Picket line
Photo Credit: 949billwright/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA

A player lockout in the NFL is all but guaranteed as the feud between players and owners continues. The collective bargaining agreement between the NFL Players’ Association and the league expires March 3, and no agreement has been reached. It will be the first NFL lockout since 1987.

No deal reached during weeks of negotiation

The deadline to renew the collective bargaining agreement between the National Football League and the National Football League Players Association is passing, and a resolution before it expires is unlikely. The first NFL lockout since 1987 is likely to start when the collective bargaining agreement expires, according to the New York Times. When the agreement expires today, the player union will decertify, meaning that it will disband and the union will not have the authority to deal with team owners and the NFL anymore. However, team owners and the player union could decide to extend the deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement.

The upcoming NFL season

Training camp does not begin until June and the 2011 NFL season does not begin until September. However, should the union decertify, a work stoppage will begin and there is a possibility that players can launch an anti-trust suit against the National Football League, which could tie up operations for months. However, the NFL has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming that the players’ union is not negotiating in good faith, according to the Washington Post.

Fight over revenue

The central issue is over player wages. Currently, NFL owners split $1 billion off the top of revenue, according to CNN, and players receive 60 percent of what is left over. The owners want their share to double, though the players would still receive 60 percent of league revenue. Team owners also contend that player salaries are too costly to be sustainable, and the NFLPA wants to see financial records to prove it. Owners have refused to show players the math. However, the financial records that are regularly released by the Green Bay Packers, the only publicly owned team in the NFL, indicate that the owners are correct in their assessment.


New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/04/sports/football/04nfllabor.html

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/02/AR2011030206282_2.html?sid=ST2011030206976

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2011/SPORT/football/03/03/nfl.talks/index.html?hpt=T2

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