NPR logo NFL Players Union Decertifies, And Work Stoppage Looms


NFL Players Union Decertifies, And Work Stoppage Looms

The NFL Players Union has filed to decertify, decreasing the chance that weeks of talks with the league would be enough to avoid the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987.

According to the AP:

By decertifying, the union has cleared the way for individual players to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL, which opted out of the CBA in 2008. It has renounced its right to represent the players in contract bargaining.

The next step, Mike Pesca tells All Things Considered co-host Robert Siegel, will likely involve lots of litigation. Without a union, players can then file anti-trust lawsuits against the NFL.

"A few NFL players, including Tom Brady, have filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL," Pesca says. "It is a way to put pressure on the NFL. It is a way, perhaps, to get a court to rule against the NFL, to change the balance of power on their side."

Asked about the upcoming season, Pesca says it's still too early to say that the 2011 NFL season will be lost, or even that such an outcome is likely.

After all, there's a great deal of money at stake — both players and the owners are trying to figure out how to divide billions of dollars.

"Hard negotiation is fine," Pesca says. "But being hardheaded might really not be in the best interest of either side, to eschew $4.5 billion just to get a better deal down the road."

Friday, the players' union even took its website down, emphasizing that it no longer represents the players — and sending visitors to a new site,