No Surprise Here: NFL Files Charge Against NFLPA

According to the Associated Press the NFL filed an unfair labor practice charge against its players’ union with the National Labor Relations Board on Monday.  The NFL’s filing with the NLRB says that the union wants to “run out the clock” and, essentially, avoid reaching a new CBA so it can decertify and file an antitrust lawsuit.

Not surprisingly union spokesman George Atallah says the NFL’s “claim has absolutely no merit.”  But the guess here is that it does.

This meeting was obviously prompted by the “bargaining session” which took place last week.  It was generally assumed that the NFL walked out of the session because of misunderstandings about a document which the union produced which suggested a straight 50-50 split of revenue.

I don’t think there was a misunderstanding.  The key piece of information from this session comes from Chris Mortenson and Adam Scefter at ESPN:

“According to sources familiar with the talks, last week’s negotiations between the NFLPA and the NFL broke off when the union characterized its documents as an “illustration” that NFL officials believed represented a proposal for revenue sharing between owners and players.”

“When the NFLPA characterized documents labeled “NFLPA Proposal” as something other than a collective bargaining proposal, the NFL ended the session, a source familiar with the talks said.”

In other words, the NFLPA once again failed to come up with a proposal to counter what the owners have put onto the table (i.e as I said yesterday, they aren’t negotiating).

The union wants the status quo and they are either unwilling or unable to move off of that position.  The guess here is that its a little bit of both.  Union president DeMaurice Smith is inexperienced and appears to be paralyzed, unable to pick a direction to move in beyond re-stating the tired old points that he was trying to make this time last year.  In the end, he’s a lawyer and its obvious that he feels much more comforatble fighting this battle in court.  That is unfortunate for all of us.

This process needs to move and its now obvious that the owners want it to do so.  It is not as obvious that the players can or will.

Leave a Reply