Posted on: March 3, 2011 3:55 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 4:51 pm

Top QBs to be plaintiffs in any antitrust suit?

Posted by Will Brinson

So here's a fun twist to the crazy reports that are swinging the NFL labor mood on the final -- barring an extension -- day of the current CBA: if the union decertifies and files an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL owners (a very real possibility), then Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady are willing to play the role of lead plaintiffs.

This report is currently percolating around NFL circles -- Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated and Albert Breer of the NFL Network first reported it -- and it's pretty huge news.

Why? Well, think about any time you've ever seen a high-profile court case. You identify, whether you know it or not, with one of the sides. And the way you perceive the sides a lot of times depends on not just what you know about that side, but who is representing the respective interests.

Put a better way, when the words "players versus the owners" get thrown around, everyone immediately thinks "millionaires fighting with billionaires."

But if Manning, Brees and Brady -- three immensely popular and likable guys -- are suddenly against the owners, it changes the public perception completely.

The obvious counterargument to that point is that no one makes more money than that trio of quarterbacks. My response: except the owners.

Look, find someone who knows nothing about sports, and that person can probably still identify all three quarterbacks we're talking about.

They're not poor peasants toiling against "the man," but they are tremendously popular and likable celebrities with the benefit of having never engaged in any sort of behavior that gives the public any reason to hate them.

Outside of winning a bunch of Super Bowls anyway.

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 2:46 pm

Wednesday mediation goes 'better than expected'?

Posted by Will Brinson

Wednesday's mediation session between the NFL and the NFLPA -- which featured some bigger names than previous meetings -- has ended. And, reportedly, it wasn't THAT horrible apparently.

That's from a source of Sports Illustrated's Don Banks, who said that the talks went "better than expected."

Of course, that's a relative term, considering that less than 24 hours ago, the NFLPA was celebrating a tremendous victory in the TV rights case thanks to an overturned verdict from Judge David Doty.

Mediation is set to resume on Thursday (presumably the final day, because of the CBA's expiration at 11:59 PM EST on Thursday night) and the league has adjourned to Chantilly, Virginia for an owners meeting.

But as Clark Judge reports, the owners might not stay very long. (Read: not all of the owners, who were in mediation Wednesday, are planning to hang around for Thursday's action.)

That may not matter anyway though, because it's entirely possible, as our own Mike Freeman wrote earlier Wednesday, that a lockout and/or decertification is coming down the proverbial tracks, and there's nothing that can be done to stop it.

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 11:27 am
Edited on: March 2, 2011 11:34 am

Source: Decertification likely coming Thursday

Posted by Mike Freeman

Barring some sort of last-second miracle the NFL union will likely decertify sometime Thursday, according to a source familiar with the union's thinking.

Again, things could change but this news is the most concrete example of how fruitless the mediation talks have become. It's possible even if there is some sort of temporary extension of mediation the union will still likely decertify on Thursday.

So the lockout is coming. Decertification is coming. Unless the Easter Bunny works some magic with his chocolate candies and help from his unicorns and elves homies.

Decertification has certain risks but overall is a smart strategy for the union. It blocks owners from locking out players and moves the dispute from the realm of negotiations to the court system where players have had success. Owners could face lawsuits and treble damages if players are subsequently successful in court.

So that's where we are. For now. Hopefully things will change but this legal fight is just beginning.

This entry was cross-posted from Mike Freeman's FreeStyle blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 24, 2010 1:08 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2010 3:13 pm

Jets vote for decertification, Bears to vote soon

Posted by Will Brinson

Eight teams in the NFL have now voted to decertify from the union with the news that the Jets unanimously agreed Thursday and according to a report, the Bears will be voting soon as well.

The Jets, according to Jane McManus of ESPN , joined the Bills, Saints, Cowboys, Colts, Eagles, Redskins, and Giants as the list of teams to  unanimously vote to decertify

And Brad Biggs of Chicago Breaking Sports reports that the Bears will vote soon as well, with a similar result likely to occur.

"It's necessary because the legal process of decertifying is not an overnight deal. We need to have the wheels in motion," said Hunter Hillenmeyer, the Bears' representative to the NFLPA.

Decertification, for those wondering, is a good thing. At least for fans anyway -- a union can't sue the NFL, but a huge group of wage-earning individual players can (this is the result of the American Needle case that the NFL lost at the Supreme Court level).

If every single team (as in, all of the individual players) votes to decertify, it means that if the NFL owners decide to lock out their employees, they can quickly strike to actually decertify and then sue the NFL for antitrust violations.

Theoretically, then, lining up all the teams now, in preparation for actually decertifying, gives the NFLPA greater leverage in working to negotiate a new labor agreement.

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