For those of you confused by the failure of collective bargaining, by the meaning of desertification or, better yet, the phrase “disclaimer of interest,” the bottom line is that the NFL off-season – including the NFL draft – will progress pretty much as normal after a short break.
The actions by the NFL Players Association, when it chose to decertify as a union Friday after negotiations broke down, may seem strange to most fans, it’s the easiest way to summarize the impact. However, there are a number of legal actions that will take place later on that could get in the way of the season.
For now, however, the 2011 off-season is expected to start after what is expected to be a brief lockout of the players by the owners.
Jeff Kessler, an outside attorney for the NFLPA, who has worked with the league for approximately 25 years, said he expects the league to lock out the players rather than face the start of free agency at midnight Saturday. But as a fan I hope that the owners will keep their doors open to all players and help move along the progress on a new CBA.
If not the union will counter the lockout with the antitrust class-action lawsuit it filed in conjunction with decertifying. In that lawsuit, the union is arguing for an injunction of a possible lockout and any other restrictions the league might put on free agency going forward.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District judge Patrick Schiltz instead of his colleague David Doty, who has long overseen NFL labor matters. Will a different judge being assigned make any difference? we shall see. According to previous records Judge Dotys has never ruled against the players, in other words the owners have never provided enough proof.