Blog Entry

NFL lawyers on decertification: 'A sham'

Posted on: March 12, 2011 7:35 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 7:38 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL made a news splash Saturday when it announced the hiring of two high-powered lawyers to represent the league in the antitrust suit filed by the no-longer-unionized players.

But the league's long-time outside council, Gregg Levy, also made some noise over the weekend calling, as we predicted yesterday, the NFLPA's decertification "a sham."

"The union only pretended to decertify in 1990," Levy said in a statement posted on "As history has confirmed, that purported decertification was a sham. In an effort to protect its ability to repeat the fraud a second time, the union tried in the White settlement to limit the NFL's ability to challenge in an antitrust court any future attempt by the union to pull off a similar sham. But that limitation could have applied only if the purported decertification occurred after expiration of the Stipulation and Settlement Agreement. The union was in such a rush to get to court that it did not wait until SSA expiration. The league is therefore free to show that this 'decertification' is also a sham."

The "sham defense" is best explained by referencing another not-so-legalese term: the "duck defense." That's a reference to an old idiom -- "if it walks like a duck, and it talks like a duck, then it is a duck" -- because the NFL is going to attempt and claim that the union is, as Levy said, only decertifying in order to prevent the league from locking players out, and that it remains a union, despite the small technicality of not actually being a union.

Here's the thing: this point of contention is going to make or break the 2011 NFL season, not whatever PR directives the NFLPA and NFL will be rapid-firing over the next few months.

Because, as I mentioned on Friday night, the Minnesota District Court system is going to decide at some point whether or not the decertification was a sham.

The issue for the NFL is that in the CBA and the White v. NFL Settlement Agreement they "waive any rights" to claim decertification is "a sham, pretext, ineffective, requires additional steps, or in fact has not occurred" ... as long as said decertification occurs "after the expiration of the express term of the CBA."

As we all know, the union decertified before the CBA expired. The reason they did so is they were in a Catch-22, because the CBA language required the players, if they wanted to sue the league, to either do so before the CBA expired, or to wait until six months after the expiration of the CBA.

So the players could have avoided any issue with the "sham defense" at all by waiting to sue, but of course they couldn't sue until they decertified, and waiting six months to do would have coincided with the start of actual football.

Long story short is that the District Court could still decide that the union's decertification is not a sham, and lift the league's lockout, but the Levy makes a pretty compelling case as to why the court shouldn't.

Now the only question is whether or not it will be more compelling than what the players' attorneys offer up in opposition.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 4:03 pm

NFL lawyers on decertification: 'A sham'

I'm surely unquestionably dissatisfied involved with amount of this whole economy detailed world-wide-web web site. Herbal bud rarely older models considered extremely lousy content articles, finish far from being quite a great idea!

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 5:39 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 6:13 pm

NFL lawyers on decertification: 'A sham'

Fantastic site, saved to fav your blog that has benefit to read through additional tips!

Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 2:16 am

NFL lawyers on decertification: 'A sham'

Thankful i ran across this online world web-site, will probably be certain to conserve it so i can fork out a examine to typically.

Since: Mar 13, 2010
Posted on: March 13, 2011 12:01 am

NFL lawyers on decertification: 'A sham'

Wanting billionaire owners to make more money is a sham.  The players are the ones risking their lives and paralysis.  I am for the players all the way.

Since: Jan 29, 2011
Posted on: March 12, 2011 10:37 pm

NFL lawyers on decertification: 'A sham'

I have been a life long fan of the NFL and have been a season ticket holder at times during my life. I say that only because if these groups have turned me off as a fan, think of how 'fringe fans' must feel.

If either side thinks they will get any sympathy from me, they are sadly mistaken. The real people impacted by this fiasco are the common people that make a living supporting both sides. These individuals are truly the ones that are being hurt. As the saying goes, 'when elephants wrestle, the grass gets trampled' and in this case the men and women that live paycheck to paycheck supporting this league that lose their jobs are gettign trampled.

I hope the fans unite and vote with our wallets. We are the ones that provide the revenue for both sides. Ticket prices are outrageous as in the cost of apparel. I hope the fans unite to say...sorry fellas, I have better things to spend my hard earned dollars on. Both sides are acting like idiots, I hope both sides lose.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or