NFL Players Reply To NFL's Legal Claims In Antitrust Lawsuit
The players suing the NFL for antitrust violations as expected claimed yesterday each of the league’s legal claims to keep the lockout in effect had already been rejected by the courts. Calling the NFL “antitrust recidivists,” the players in their reply brief called the league’s arguments that the players could not renounce their union membership absurd and rejected by court after court. The players renouncing union membership is critical for them to be able to sue the league for antitrust violations.
“There are no ‘magic steps’ that a union must follow to abandon collective bargaining representation,” the brief said. “All that is required is a disclaimer of such status.” The reply also publicly disclosed for the first time that the players had for a second time, following the decertification on March 11, affirmed the decertification. They had given approval to the NFLPA in the Fall to do so if necessary. And the players also made it clear that while by disbanding they won the right to sue under antitrust grounds, they were also giving up a lot.
Meanwhile, a group of retired players sued the NFL for antitrust violations yesterday, asking their case be joined with the one filed by active players and that the court stop next month’s NFL Draft. The group led, by Carl Eller, charged, “The admitted purpose of this group boycott (lockout) is to coerce Plaintiffs and the other players to agree to a new anticompetitive system of players restraints that will, inter alia, drastically reduce prospective player compensation levels and benefit levels for retired or former players.”