NFL union may punt to avoid a lockout

Financial Football

TEXT OF STORY

Bob Moon: Will there be professional football next season? The NFL's current labor deal expires at midnight tonight. The owners and players can't reach a deal on how to split $9 billion in annual NFL spoils. Players are expected to call a trick play -- calling a time-out from their union.

Marketplace's Jeff Tyler explains.


Jeff Tyler: The owners threaten a lockout, which would keep players from coming to work or collecting a paycheck. So football players are considering a kind of financial on-side kick.

Gabe Feldman directs the sports law program at Tulane. He says the players could dissolve their union and re-form as a trade association.

Gabe Feldman: And then, most importantly, filing an anti-trust suit against the NFL, claiming that all the rules that they might put in place -- including free-agency rules, the salary cap and draft -- violate the anti-trust laws. And that would leave the owners vulnerable not only to damages, but under the anti-trust laws, you get three times damages.

Feldman says the legal maneuvers will be expensive for both sides. As for the big question: Will there be a football season? Feldman's best guess:

Feldman: I don't think either side wants to kill the golden goose at this point.

He thinks there's too much money at stake for either players or owners to risk canceling games.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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