SBD/22/Leagues Governing Bodies

ANTITRUST JUDGEMENT AGAINST NFL GETS REVERSED

     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).
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