The NFL Owners may have just pulled a fast one on the NFL Player’s Association, and they just got away with it.
Due to a well negotiated television deal, the NFL can still receive television revenue even if the entire schedule of games for next season are cancelled.
The NFL Player Association has tried their best to fight this obvious advantage in labor talks, through litigation, but their efforts were punted when the complaint was officially rejected yesterday by Special Master Stephen Burbank, who resolves disputes between the league and its players.
The owners seemed to have hedged their bets last June. They took less money for broadcast rights to ensure that the well wouldn’t run dry, and that they would still get paid in the event of a lockout. Since the players share league revenues, they’re screaming “foul” and they intend to throw the challenge flag to appeal the decision before District Judge David Doty, the same judge who has overseen the NFL labor contract since 1993.
With CBA expiring in March, this may force the two sides to get back to the bargaining table or it may further divide them. The owners think the NFLPA should invest its energies into negotiations instead of litigation and the NFLPA probably wants to know why the owners are just so damn shady.
The owners aren’t shady, they’re savvy. And now they have the biggest advantage in that they will still be soaking up a revenue stream even if there is a lockout. That’s called the upperhand. Check that. That’s called having the players by the balls and it doesn’t look good for the players at this point. The league has the money and power, so it almost seems like a lockout is inevitable unless the players are willing to be taken to the woodshed. I can’t picture the owners putting anything down on the bargaining table that the players would want to accept.
It’s happening again! We saw this in 1987 when the NFL started using replacement players, the result this year may be similar in a sense that NFLPA may once again de-certify and then file an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL…again.
The bottom line is this thing is getting ugly. Let’s just say I’d be more than willing to wager on the chances of a full lockout.