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SBD/22/Leagues Governing Bodies
ANTITRUST JUDGEMENT AGAINST NFL GETS REVERSED
Published March 22, 1995
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia yesterday reversed a $30.3M judgement against the NFL, saying "players cannot sue a league on antitrust grounds when their union is engaged in collective bargaining, even if negotiations have reached an impasse." In '90, the Bills' Tony Brown sued the league on behalf of 235 other practice squad players -- winning a $30.3M judgement two years later on the grounds that the league had "violated antitrust law." Yesterday's decision "orders the district court to dismiss the case against the league" (Dave Sell, WASHINGTON POST, 3/22). The decision also "impacts" the baseball situation since it would force the MLBPA to "decertify before it could file suit" -- even if MLB's antitrust exemption were removed. Judge Patricia Wald, who filed a 25-page "dissenting opinion": "The majority insists its ruling does no more than maintain a level playing field. The reality is that [yesterday's] decision sharply tilts the playing field in employers' favor and because of that will erode the vitality of collective bargaining itself" (Ronald Blum, AP/FORT WORTH STAR TELEGRAM, 3/22).