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Arlen Specter calls for Congressional involvement in lockout

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For months, one of the pre-asterisked NFLPA’s strategies for gaining leverage against a lockout came from generating political pressure.  By lobbying Congress to squeeze the NFL via threats to its sacred broadcast antitrust exemption, the league in theory may have become less inclined to squeeze the players.

The tactic has not been effective, due in large part to gains made by the Republicans during the mid-term elections.  Now, a former senator has argued that it’s time for Congress to get involved.

Arlen Specter, a long-time Republican who switched to the Democratic party in 2009 and lost his bid for re-election at the primary level in 2010, writes in an op-ed for the New York Times that Congress should force a resolution of the labor dispute.  Specifically, Specter believes Congress should hinge the antitrust exemption upon the parties’ agreement to binding arbitration based on each side’s last, best offer.  Under this approach, a third party would weigh the respective final offers, and choose one or the other.

The last 11 words from Specter, whose last involvement with the NFL involved extensive criticism of the league and the Patriots for the Spygate scandal, make the most sense; Specter concludes by pointing out that “even the mere threat of such legislation might induce a settlement.”  But with all signs currently pointing to the strong possibility of a settlement, it’s still too early for Congress to become involved.

If/when the current talks disintegrate, it may be time for Specter’s suggestion to gain some steam.

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61 Responses to “Arlen Specter calls for Congressional involvement in lockout”
  1. whatsafairway says: Jun 17, 2011 10:48 PM

    Specter, crawl back under your useless rock where you belong.

  2. mayfieldroadboy says: Jun 17, 2011 11:00 PM

    Isn’t it time this old has-been of a windbag just takes a hike. And who can trust anything this Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat has to say; he is an embarrassment to any political persuasion. Old political hacks never die…they even refuse to fade away. And really, what is the difference between Arlen Specter the Sphincter and Jimmy Carter the Clown?

  3. dbellina says: Jun 17, 2011 11:08 PM

    What ever happened to Obama getting involved?

  4. tradeassociation says: Jun 17, 2011 11:09 PM


    I am absolutely no fan of Specter. (Largely because I am a social conservative, and Specter was on the other side, and did a lot of damage to social conservatism on the Judiciary Committee.) But this makes 100% total sense.

    “Specifically, Specter believes Congress should hinge the antitrust exemption upon the parties’ agreement to binding arbitration based on each side’s last, best offer. Under this approach, a third party would weigh the respective final offers, and choose one or the other.”

    What on earth is wrong with that? Having anti-trust exemption is a privilege, not a right. Remember: in allowing the owners to have the anti-trust exemption, the players give up a lot of rights. This means that the anti-trust exemption must be a mutual benefit to both parties … that neither side is able to use the anti-trust exemption to take advantage of the other. The owners, for instance, cannot exploit the fact that if they lock the players out, the players won’t be able to seek similar employment elsewhere. In that instance, the players would benefit from a rival football league that would pay them as much as the NFL does, and the only reason why such a league does not exist IS the anti-trust exemption.

    If the owners don’t want to abide by that then fine: let them lose their exemption and turn the game into an actual free market, which includes real competition from rival football leagues. You folks that CLAIM to be pro-business free market capitalists OUGHT to support that option, instead of a socialist monopoly protected by government regulations (the anti-trust exemption). The fact that you don’t shows that you are not so much pro-capitalist and pro-market as you are pro-businessman and anti-worker.

  5. Deb says: Jun 17, 2011 11:09 PM

    Oh please, please, please let this thing end so we don’t have anymore articles that open the door to fools blah-blah-blahing about their political views. Heaven knows we’re going to be in for nonstop politics on every other venue soon enough.

  6. mrplow3 says: Jun 17, 2011 11:13 PM

    Oh shut up Arlen Spector, just shut your face.

    One thing that both us republicans and democrats can both agree on, Arlen Spector sucks.

  7. dwatkins69 says: Jun 17, 2011 11:13 PM

    Specter is the one who defended Ira Einhorn. What a Scumbag. Specter you should be rotting in prison with him

  8. ravensfan4life52 says: Jun 17, 2011 11:14 PM

    that is a terrible idea. if you force both sides into an agreement that one of them doesn’t like then in a couple of years we will be faced with another lockout or a strike. let them talk this out and get something done on their own. that’s the only way that a long term deal will come out of this. and i see the days without an arrest have dropped back down to zero. what did you do now kenny britt? lol

  9. tradeassociation says: Jun 17, 2011 11:15 PM


    Again, ignore Specter the personality (which I also loathe) and consider the merits of his ideas. The NFL has no unconditional right to an anti-trust exemption. The players have to forfeit their rights under labor laws in order to agree to the NFL’s having this exemption, under the assumption that the owners will respond to their giving up their labor law rights by treating them fairly. (Yes, the anti-trust exemption which only exists because the players agree to it is yet another example of why the players are in a sense “partners” and not merely employees.) If the NFL takes advantage of the benefit of the anti-trust exemption, which prevents the formation of a rival league that could offer similar pay to the players, then why should the NFLPA be forced to agree to it?

    If the owners aren’t willing to live up to the requirements of an anti-trust exemption, then they shouldn’t have it. Take it away from them and see if they can do better in a REAL free market. Most of the owners wouldn’t survive three years in a real free market, and everyone knows it: the courts, Congress and especially the NFLPA.

    The owners can’t have their cake and eat it too. They can either have the anti-trust exemption at the expense of a very generous CBA with their “business partners”, or they can surrender their anti-trust exemption, have the players go back to being mere employees, but have to compete with another viable football league for those employees.

  10. footballisfun says: Jun 17, 2011 11:20 PM

    Hey, he was able to white-wash Kennedy’s death with the Warren Commission and the magic bullet.

    Maybe he can pull a magic rabbit out of his hat and solve this one, too.

    You never know…

  11. alewatcher says: Jun 17, 2011 11:20 PM

    And you thought having lawyers in the room was bad…

  12. firemarshal1 says: Jun 17, 2011 11:21 PM

    Wow! Maybe the United States Government may help the worker. Not the wealthy greedy NFL owners who hold cities and local governments hostage if they don’t fund their new stadiums with taxpayer funds.

  13. sh4doww4lker says: Jun 17, 2011 11:24 PM

    Arlen Specters’ plan make sense? or does it

    The first two messages have been designed to benefit someone, and that someone may not be you!………

    “NFL” hacks or propaganda designers do it on the forums… Their purpose is to persuade us to believe in something or to do something that we would not normally believe or do.

    Like not want to remove the anti trust exemption.

  14. david7590 says: Jun 17, 2011 11:24 PM

    Boy am I glad the people of PA dumped this joke.

  15. lbijake says: Jun 17, 2011 11:26 PM

    Hey Arlen, put a lid on it. You are not in office anymore so people are not required to pretend that you are interesting or important.

  16. bpjensen says: Jun 17, 2011 11:26 PM

    Yeah, because Congress moves lightning quick.

  17. willycents says: Jun 17, 2011 11:29 PM

    Well. if congress gets involved, we can kiss this season goodbye, and probably several more. Then, it will cost ten times as much to go to a game due to the taxes imposed, the TSA will grope everyone going in, and there will be enough rule changes and explanations that the rule book will look like the IRS code. Please God, don’t let congress get involved and try to “help.”

  18. scampbell1975 says: Jun 17, 2011 11:30 PM

    Just a has been-nobody trying to remain relevant.

  19. tatum064 says: Jun 17, 2011 11:31 PM

    “And really, what is the difference between Arlen Specter the Sphincter and Jimmy Carter the Clown?”

    One developed the “magic bullet” theory on the JFK assassination, the other brought peace to the middle east with Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin

    Learn a little bit about history during the lockout…especially if you comment here.

  20. nuclearwarfare says: Jun 17, 2011 11:32 PM

    Any moment now, someone is going to comment something along the lines of “Congress, stay AWAY from the NFL and do something useful, like RUNNING OUR COUNTRY.”

  21. xliontamer says: Jun 17, 2011 11:38 PM

    I’m sure during the framing of the Constitution there was much debate over how much of it should be devoted to governments role in making sure the football season starts on time…

  22. xxwhodatxx says: Jun 17, 2011 11:41 PM


  23. lostsok says: Jun 17, 2011 11:51 PM

    “And really, what is the difference between Arlen Specter the Sphincter and Jimmy Carter the Clown?”

    And we have it! The most puerile, juvenile, inarticulate sentence ever posted on the comment board at PFT!

    CONGRATULATIONS mayfieldroadboy!

    A copy of Atlas Shrugged For Dummies is in the mail.

  24. cw3214 says: Jun 17, 2011 11:52 PM

    I don’t know, Arlen Specter did some pretty good work on the Kennedy assassination…

  25. seabreezes51 says: Jun 18, 2011 12:01 AM

    Democrat or Republican, that doesn’t matter. Don’t muddy up the waters now.

  26. firstroyal says: Jun 18, 2011 12:01 AM

    Time to settlement-

    face to face negotiations in good faith
    3 weeks

    Via courts-
    4 months

    Via congress-
    28 months

    good grief

  27. cmr123 says: Jun 18, 2011 12:14 AM

    He is right, the government gets it right everytime, the first time and never misses the point on anything so i am sure they could get this right and not mess anything up and as everybody knows this is much more important than the Federal Budget, wars, etc.

  28. cardmagnet says: Jun 18, 2011 12:25 AM

    Ugh, Specter. What an embarrassment to my state of Pennsylvania.

  29. wigwam101 says: Jun 18, 2011 12:49 AM

    Arlen Specter makes Anthony Weiner look like a winner.

  30. hobartbaker says: Jun 18, 2011 12:52 AM

    Now that Arlen no longer has a job, he wants to be able to kick back and watch football as much as possible.

  31. jeff061 says: Jun 18, 2011 12:55 AM

    Like our idiot politicians don’t have enough to do after screwing up the economy.

  32. mikewhorio says: Jun 18, 2011 1:06 AM

    Just what we need…more government meddling.

  33. descendency says: Jun 18, 2011 1:13 AM

    Please, no. Please??? Just do what congress does normally – nothing.

  34. depotnator says: Jun 18, 2011 1:15 AM

    When we read the political comments on this site, it’s no wonder most of these ppl are couch potatoes whose only real skill is operating a remote. I shudder to think how long it took to them to learn that.

  35. fonetiklee says: Jun 18, 2011 1:17 AM

    Ah christ, incoming political debate. THAT’S A BAD PFT! BAD! NO TV FOR A MONTH!

  36. lovesportsandsurfing says: Jun 18, 2011 1:22 AM

    Spector, lied to the people who voted you in office, you became a turncoat,..then you were told by Americans to just go away,..but you wont because you are an old, mentally ill man that is completely lost…you are beyond an embarrassment.

  37. mayfieldroadboy says: Jun 18, 2011 1:32 AM

    “And really, what is the difference between Arlen Specter the Sphincter and Jimmy Carter the Clown?”
    One developed the “magic bullet” theory on the JFK assassination, the other brought peace to the middle east with Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin
    And the “magic bullet” theory is still being debated by minds more intelligent than yours or mine, and there is still no peace in the Middle East.

    And Specter is still an ass and Carter is still a bumbling fool.

  38. ravensfan4life52 says: Jun 18, 2011 1:34 AM


    What would you rather have?

    1.)The POSSIBILITY of one short season while letting the two sides negotiate things out to find a long term deal that’s good for everyone.


    2.)Let the players leave and create their own league which would result in ripping the NFL apart and destroying decades of customs and traditions just so we can say it’s pure capitalism.

    While option number 2 would be pure capitalism I’m still going to choose option number 1 every single time. Maybe that’s just me.

  39. SpartaChris says: Jun 18, 2011 2:38 AM

    Dear Arlen-

    Congress should be focused on fixing the economy and finding jobs for the millions who have lost theirs, not on settling a labor dispute between millionaires and billionaires.



  40. hedleykow says: Jun 18, 2011 3:02 AM

    Deb says:
    Jun 17, 2011 11:09 PM
    Oh please, please, please let this thing end so we don’t have anymore articles that open the door to fools blah-blah-blahing about their political views. Heaven knows we’re going to be in for nonstop politics on every other venue soon enough.

    At what point of the NFL lockout did you quit paying attention, Deb? There is not a single aspect of the lock out, or its eventual resolution, that isn’t directly tied to the influence of politics. Unfortunately.

  41. evrybdyhas1 says: Jun 18, 2011 5:51 AM

    Yeah get congress involved right after they win the war on terrorism, solve the economic crisis, balance the budget, reduce our deficit so we don’t default on the national debt.

    Or maybe not.

  42. freebird2011 says: Jun 18, 2011 6:34 AM

    Why shouldn’t Congress get involved? It’s called the separation of powers doctrine.

    The legislative branch should stick to passing laws and let the judicial branch do it’s job. Indeed, there’s case already pending in federal court.

  43. bray72 says: Jun 18, 2011 6:46 AM


    You call yourself a social conservative. Really?What business has Government meddling in a ligitimate business dispute that has absolutely NO impact on society as a whole.

    All parties have alternatives to their business. The players have several other leagues to work in – maybe not as good, but they DO have work.

    Please remember Mr. social conservative that the Gov’t seems to screw up every thing they run. The NFL is doing very nicely without Gov’t “HELP” thank you.

  44. 1historian says: Jun 18, 2011 7:44 AM

    We must keep in mind that ALL major league drafts are illegal in that they don’t allow the players to play where they want to play. Pro sports has a special exemption that allows them to do what they do, but it IS illegal.

    We should also keep in mind that ALL professional athletes are entertainers – what they do is entertaining and fun to watch of a Sunday afternoon but that’s it. I was happy to see the Bruins and the Mavs take it this year, especially on the homecourts of the bad guys but the day after their triumph my life did not improve due to their triumph.

    So now I guess it’s time to get some comments on this situation from the recently deposed congressman from New York.

    Congressman Weiner – could this situation get any sillier?

  45. Patriot42 says: Jun 18, 2011 8:07 AM

    Not having football is not like losing the railroads where their stoppage could do harm to our country. We may enjoy watching but it is still a game. If the owners and players manage to destroy the NFL the game will pop up with another name but there will be pro football in some fashion. Spector is an idiot.

  46. bluvayner says: Jun 18, 2011 8:18 AM

    Is he still alive???

  47. blackdb says: Jun 18, 2011 8:52 AM

    I would rather congress focus on lowering gas prices, the economy, the war we are currently involved with.

  48. kingjoe1 says: Jun 18, 2011 9:08 AM

    @1historian – Drafts are not illegal. They would be illegal if not for anti-trust laws which allow them via collective bargaining. So they are NOT illegal.

    Now that isn’t to say that in the future selfish college or non-college athlete won’t challenge this in court it is the American way.

  49. deadmanwalking47 says: Jun 18, 2011 9:35 AM

    just the king of the magic bullett theory aching for more headlines.

  50. Derty Ernie says: Jun 18, 2011 10:28 AM

    Spector is another one of those career politicians who just can’t stop beleiving he should be in office and in CONTROL.

    He quit on his party and changed ships thinking he could win as a democrat and the joke was on him.

    Govt needs to flat stay out of this mess and let the parties work it out. Once govt is involved football as we knew it is lost as the players take over and suck the owners and fans dry.

  51. backindasaddle says: Jun 18, 2011 10:32 AM

    Oh yeah….let’s fix it with government involvement. That gives me a great feeling of warmth and confidence.

    Arlen Spector is a poster boy for what is wrong in our government. He became an incumbent fixture, lost his perspective of why he was there and then when the constituency finally figured out it was time for a change he flipped parties like a prostitute laying down to welcome the next trick. It’s good for our Nation that he is no longer in Congress. Now all we need to do is replace about 90% of the rest of them.

    I have no respect for Arlen Spector and wish he would just shut up.

  52. Little Earthquake says: Jun 18, 2011 10:35 AM

    Nice to see Congress helping somebody with employment…

  53. voyager6 says: Jun 18, 2011 11:15 AM

    The only people who could threaten the NFL owners and players into coming into an agreement is La$ Vega$. I am sure the people in Vegas, losing $$$$ on gambling on the games that may not take place will remind the relevant parties how much is being lost outside the NFL…… in a nice, ‘friendly’ way.

  54. jimmysee says: Jun 18, 2011 11:16 AM

    Really — all the misfit dimwits around here — do you really want to toss aside a realistic road to a settlement because you’d prefer to make an uninformed sarcastic defamatory remark about a retired senator with strong beltway connections trying to get this thing resolved?

    I guess “just get it done” does not apply when there are cheap shots to be taken.

  55. geo1113 says: Jun 18, 2011 11:21 AM


    Do you actually understand what the anti-trust exemption is? It is simply that the league can negotiate broadcasting contracts as a group and share the money. That’s it It doesn’t prevent a rival league from forming. The players do not have to forfeit any rights. If you are going to analysis at least have the basic facts correct otherwise your analysis means nothing. Your analysis means nothing.

  56. bleedgreen says: Jun 18, 2011 11:33 AM

    I don’t see the problem with forced 3rd party arbitration if theres no deal by the middle of July. Theres FAR too much tax money, jobs and national pride at stake to let the two sides keep making quips at each other. How many people are put to work in the 16 stadiums every weekend during the season? How many people run the teams? Theres 10K+ jobs at risk and the government SHOULD be worried about losing those.

  57. Deb says: Jun 18, 2011 12:02 PM

    @hedleykow …

    I’m still paying attention 🙂 But when the writers mention a divisive political figure like Specter–even in an appropriate context–it just gives blithering fools a reason to pound on the rest of us about their partisanship. Afraid I’m too cynical to think they could keep their gnatlike focus on football.

  58. southmo says: Jun 18, 2011 2:05 PM

    I’m pretty sure the apocalypse must be near because I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with Deb! lol

    Oh, and let me take this opportunity to welcome back all the Kesseler fans who were commenting quite regularly at one time, arguing for scrapping the NFL as we’ve known it by outlawing any “league” cooperative type actions.

    I hope all of you, and Arlin Specter, aren’t too disappointed when the NFL and the NFLPA reach a new agreement and the draft continues to exist.

  59. commandercornpone says: Jun 18, 2011 3:47 PM

    specter came up with the ludicrous magic bullet theory.

    any sentient person should be able to divine that that theory was utter bs.

    most of u got a clue of that, i am sure, by watching the “magic loogie” episode of seinfeld.

    so, all specter seeks is power. he has already long overstayed his “15 minutes”.

    get lost, arlen.

  60. firemarshal1 says: Jun 18, 2011 4:07 PM

    Let’s make the NFL greedy Owners become accountable to the US taxpayers, we the fans and the local communities fund all NFL stadiums through local and state taxes and bonds. example: Vikings new stadium

  61. nodecafplz1 says: Jun 19, 2011 6:43 PM

    Social conservative? So you don’t want to decriminalize weed and you want government noses in people’s bedrooms?

    Pal, you’re part of the problem.

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