That's it. Despite a glimmer of hope here and there, negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA went to hell in a hand basket yesterday. Union decertification came around 5 p.m. ET after weeks of each side inching closer to an agreement. At Midnight, the NFL officially began the lockout.
Trench warfare always ends in stalemate. Now, the fate of professional football heads off to the courts where the fate of the game will be determined by lawyers and an ex-Marine judge named David Doty. When I think of Marines and trench warfare I think of all the awful things that can be done with a Ka-Bar in close quarters. Hopefully, the labor dispute can be resolved that quickly and efficiently, but it's unlikely.
The last time the NFL and the players went to court was 1989, in the famous Reggie White vs. the NFL case. No settlement was reached until 1993 that time, but football continued after the players won an injunction ruling that the lockout was illegal.
Another injunction is your best hope for football this year, much more so than any sort of quick resolution to the collective bargaining agreement. If that happens, the league will go back to work operating under the strange rules of free agency they had last year, which will drastically reduce the players available through free agency. More on that later.
The league is filing a claim with the National Labor Relations Board that decertification is a "sham." That's unlikely to go anywhere. Players, led by Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, etc. (the names on the lawsuit) will ask for an injunction through their antitrust suit that will prevent owners from locking them out. Then it's the court battle.
Some must read links for you:
- Shutdown Corner has a quick take on the matter.
- Yahoo's Michael Silver has an extensive look at what happened.
- Andrew Brandt at the NFP has another take on it.
(Note from 3k) The league can't lock us out... so why not call Turf Show Radio? Why, you can call us in, just drop a lovely four-letter word and hang up should you choose. Just call (818) 495-6910 between 6-6:30pm ET and hit us up with your thoughts.