Whoa, Nellie! Nothing like a good, old-fashioned anti-trust fight to upset Goodell’s hard won decade of labor peace.
As a Redskins fan, my bias in favor of the Redskins is obvious, but does not change the situation. Realitypolice has set forth the facts very clearly. Anyone in need of a refresher course in antitrust issues as they pertain to matters between the owners (as opposed to matters between owners and labor) need only review the Ninth Circuit’s decision upholding the Raiders judgment against the league regarding franchise movement from the early ’80s.
This overreach by Goodell, clearly backed by small-market franchises, including the sacrosanct families such as the Rooneys and Maras, is designed to offset the consequences of the owners’ actions in the labor negotiations of the current CBA. (It surely can be no coincidence that a Mara chairs the relevant committee addressing this issue.) The owners decided to force an early termination of the CBA with the resultant "uncapped" year in their determination to obtain better terms from the players in the next CBA. This tactic proved a smashing success.
Unfortunately for the small-market franchises, an "uncapped" year presented an opportunity to franchises such as the Redskins and Cowboys to address untenable and damaging cap positions. In an effort to subvert the labor negotiations and tilt the process further in their advantage, many owners apparently devised a system of collusion that could be denied publicly and leave no papertrail. By giving multiple "warnings" to some owners that the illegal, unofficial policy of collusion would be enforced after the players had been pressured into accepting the owners’ demands, the owners acted in the classic fashion of a cartel as understood under antitrust law.
The small market franchises have benefitted for years under the socialist tenets of the league’s structure to ensure their ability to compete against wealthier franchises. In fact, these franchises have been so successful in using superior football-related organizations that they have enjoyed tremendous on-field success while the Redskins and Cowboys have endured many years of failure.
Owners such as Snyder and Jones have cooperated with this regime, while chafing at some of its revenue-sharing aspects, in the apparent belief that the NFL’s ultimate success depends upon this unique, socialist structure to avoid the fate of MLB. By poking this hornet’s nest, the owners and Goodell risk this arrangement.
If the league insists upon this punitive enforcement of an illegal collusion to dampen player salaries in the uncapped year, then Snyder and Jones should follow Al Davis’ example and bring an anti-trust suit against the league.
With the facts in their favor, they could very easily force the league’s capitulation in the face of the destruction of the "house of cards" which is the NFL under anti-trust law.
Snyder and Jones should make clear that their forebearance in underwriting the success of the Maras, Rooneys and "stockholders" of Green Bay (and the Super Bowl championships those teams have enjoyed since the mid-90s) is at an end.
If the benefactors of the socialist structure want to assert that they have the right to enforce collusion in the uncapped year, they should be put on notice that Snyder and Jones are willing, and perhaps even anxious, to reverse years of futility by two of the league’s proudest franchises by ushering in a new era of professional football – an era characterized by the survival of the fittest as the Redskins and Cowboys become the NFL’s Red Sox and Yankees. Many Redskins and Cowboys fans could comfort themselves about the dissolution of the "old" NFL by warming themselves in the glow of Red Sox- and Yankee-like rings and trophies.
Hopefully, those who have benefitted so greatly by the socialist structure of the NFL and its one great foray into capitalist hardball (forcing the uncapped year and early termination of the CBA) will recognize the fool-hardiness of seeking to further their advantage by punishing their benefactors for exercising their rights in the uncapped year.
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