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Pro athletes ought to bargain outside federal court, legal scholar says
Date:5/17/2011

r and over again. So the MLB Players Association has really built up its collective bargaining muscles, if you will, and has gotten good at it, institutionally speaking."

But for NFL players, it's a different story.

"The labor peace of the last 18 years in the NFL has occurred largely thanks to the 1993 settlement, after which the players association reconstituted itself as a union and entered into a new collective bargaining agreement with the league. For the players, that opened the door to unrestricted free agency; for the owners, unprecedented growth both in revenue and popularity. But if you took away that settlement, the question becomes can the NFL players bargain on the strength of how unified they are?"

Union solidarity for NFL players is mostly artifice about as effective as a fake punt attempt, LeRoy says.

"There's an enormous difference between the interests of the star players Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees and the rank-and-file players, which makes it hard for a union to hold all that together and make everyone happy," he said. "It's convenient for the union to say, 'We'll take this process as far as we can.' But when things start to hurt, they have the safety net of being to snap their fingers and disband through decertification, like we saw in March. So why even have a player's union if that is how you're going to behave? Well, because it allows them to game the collective bargaining and labor-law system."

But just because the NFL players association decertified and is now a professional association doesn't mean they won't engage in what LeRoy calls "union-like behavior and activities."

"Don't be surprised when you start hearing about how the former head of the NFL players association has advised 'non-members' to agree to licensing deals with the league, or has inquired about salary information," he said. "Don't be surprised when you hear about a high-powered agent acting like a surro
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Contact: Phil Ciciora
pciciora@illinois.edu
217-333-2177
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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