Yes, the NFL lockout is still progressing at its sluggish pace as the MLB pre-season is starting up soon and the NHL and NCAA basketball seasons are beginning to heat up. But news is still flowing out of the woodwork as the rich team owners and players connive and deceive each other to get the upper hand. However, some interesting news have seeped through this week, as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and other members of the NFLPA attempt to win over U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson in the federal courts of St. Paul, Minnesota on Monday, March 21st. The NFL filed a countersuit against the decertified NFLPA stating that the decertification is a a fraud and tactic used previously by the NFLPA. The NFL has also brought the case to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on the NFLPA’s supposed decertification.
After reading through the briefing filed by the NFL to Judge Nelson, the NFL declared that the decertification was not done in good faith, and one interesting fact broke through while reading this lengthy piece of legal craftsmanship. The actual decertification, or “disclaimer” in fine legalese, of the NFLPA occurred during the waning hours of the negotiation on March 11th. Thus, the decertificiation is illegal based on pure timing, and according to the filing, “the CBA would have barred antitrust claims for at least six months if the disclaimer had occurred after expiration [of the talks].” Additionally, there were additional circumstances in NFLPA’s past history where the former and present NFLPA members outrightedly declared that the decertification itself was a strategy to gain the upper hand against the team owners. In September 2010, Kevin Mawae, the president of the NFLPA, stated that “the whole purpose [of the disclaimer] is to have that ace in our sleeve.” After March 11, 2011, Jeff Saturday, the Vice-President of the NFLPA stated that “we decertified so that we could fight them from locking us out and go back to work. And we feel like…we can negotiate anytime you want.” In other words, it is a tactic for negotiation, the NFLPA was not dissolved supposedly in good faith. The league owners cited Section 4 of the Norris-LaGuardia Act stating that the act prevents the courts from passing an injuction against the present lockout. In other words, the courts can’t declare the lockout illegal.
To compound the matters, a Cleveland Brown fan, Ken Lanci, filed a lawsuit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court against the Browns organization for damages of more than $25,000 and more than $25,000 from the NFL and its teams for violation of its seat-license agreement. Note that Lanci himself is a self-made millionaire who also ran for government office in Cleveland, with emphasis on the millionaire part, of course. This case is currently assigned to Common Pleas Court Judge John P. O’Donnell, and both the NFL and NFLPA will have four weeks to respond to this fan’s case. Lanci, if that doesn’t work, you may consider buying some stock in the Cleveland Browns and work your way from inside there next.
With both of these cases in progress, there is a lot of money, taxpayers money, being burned in a still tepid economy. Many taxpayers are preparing to file their taxes, and these cases surely won’t help the nation’s cause as money is steadily being drained away by the legal system in two frivolous lawsuits. There will be lots of legalese passed around Indiana and Minnesota while the judges, the plaintiffs and defendants talk amongst themselves. Where is Judge Judy when you need her prompt and direct decisions, right?