,” working together with shared rules, coordinated scheduling, coordinated marketing, sharing of revenue, and the like. Especially the sharing of rules which include drug testing, rules of the draft, roster sizes, plus the rules used on the field of play.

    These things are not necessary or good for Wal-Mart and Target and Sears because they are marketing competing products. Each would be perfectly happy to run the others out of business.

    The NFL product is the competition itself between each team. They are selling something that can only be produced together. Some amout of working together thus becomes necessary. Fans get this.

    Ideologues obviously not so much.

  48. dkrause71 says: May 27, 2011 9:26 PM

    5. Early entry to the NFL. Anyone can start in any job in America at any age they chose. Why should the NFL be different? This restriction won’t be missed and it certainly won’t “jeopardize” college football. If Maurice Clarrett had been allowed to join the NFL, would college football have crashed to the ground? I don’t think so.

    —————————————————-
    This isn’t true. For almost jobs you must be 14 years of age. I believe for all factories type jobs you must be 18. All the congress and president have age limits as well. I would imagine plenty of jobs have age minimums.

    Something you really missed in your list is without governing rules. Andrew Luck for example could just sign with a pro team anytime he wants. Its not so much that he can pick where, its that he can also pick when that is the problem. He could bail on Stanford say before the title game and sign with the Cowboys. See how the fans and NCAA like them apples.

  49. vahawker says: May 27, 2011 9:33 PM

    “. Plus the usual totally unmerited abuse of DeMaurice Smith.”

    Unmerited?!?!? Too funny. This whole predicament is DeMoron’s fault. If the players had chosen someone with ties to the players who had an interest in seeing this resolved instead of choosing this sawed off, low life loser, a deal would be done. But DeMoron has no vested interest in getting a deal done, because then he doesn’t get to make a name for himself and advance his own self serving look at me agenda.

    To compare the NFL with other businesses is disingenuous at best.

    The league actually played from 1989 to 1993 without a union or CBA

  50. rogerfromoz says: May 27, 2011 10:09 PM

    this whole process is a sham. we’ve all been bamboozled.

  51. tommyf15 says: May 27, 2011 10:17 PM

    Brian says:
    Unlike the DeMaurice shills, or shrills, most of us understand that any sports league benefits from some amount of “collusion,” working together with shared rules, coordinated scheduling, coordinated marketing, sharing of revenue, and the like. Especially the sharing of rules which include drug testing, rules of the draft, roster sizes, plus the rules used on the field of play.

    Brian, I get it. And you get it.

    It’s the owners that don’t get it. They had an agreement that provided all of those things, and chose to opt out of it.

    My stance througout this is that the owners took all of the things you listed and more for granted, and chose to take a path where they could lose it all.

  52. tommyf15 says: May 27, 2011 10:22 PM

    dkrause71 says:
    Something you really missed in your list is without governing rules. Andrew Luck for example could just sign with a pro team anytime he wants. Its not so much that he can pick where, its that he can also pick when that is the problem. He could bail on Stanford say before the title game and sign with the Cowboys. See how the fans and NCAA like them apples.

    My guess is that the NCAA would require the players to sign something prohibiting them from signing with an NFL team until the completion of the collegiate season to make them eligible.

  53. ArcticEdge says: May 27, 2011 10:48 PM

    favre needs to come back and end this lockout. no way does goodell keep slowing things down if favre has a say.

    SKOAL VIKINGS! 2011 SUPER BOWL CHAMPS!

  54. stanklepoot says: May 27, 2011 10:50 PM

    willycents says: May 27, 2011 3:19 PM

    the current players “nuclear” option was “disclaimer of interest.”
    The future players “nuclear” option is lawsuits.

    The owners “nuclear” option is to disband the NFL and re-form as a single business, thence avoiding anti trust action.

    or

    Convert the NFL, inc (similar to USOC or NCAA) to a simple sanctioning authority with the ability to only regulate sanctioned events with whatever rules they decide are applicable, perhaps:

    limits on total salary outlays on game day rosters??
    No NFL insurance for players?
    draconian sanctions/procedures for drug testing/failures?
    scheduling 40 game seasons, with teams having the option whether to play or not?

    The end result of the players litigation strategy could really blow up in their faces, making working conditions ten times worse than they think they have now. How about each team having different workplace rules? Say some of them decide on 52 wk, two a day, full contact drills? That would suck for the players. And don’t think there are not some owners who would do it for the possible competitive advantage they might gain
    ________________________
    NEVER. GOING. TO. HAPPEN. There is no way that the owners “disband” the NFL, and certainly not to reform as a single business. Why?

    1. The median value of NFL franchises exceeds $1 billion. No businessman is going to simply let an asset like that disappear.

    2. The owners are not the kind of people willing to trade absolute control over their own team for a piece of the league. More than one owner has given up real value for no other reason than to let everyone know that they are in charge. Do you think that these individuals will let themselves be marginalized by becoming nothing more than one voice in 32? Besides, if you thought some owners didn’t trust some others now, wait until all of the power plays for control of the league started…and it wouldn’t take long.

    3. What would prevent third parties from applying for copyright or trademark rights to names and slogans that used to belong to the NFL? Once they disbanded, they’d be up for grabs. Imagine an expansion Canadian Football League team named the N.Y. Giants or the Green Bay Packers.

    4. Speaking of the Packers, they are a publicly owned team. They couldn’t simply disband without the approval of the shareholders. Even if they could, who would represent these shareholders in the new ownership of the NFL?

    5. Even if they succeeded in carrying out the process, they’d simply be transitioning from being 32 teams in collusion to being one monopoly. That doesn’t really leave them any better off, and certainly isn’t worth all of the risk involved in disbanding and reforming.

    6. Disbanding and reforming is not the way to go if you want to avoid lawsuits. The NFL has contracts with networks/cable stations, advertisers, sponsors, suppliers, players, and more groups that don’t come to mind right now. Each of these groups could sue for breach of contract, or use the disbanding as an opportunity to get out from under a contract they don’t like. The fact that the league would be reforming immediately could easily be viewed as a poorly disguised effort to defraud those they had contracts with. Oh, yeah, and then there are all those stadiums built in part with government money. If the NFL disbanded, those state governments could make a move to seize them.

    For these, and so many other reasons, this is simply an absurd idea. You can fantasize about storming off the field and threatening to take your ball with you all you want, but billionaires don’t become (and certainly don’t remain) billionaires by destroying their own billion dollar assets.

  55. willycents says: May 27, 2011 10:59 PM

    @ tommy15
    Why is it that the majority of pro-player/player posters cannot have an intelligent discussion/rebuttal of the pro owner points without denigrating themselves into name calling and insults? Is it because they are less certain of their beliefs, or, are they inherently less intelligent and capable of defending of explaining their viewpoint.
    The majority of pro owner posters seem to display a rudimentary understanding of the stances each side have taken.
    The pro player posters seem only capable, when challenged by an idea from the pro player posters, to feel forced to resort to name calling and political statements.
    Neither name calling nor political rhetoric has a place on a football board. If you are not capable of constructively commenting on the subject at hand, and show some semblance of respect for the others posting here, then there is a board somewhere for 12 year old girls that enjoy name calling and trading insults. Just go there and have fun with it.

    If you can intelligently and logically present and refute points, without resulting to denigrating behavior and statements, please feel free to do that. Most people posting here have that ability, if given the chance.

    thank you

    SHL

  56. stanklepoot says: May 27, 2011 11:04 PM

    smacklayer says: May 27, 2011 3:22 PM

    So let me re-phrase your whole article -

    The decertification was a sham ploy to get leverage and the NFLPA has every intention of reforming once a CBA is worked out and they are just biding their time to see if the this tactic will produce any appreciative leverage.
    _________________________
    Except this article misses some key points from Silver’s original article. The first being that Upshaw did not want to reform the union. The owners wanted the union reformed, and refused to finalize a deal without the players agreeing to do so. Even then, Upshaw initially refused because he fear an erosion of the players’ rights under anti-trust laws. It was only after the owners agreed to add language agreeing to give up any right to fight a future decertification if the players deemed it necessary that Upshaw and the players finally agreed to reform the union. But, as Smith pointed out in the interview, here we are with the owners trying to find a loophole based on the timing of the decertification (an issue of hours literally) and filing a complaint with the NLRB making that very claim. As Smith went on to say in the interview, given these facts, why should the players feel safe walking away from those anti-trust protections again? Silver’s article brings up a number of obstacles that could prevent a new effective CBA from being reached without an agreement to reform the union, but the tone of the article does not leave the impression that this is simply a sham on the part of the players or Smith. It seems more like they’d prefer to not be a union, but possible future legal issues (such as challenges to the draft by future prospects) might force an agreement like we saw in 1993.

  57. mikel12q12q says: May 28, 2011 12:07 AM

    32 TEAMS 32 UNIONS????

  58. tommyf15 says: May 28, 2011 12:14 AM

    willycents says:
    @ tommy15
    Why is it that the majority of pro-player/player posters cannot have an intelligent discussion/rebuttal of the pro owner points without denigrating themselves into name calling and insults?

    Right.

    Is it because they are less certain of their beliefs, or, are they inherently less intelligent and capable of defending of explaining their viewpoint.

    Glad you’re above insulting those that disagree with you.

  59. vahawker says: May 28, 2011 12:21 AM

    tommyf15:
    Brian, I get it. And you get it.

    It’s the owners that don’t get it. They had an agreement that provided all of those things, and chose to opt out of it.
    *****************************************

    You realize all those things didn’t exist in a vacuum, right?

  60. aigraiders says: May 28, 2011 3:01 AM

    @Stanklepoot, Tommy15, and Realfann,

    Much props to you three. You guys get it. Unfortunately the majority of the posters defending the owners have no clue what the issue is about.

    1. Who is striking right now? It’s the effin owners, who negotiated a TV deal to be paid regardless of any stoppage.

    2. The owners want to pocket the rookie salary, ask the players to work 2 extra games and take less money. How can anyone accept to take a paycut when their employer is making record profits? Would any of us do it right now with our employer?

    3. De-Union is not a ploy. It is actually a good route to go for the players and they tried to go there in 1993. I fully expect them to go this route if the judge rules against them.

    4. Good luck trying to get Al Davis to share his company control with the other owners of the league. Aint ever going to happen.

  61. dfinpds says: May 28, 2011 3:34 AM

    This whole legal process is complete and utter garbage..sue…sue…sue….leverage…leverage….leverage………….the rich get richer and us average joes pay all the penalties and the bills……….no one in this process gives a crap about the fans unless the PR guys tell them to say they care……screw ‘em all and I think I’ll just skip the whole season……….greedy asshats!!!!!!

  62. tmaczoozoo says: May 28, 2011 3:37 AM

    I don’t care if there isn’t any NFL anymore.

    Pro-pwner shills got dis sheeezit marked.

    Good Times.

    Have fun paying off that bajilllion dollar stadium Jerry.

  63. realfann says: May 28, 2011 4:50 AM

    Brian,
    why do you think a player union is required for the kind of fruitful collusion that you describe?

    The Supreme Court pointed out such collusion is by not an anti-trust issue just because of the fact of collusion itself.

    As I’ve pointed out before, many competing companies cooperate (collude) on a whole host of things without any thought that anti-trust laws are being broken.

    For example, if Microsoft hadn’t worked with IBM (two implacable enemies) on a set of rules for computers & software to work together, this blog would not exist.

    The folks that want a players union the most are Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, Richardson, Mara, Blank and the rest of the bandit NFL owners.

    If they want a union so much they should start one and see how many players join.

  64. eagleswin says: May 28, 2011 8:53 AM

    stanklepoot says:
    May 27, 2011 11:04 PM

    Except this article misses some key points from Silver’s original article. The first being that Upshaw did not want to reform the union. The owners wanted the union reformed, and refused to finalize a deal without the players agreeing to do so. Even then, Upshaw initially refused because he fear an erosion of the players’ rights under anti-trust laws. It was only after the owners agreed to add language agreeing to give up any right to fight a future decertification if the players deemed it necessary that Upshaw and the players finally agreed to reform the union. But, as Smith pointed out in the interview, here we are with the owners trying to find a loophole based on the timing of the decertification (an issue of hours literally) and filing a complaint with the NLRB making that very claim. As Smith went on to say in the interview, given these facts, why should the players feel safe walking away from those anti-trust protections again? Silver’s article brings up a number of obstacles that could prevent a new effective CBA from being reached without an agreement to reform the union, but the tone of the article does not leave the impression that this is simply a sham on the part of the players or Smith. It seems more like they’d prefer to not be a union, but possible future legal issues (such as challenges to the draft by future prospects) might force an agreement like we saw in 1993.
    ————————————–
    I disagree. The players can decertify 6 months after the expiration of the CBA with no challenge from the owners. Period. That’s the language. It’s not the owners trying to find a loophole, it’s Smith. The nuclear decert option was supposed to be available after failed negotiation, not instead of negotiation which is what D. Smith is trying to do.

    Smith knows he’s going to have to have to compromise without more leverage and he is incapable of admiting it. If he wants to decertify, he just needs to do it as specified in the CBA, 6 months after the expiration.

    No player should be scared of losing the right to decertify because they are the ones not following the rules, not the owners.

  65. oldbyrd says: May 28, 2011 9:00 AM

    No Unions. What have I been saying for weeks now? My only complaint is…Health Insurance has to be included for the players. Industry has one form or another. Let’s be fair. The rest has to be run like a business. By the way, Gene Upshaw was a gentleman. A real person. Dufus big mouth Smith shouldn’;t be mentioned in the same breathe.

  66. Brian says: May 28, 2011 3:52 PM

    realfann…. as has been stated in these articles, a CBA negotiated with a union would give the NFL an anti-trust exemption on these very rules.

    Obviously, without a union, the players are free to sue and attack these rules as they are currently doing at this moment.

    Sure the Supreme Court has allowed limited collusion, and might even allow the NFL to collude with a draft, league rules, drug testing, scheduling, marketing, etc…

    But instead of taking the legal challenge all the way to the Supreme Court sometime next year to hash out every one of these details, I’d rather the players and owners negotiate a new CBA and play some ball.

    So in this case, a Player’s Union could not only provide a quick return to stability and maintain a competitive system for NFL football to operate in, but a Player’s Union is also a nice check on some of the rules and efforts by the owners. After all, when attempting to negotiate with the players, the owners caved on an 18-game season, made concessions on appeals of suspensions, and a few other things that were welcome.

    Making major structural changes in a product that has grown into a 9 billion dollar industry, and outpaced any other professional league, is simply unwise. As they say, if it ain’t broke…don’t break it.

  67. zxcvbnmjhgfdsa says: May 29, 2011 11:04 AM

    PFT,

    Should have sent this already, but didn’t think of it. No more posts/comments, incl. alias.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!