FanShot

New Wrinkle in CBA Negotiations - antitrust by way of rookies and retired players

Some of the highlights: "Four retired NFL players, including Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller and Pro Bowl running back Priest Holmes, filed a federal class action, antitrust lawsuit against the NFL on Monday seeking to end the current lockout. Eller v. NFL, obtained by Yahoo! Sports, is similar to the current Brady, et al v. NFL. However, it is based on a potentially clever legal maneuver that could box the league into a corner and prove a significant development in ending pro football’s nearly month-long labor impasse. The former players’ suit also covers draft-eligible prospects, who aren’t represented by the NFL Players Association under the previous collective bargaining agreement. As such, these plaintiffs could potentially avoid one of the league’s chief counterarguments against the Brady lawsuit – that the union illegally decertified." "How silly is it to have a draft in April and then say, congratulations, you’re locked out?" he asked. By using the window between now and the start of the NFL draft on April 28, the NFL is exposed to this kind of argument. The NFL, Hausfeld said, would have to work out a deal with the NFLPA or risk taking on an antitrust case without its top counterarguments. If the league were to lose, it would risk the basic structures of its business – the salary cap, the draft, free agency and so forth. It would be better off agreeing to a deal.

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