The old Collective Bargaining Agreement deal expired yesterday, Friday March 12th, 2011, at 11:59 pm.
The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) has decertified as a result of the expiration, meaning they no longer represent the players. Currently, the NFLPA cannot bargain for the players or fight league imposed punishments against the players such as fines or suspensions. One reason for decertifying is that, now, the legal proceedings may be supervised by the U.S. District Court Judge David Doty in Minneapolis. Why does this help the players? Well, David Doty had previously ruled in the players’ side, including in one case just last week which denies the NFL from taking $4 billion if no football games are played in 2011-12 season.
The NFLPA decertified in order to allow the players to sue the NFL with an antitrust suit, which Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning (among others) did on Friday. The league has officially locked out the players, and which is why the players went to court. This antitrust suit claimed that the NFL was guilty of conspiracy and activities that made the game less competitive. Manning’s and Brees’s lawyer, Tom Codon, wrote that a “‘lockout’ imposed by the NFL threatens to rob Mr. Brees and Mr. Manning, and all other NFL players, of an entire year, or more, of their brief playing careers, which cannot be recaptured”.