NFL Players Association Threatening Decertification Before Current CBA Expires

David Kindervater@TheDGKCorrespondent IFebruary 27, 2011

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 03:  NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith (R) speaks as players look on during the NFL Players Association press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 3, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

As we inch closer to the March 4 deadline for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in the National Football League, the NFL Players Association is reportedly planning to decertify if a new deal can't be reached before that time.

And with talks between the NFL's owners and the union at an apparent standstill after seven consecutive days of negotiations last week, that appears to be a very likely possibility.

The process of decertification for the NFLPA would block NFL ownership from locking the players out, thus allowing the usual offseason football schedule to resume while the two sides attempt to settle their disputes through the legal system.

It would also essentially dissolve the union as we know it, forcing the league to undoubtedly deal with a slew of antitrust lawsuits from individual players.

It's a headache the NFL doesn't want, and they've already prepared by charging the union's threat as an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

If the NFLPA does decertify before March 4, that's a worst-best case for the union as any individual suits against the league would still be under the jurisdiction of U.S. District Judge David Doty, who has, in the past, favored the NFLPA in any legal proceedings.

Talk of decertification might just be leverage for the union to protect a business as usual NFL schedule. But with less than a week to go before the current CBA expires, their options are limited.