Advertisement

Players file antitrust suit against NFL

1/3
Players file antitrust suit against NFL
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Jan. 16, 2011. UPI/Matthew Healey | License Photo

WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- NFL collective-bargaining talks collapsed Friday and the league's players decertified their union, leaving the sport of pro football with an uncertain future.

Shortly after the union decertified, 10 NFL players put their names on an antitrust lawsuit filed in federal court and the sport's first work stoppage in 25 years loomed as a possibility.

Advertisement

NFL officials said the union turned down "a very good deal," while the federal mediator who had been trying to work out a new contract said he saw no further use for his services. NFL Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith announced the union's decertification at an afternoon news conference.

"The NFLPA will move forward as a professional trade association with the mission of supporting the interests and rights of current and former professional football players," Smith said in a statement.

Smith named Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning among those who were parties in the lawsuit along with, "a brave young (Texas A&M) Aggie named Von Miller."

"The measure of our association," Smith said, "is the men and their families who fight for the only thing they can bestow to each other: a better game, a safer game, and common respect."

Advertisement

Within hours after the decertification, the owners and players began a public relations campaign in hopes of winning fans to their side.

"We incorporated new economic terms to try to bridge the gap," said Jeff Pash, the league's chief negotiator. You've heard a lot of talk about an $800 million gap. That's not close to being factual.

"We offered today to split the difference and meet the union in the midpoint, with a player compensation number that would have been equivalent to player compensation in 2009 and above player compensation in 2010.

"We offered grow it from there over four years by $20 million a club, to the point where in 2014 the player compensation number was the union's number. It was the number the union proposed to us and we accepted it. That wasn't good enough."

Smith, however, had another version -- and contradicted the league's claim on the contentious issue of expanding the regular season to 18 games..

"The NFL wanted to turn the clock back on player compensation by four years, moving them back to where they were in 2007," he said. "The NFL offered no proposal at all for long-term share of revenues."

Pash said the league offered to keep its current 16-game schedule rather than increase it to 18.

Advertisement

"The NFL kept on the table its hypocritical demand for an 18-game season, despite its public claims to be working toward improving the health and safety of players," Smith said.

George Cohen, who had mediated 17 days of negotiations, said he thought some progress had been made during the talks.

"Regrettably, however, the parties have not achieved an overall agreement," he said. "In these circumstances, it is the judgment of (yours truly) that no constructive purpose would be served to continue mediation at this time."

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement