While taking an initial look at the collusion lawsuit filed this week by the NFLPA against the NFL, two paragraphs in the 20-page document caught my eye.
In paragraph 22 and paragraph 25(b), a PFT report is cited. At paragraph 22, the collusion suit cites our March 12 article, in which we reported that the NFL warned teams “at least six times” against dumping salary in the uncapped year of 2010. At paragraph 25(b), the collusion suit quotes the same article for the proposition that the league threatened “serious consequences.” (The collusion suit incorrectly characterizes our report as claiming that there would be “‘serious consequences’ for any Club that violated [the $123 million] secret salary cap.” Our report merely states that serious consequences were threatened as to any team that used the uncapped year as an occasion to dump salaries.)
Assuming that the collusion suit survives the league’s inevitable argument that all legal claims, known or unknown, were released as of August 4, 2011, the NFLPA likely will want me to disclose my source. Without the source’s consent, I simply can’t do it. And so, if I’m subpoenaed to testify and if I’m asked to identify the source and when I decline to identify the source, things could get interesting.
Fortunately, things likely won’t get too interesting. Last year, West Virginia joined a 40-state majority that has passed shield laws protecting reporters from disclosing confidential sources. Without getting into the nuances, the law looks to be more than broad enough to prevent me from having to post PFT updates from the wrong side of an assortment of steel bars.
Obviously, if I’m subpoenaed, I’ll show up and testify. And I’ll tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in response to every question asked. And I’ll show nothing but respect for the process and everyone involved in it; even though I no longer practice law, I still consider myself to be an officer of the court.
But I won’t disclose my source.
Apparently, I also won’t go to jail.