As if having every single current NFL player suing the league wasn't awkward enough, a group of retired players have also filed a class-action complaint against the NFL and its 32 clubs, with the express purpose of pushing the Brady v. NFL bandwagon even further down the tracks.
But this lawsuit is actually worse for the NFL than it would seem based on the named plaintiffs -- Carl Eller, Priest Holmes, Obafemi Ayanbadejo and Ryan Collins -- listed on the lawsuit, a copy of which we've seen.
That's because the class involved in this class action is comprised of not just retired players but also "... (b) potential rookie professional football players who, as of March 11, 2011 to the date of final judgment in this action and the determination of any appeal therefrom, have not previously commenced negotiation with any NFL club concerning employment and have not been selected in any NFL College Draft."
Or, in non-fancy parlance: rookies.
Of course, that may not seem to matter all that much, as you'd think that the rookies are already involved in the Brady v. NFL lawsuit. But not so fast, my friend. According to the attorney representing the players in this matter, Michael Hausfeld, this case could circumvent the NFL's claim that the decertification of the union is a "sham."
"The owners say the union has unlawfully decertified and the union should be ordered to reconstitute and forced to sit at the bargaining table," Hausfeld told Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports. "If you look at the last CBA, it represents the rookies that have been drafted and the rookies who have begun negotiating with teams."
It's a loophole, and there's absolutely no guarantee it'll work, but Hausfeld, as Wetzel notes, seems pretty convinced.
"The owners have shut down their potential employees through a concerted boycott," Hausfeld said. "[The suit is] going to avoid the main thrust of the owners’ defense and their argument that the matter should be settled by the [National Labor Relations Board] not in the courts."
The NFL has yet to comment on the "retired players lawsuit," but it stands to reason that they won't immediately decide to fold up camp and just cave to the NFLPA's desire to life the lockout.
Because, after all, the NFL's already pretty vested in their current position. It's way past highly unlikely they'll reverse course at this point.
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