As of last week, the CBA for the NFL has expired, with the NFLPA choosing to decertify the league in order to file suit for anti-trust against the league. The league, in retaliation, has locked out the players and an injunction has been filed which will be heard on April 6th. NFLPA is also encouraging a boycott of the NFL Draft which would continue, just without an athlete in the spotlight with a hat and jersey.
How did we get here?
Shortly after Superbowl XLV, talks of renegotiating the CBA commenced while they should have already been in the meeting rooms. Yet a preview of our current situation can be seen at the Pro Bowl, where DeMaurice Smith, Executive director of the NFLPA, shared with us his aggressive stance of how much of the pie he wanted for his players, and his pursuit to obtain it.
After a few close encounters with expiring and renewing deadlines, the CBA finally expired just a few days ago.
The NFL has already lost $4 billion in TV revenues. Also, American Needle vs. NFL was overturned in May, classifying the league as 32 separate organizations with their own goals. Thus they are not exempt from Sherman Anti-Trust Act Section One. Season ticket sales are also blocked until a new CBA is reached.
Goodell even lowered his salary to $1.00. Not to mention he will receive it all back with his bonus. The biggest problem is that the NFL owners refuse to open up their books and reveal their financial statements.
So why does the NFL still stand strong? My prediction is that they're trying to restructure the NFL's finances completely by taking the hit now.
One of the NFLPA arguments is for more money across the board with better health insurance. 310K minimum a year doesn't sound like much to them, even after taxes. Yet some people don't even make that kind of money their entire life.
What I believe might happen is owners might try instituting a salary floor and ceiling. By creating a ceiling, players like JaMarcus Russell won't receive $30 million plus for three years of overweight shame. By issuing a floor, all players would have to be payed a certain amount, such as veterans who are now.
Even if the league loses billions of dollars in Antitrust violations, they'll still be able to withstand the blow considering how profitable they've become and how much money they've already gained. It would be hard to provide a smoking gun if this were true and we could see a dramatic shift in player salaries.
So who's to blame for the current situation and no possible pro football next season? The answer, money