So now that quarterback Tony Romo has retired from the Cowboys and taken a job with one of the NFL’s primary broadcast partners, what happens with Romo’s lawsuit against the NFL?
While he hasn’t sued the NFL directly, his National Fantasy Football Convention has. Twice.
The first case, arising from the league allegedly strong-arming players into not attending an event to be held on casino-owned property in Las Vegas, largely if not completely failed. The second case, arising from the league allegedly strong-arming sponsors like Electronic Arts from backing an event to be held in Las Vegas, is scheduled for a November trial.
The NFL traditionally has had a unique relationship with its broadcast partners. While on the surface the network that televises games are customers, the product is sufficiently scarce to allow the NFL to: (1) take billions from their customers; and (2) still have the ability to tell them what to do in certain circumstances.
The most glaring example came when former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue squeezed ESPN into ditching the scripted show Playmakers, which was regarded as depicting pro football in an unfair and inaccurate manner. (Tagliabue was right; as the past 15 years have taught us it was far too tame.)
No company, no matter how big or small, likes to be sued. And as Romo walks through the door as one of the primary voices telling NFL fans about NFL games, he carries in his business portfolio a lawsuit against the NFL.
Don’t be surprised if that lawsuit isn’t around much longer.