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Volume 24 No. 156
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NFL, NFLPA Talks Take Combative Turn With Deadline Looming

The NFL appears likely to enter into a period of labor turbulence today, as the league and union began aggressively sniping again at each other last night after a relative period of calm overseen by a federal mediator. With the CBA expiring at the end of the day, and the deadline for the union decertifying at 5:00pm ET, a new deal is all but an impossibility, and an extension unlikely at the moment given the rancor.

NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith last night was so upset upon hearing comments from NFL Exec VP and General Counsel Jeff Pash suggesting the union was not committed to negotiating, that Smith unannounced went to the NFL Network cameras in front of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building where the two sides have been negotiating and gave an interview in a torrential downpour.

If the union decertifies today, it is expected to file notice in the court room of Federal Judge David Doty and then, as a newly constituted trade association, would likely ask for a temporary injunction to prevent the league from locking out the players. The league, upon expiration of the CBA at day's end, could lock out the players, but not before that expiration.

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For continuing updates, see the SBJ/SBD NFL Labor Watch page.