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SBD/March 9, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies
NFL Labor Watch: Doty's Influence Over CBA Continues To Grow
Published March 9, 2011
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WILL IT COME TO THIS? In Baltimore, Ken Murray writes the option of decertification "hangs over NFL labor negotiations like an anvil." Indiana Univ. School of Law Dean Gary Roberts said that decertification "is not necessarily the negotiating hammer some believe it to be." Roberts: "My own instinct is that it's not as big a threat as some players and people on that side think it is. Only because I don't think anybody thinks the two sides would litigate for two or three years, which is what it would take. To shut down the NFL for three years while they litigate is inconceivable." But former National Labor Relations Board Chair William Gould argues decertification is "the ultimate weapon." Even he admitted that "decertifying was no guarantee of success in the courts" (Baltimore SUN, 3/9). ESPN's Mark Schwarz said, "Everyone is hoping on the owners' side that a deal is done so that they avoid that dirty word, decertification. They do not want this to go to the courts" ("NFL Live," ESPN, 3/8).
A LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: Jets Owner Woody Johnson yesterday said he is "eternally optimistic" the league and union can come to terms on a new CBA. He added, "Whether we get it done this week, it’s possible. As long as we’re talking, as long as we’re being mediated. I think (federal mediator George) Cohen’s pretty good. He’s gotten them together all these days, that’s a sign of progress" (NJ.com, 3/8). Eagles TE Brent Celek: "I know it's going to get done in time. There's too much at stake for both sides. They'll probably just keep extending" the deadline, currently set for Friday. We'll see. I don't see there being a lockout. If there is, I'll be really surprised" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/9). Patriots OT and player rep Matt Light is "beginning to feel cautiously optimistic." In an interview with WAAF-FM, he said, "I’m hopeful we can get a deal done." But Light also said that he "couldn't guess whether there will be a deal" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/9).
ONE SHINING MOMENT? ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski wrote Goodell should "resign immediately if this owners-created labor dispute becomes a living, breathing lockout by the end of Friday's federally mediated negotiating deadline." When it "comes down to it, Goodell has a single job as commissioner of the world's most profitable sports league: Make the NFL trains run on time." If he "can't do that, then it's time to find another conductor." Wojciechowski: "This is when we learn whether Goodell is worth his nearly $10 million in annual salary. The last thing these negotiations need is an owners' lap dog who yaps at all the wrong times and for all the wrong reasons" (ESPN.com, 3/8).