NFL locks out players after union decertifies

posted at 2:00 pm on March 12, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Last night I got an e-mail from Roger Goodell that I picked up after watching Battle: Los Angeles.  I wondered what my old friend the NFL Commissioner wanted to tell me, presumably on the QT.  The message was both personal and shocking:

Dear NFL Fan,

Well, OK, it wasn’t personal at all.  Doesn’t the NFL know how to mail-merge their e-mail messages to personalize a greeting?  What is this, 1998?

When I wrote to you last on behalf of the NFL, we promised you that we would work tirelessly to find a collectively bargained solution to our differences with the players’ union. Subsequent to that letter to you, we agreed that the fastest way to a fair agreement was for everyone to work together through a mediation process. For the last three weeks I have personally attended every session of mediation, which is a process our clubs sincerely believe in.

Unfortunately, I have to tell you that earlier today the players’ union walked away from mediation and collective bargaining and has initiated litigation against the clubs.

I checked this allegation from Dear NFL Commissioner when I got home, and sure enough:

NFL star Tom Brady and several other players filed an antitrust class action against the league Friday in Minnesota, only hours after the NFL Players Association decertified itself amid failed negotiations.

Exercising the so-called nuclear option, the NFLPA renounced its status as the collective bargaining representative of NFL players, a move that allows players to sue the league under antitrust laws.

Within hours, MVP quarterback Brady and several other players sued the league for running an allegedly illegal price-fixing scheme — in the form of the league salary cap — and other purported antitrust violations.

And now the league has rebutted the charges of a price-fixing trust by, er, all agreeing to lock out the employees:

The NFL officially announced a lockout of players by team owners following the move by the players’ union to dissolve themselves and pursue action against the league in the courts, the league said in a statement on Saturday.

A lockout effectively closes down the league’s activities and will halt any trade activities and any other dealings between players and clubs.

It’s well worth noting that the NFLPA didn’t seem to have a problem with price-fixing trusts when they got paid handsomely from the proceeds in the last collective bargaining agreement.  Closed-shop unions that demand minimum salaries with fixed steps can also be described as a “price-fixing trust,” at least in a literal sense.  And it’s also well worth noting that the league has threatened a “nuclear option” of their own for months with a lockout if players didn’t meet their demands for more off-the-top money for facilities and a longer schedule for an already grueling football season.

So now we have billionaires locking out multimillionaires who refuse to play a game that generates fortunes for all involved … and both sides want the courts and the fans to blame the other side for the problem and solve issues that even the people who have the most at stake can’t resolve.  Don’t expect much sympathy from the fans who shell out the money that wealthy athletes and owners want to tear from each others’ bank accounts.  If the NFL fumbles away the 2011 season, fans will simply find other places to spend that money, and more grateful recipients for those entertainment dollars.

And that experience may have some of us wondering why we bothered to support spoiled multimillionaires and billionaires in the first place.


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I can’t imagine they’d allow the entire season to be lost. The NHL never recovered from that…
Doughboy on March 12, 2011 at 2:07 PM

The problem you have here is that you are applying logic.

churchill995 on March 12, 2011 at 5:19 PM

And that experience may have some of us wondering why we bothered to support spoiled multimillionaires and billionaires in the first place.

And for those of us who could care less about an industry that pays people to play games the rest of us used to play for fun — well, we have no wonder at all, having ignored same for years.

unclesmrgol on March 12, 2011 at 5:26 PM

And that experience may have some of us wondering why we bothered to support spoiled multimillionaires and billionaires in the first place.

So you’re really going to distill this down to being spoiled? Look, I don’t understand why a third of the proceeds don’t go to NFL veterans with disabilities.
.
I don’t understand how any player is worth $20 million in one year. I don’t understand a system that in one year bumps a franchise’s revenues by $10 million, but causes their player costs to go up twice that amount (i.e. the GB Packers).
.
I don’t understand why players assert they are now without a union — it’s not like the owners are free to cut deals with a newly formed NFL Lineman’s Association, and similar associations for other positions.
.
And I don’t understand why for decades, NFL justice is meted out by the same peculiar federal judge in Minnesota with no prospects for other points of view.
.
There are 32 owners that can figure out something else to do next year, and there are 2,000 football specialists who will wonder why they just didn’t admit that the generous formulas in the last CBA needed to be walked back for the sake of the game. It’s not like the back-up job players have lined up is going to generate comparable pay.

Mark30339 on March 12, 2011 at 5:29 PM

I love football, but can’t find it in myself to care, really.

Ugly on March 12, 2011 at 5:56 PM

Good riddance to the next bunch of racist millionaires. DLTDHYOTAOTWO…..

frizzbee on March 12, 2011 at 6:23 PM

This is why Hubs & I love college ball. They play for an Axe or a Cup or Horseshoe.

Go Cal Bears!

March Hare on March 12, 2011 at 6:25 PM

This is why Hubs & I love college ball. They play for an Axe or a Cup or Horseshoe.

Go Cal Bears!

March Hare on March 12, 2011 at 6:25 PM

Can’t stand crowds, so I never have & never will attend a NFL or college game… but I love going to High School games (had one son, since graduated, in marching band… and a daughter still in marching band)!

Ugly on March 12, 2011 at 6:39 PM

There are really only a few millionaires per team. The rest are kids with mortgages and other expenses who will be hard hit by this idiocy.

Lower paid Eagles are already asking the higher paid ones for loans, rumor has it.

The owners want more money. They are going to their employees with their hands out, when the NFL has never been more profitable.

They want two more games, but don’t want to pro-rate the players’ salaries accordingly.

I guess it was too good to last.

Akzed on March 12, 2011 at 6:41 PM

I can’t imagine they’d allow the entire season to be lost. The NHL never recovered from that…

The NHL??? Is that thing still around?

Fed45 on March 12, 2011 at 7:11 PM

DILLIGAF…

Looks like I just got my Sundays back… No worries…

Khun Joe on March 12, 2011 at 7:15 PM

“Are you ready for some Scab-ball? Ski-bop-doodle-ee-doo”

OxyCon on March 12, 2011 at 7:15 PM

I frankly could care less.
I have not followed professional football since Billy Kilmer was the Redskins’ starting quarterback.
A bunch of spoiled, uneducated, arrogant, minorities with chips on their shoulders playing with a ball. Most would have trouble using an idiot stick.
I’m looking forward to seeing them on the picket line!

Bubba Redneck on March 12, 2011 at 8:23 PM

I used to follow the NFL through the Dolphins, my first team and it was before the history season and then a few years and they started braking down and I went with of all teams (by my friends) Dallas! Stayed with them a god 5 years but in 2000 when I got my computer, I had no desire to sit and watch games all day. Maybe a Mon-game but that was it.

Now over the last 11 years its only been the playoffs which to me have the best action. But anymore I just can’t believe the decadent pay these guys get. I mean I understand its a short life in the pro’s but damn, they all get off on that ‘me’ stuff and who makes the most. How about that QB for the Rams. Uh, where are the Rams?

Thing of it is, is that with fb fans they’re like battered wife syndrome. Higher ticket prices? So what.

auspatriotman on March 12, 2011 at 8:47 PM

Pro-Sports in all leagues have been dead to me for a long time already.

This merely serves as a reminder to me, and to our entire family for that matter, as to why and solidifies our collective convictions regarding so-called pro-sports in all its facets, the franchise owners, and the overpaid under-worked cry babies that are employed by the owners.

No pro-football next year? pfffft We could care less.

FlatFoot on March 12, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Couldn’t give a crap.

Coronagold on March 12, 2011 at 10:38 PM

Go Eagles!

;)

mankai on March 12, 2011 at 11:22 PM

Ok, the players are so screwed up in this deal it is sad. After watching a nice Arena league game last night one thing stood out. There are other professional football leagues that the NFL players can play in.

What this means is that the NFL players will LOSE lawsuits that claim the NFL is a monopoly. This means that the NFL, as any other business, can decide what its workplace rules and salary structure will be. Those teams are NOT bound by the anti-trust laws cited by the players as the players DO have OTHER FREE MARKET options to sell their skills.

Look for a couple of knee-jerk legal actions and a fairly quick capitulation by the players.

Freddy on March 12, 2011 at 11:57 PM

Don’t expect much sympathy from the fans who shell out the money that wealthy athletes and owners want to tear from each others’ bank accounts.

Agreed. I stopped attending MLB games for same.

If the NFL fumbles away the 2011 season, fans will simply find other places to spend that money, and more grateful recipients for those entertainment dollars.

These fans will be first to flock to the stadiums as soon as this is resolved.

And that experience may have some of us wondering why we bothered to support spoiled multimillionaires and billionaires in the first place.

Yes, but in this instance, the owners want two more games that count, notwithstanding an average NFL career less than 4 years. Neither side in this dispute gets my money, but my support is with the spoiled multimillionaires over the spoiled billionaires.

rukiddingme on March 13, 2011 at 12:31 AM

The players are idiots. Why don’t they just form their own leagues, make their own contracts, get their own venues, and do what they normally do, with ALL the profit going to themselves? Isn’t that the epitome of American entrepreneurship?

unclesmrgol on March 13, 2011 at 1:14 AM

I have as much sympathy with unions as I have with Al Qaeda terrorists. If the NFL goes down the tubes, so be it!!!!

MaiDee on March 13, 2011 at 8:42 AM

unclesmrgol on March 13, 2011 at 1:14 AM

Refer to your first sentence.

Cindy Munford on March 13, 2011 at 10:30 AM

The players are idiots.

No, that would be the fans parting with their money to support this in the first place.

Why don’t they just form their own leagues, make their own contracts, get their own venues, and do what they normally do, with ALL the profit going to themselves?

Operating a football team requires capital. The billionaire has more capital at their disposal than the millionaire. Paul Allen alone has a net worth that is almost 4 times greater than the sum of all player salaries in 2010.

Isn’t that the epitome of American entrepreneurship?
unclesmrgol on March 13, 2011 at 1:14 AM

Yes. This is why the fans pay the millionaires to play for the billionaires.

rukiddingme on March 13, 2011 at 1:25 PM

The only football league I’m interested in is the Lingerie League.
The NFL, NHL, NBA and especially major league baseball can all take a flying a leap; with the exception of the cheerleading squads, they can always stay!

Bubba Redneck on March 13, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Just imagine what the unemployment situation would be like now if it weren’t for all those tax-payer funded stadiums around the country that “create jobs” and “attract businesses” to those states and cities!

The NFL should hire Scott Walker and put him in charge. He’ll revert salaries to 1965 levels and push for vouchers for free agents.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 13, 2011 at 3:23 PM

I’m always Pro-Owner when these work stoppages happen, but this may be the very first time I’m siding with the players. The owners make money hand-over-fist, and now they want givebacks from the Union on an agreement they signed years ago.

Of course there will be an NFL season in 2011. If not, these might be the most stupid people alive.

asc85 on March 13, 2011 at 5:06 PM

The House that Jerry Built because an even bigger monument to ludicrous excess.

michaelo on March 13, 2011 at 8:36 PM

What, no jock sniffers in this thread to tell us how we owe it to them? Maybe they’re waiting for the Rotten-cheeseburger rape cam to start up. Was expecting this sooner; don’t care. Hope they never come back. Spoiled pr*cks.

austinnelly on March 14, 2011 at 9:58 AM

If the networks can come to agreement with College Football,
i.e. be able to schedule the better, national interest, football games on Sat, Sun, & Mon Night – That would work fine for me. Maybe after a couple of years of time off that 1-10 million dollar a year contract might not look so bad to the likes of the Bradys’ around the league..

Panentheist on March 14, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Is Richard Trumka talking to the Various Colleges Yet?

I understand His collective bargaining group can do wonders..

Panentheist on March 14, 2011 at 11:42 AM

College football is already loved over the NFL by a lot of people. This will probably just push even more in that direction.

Kelli_D on March 14, 2011 at 12:40 PM

It all comes down to the $4B owners were apparently negotiating with TV networks – post Supreme Court ruling; whereas players and their union werent a part of – which included payment during a lockout.

Now this has been known for a few months, as were the other issues that lead to the extensions, but appraently this is the tipping point for the players and the union.

Odie1941 on March 14, 2011 at 2:11 PM

I could give a f**k.

Bring on baseball.

mojo on March 14, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Comment pages: 1 2