Tag:NFLCA
Posted on: June 9, 2011 11:36 am
Edited on: June 9, 2011 12:10 pm
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Judge moves NFL's motion to dismiss up to Aug. 29

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The NFL filed a motion Monday to dismiss the original antitrust complaint from the players in Brady v. NFL. The scheduled date of the hearing? September 12.

Yep, that's one day after the first Sunday of what would be the 2011 NFL season. But as CBSSports.com's Will Brinson pointed out earlier this week, the greater purpose of the motion is that "it pushes back the deadline for the NFL to file an answer in response to the players' complaint."

According to the Associated Press, the September 12 date has been changed. The hearing has been moved up to August 29.

"U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson issued Wednesday an amended notice on the league's motion to dismiss the lawsuit," the AP reports. … "Owners and players met Wednesday for a second straight day in New York, talks toward a new agreement to end the impasse and put the NFL back in business for 2011."
NFL Labor

As Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio notes, the new date doesn't mean much since "it’s unlikely that there will be a quick decision, unless Judge Nelson decides to summarily deny the motion from the bench."

In related, happier news, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote this morning that the owners and players met again Wednesday night and while there's still a ways to go, the two sides are making an effort to work together. Perhaps even more encouraging: Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith are on their way to becoming BFFs. (Or, at the very least, they can now tolerate being in the same room. Hey, it's a start.)

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Posted on: June 6, 2011 8:15 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 5:40 am
 

NFL files Motion to Dismiss, hearing set for 9/12

Posted by Will Brinson

On Monday, the NFL filed a motion to dismiss the original antitrust complaint from the players in Brady v. NFL. More interestingly, this motion will now be heard on September 12, 2011.

Yes, that does happen to be one day after the first Sunday of the NFL's regular season, thanks for asking.

The motion to dismiss in and of itself was brief -- just two pages -- but the purpose that the motion serves is a greater one because it pushes back the deadline for the NFL to file an answer in response to the players' complaint.

Now that answer won't be due until after the motion is heard, which is after the season begins. This is beneficial for the NFL, the players and the fans because it allows the two sides to continue negotiating without being obstructed by a public legal document, especially one in which the NFL responds -- perhaps in a personal manner -- to serious antitrust allegations.
NFL Labor

And then there's the fact that if both sides have to actually end up going to court for this hearing, it will occur one day after 9/11, when the NFL and the players have decided to skip the first week of the season.

Whether or not memorials for fallen Americans should veer into the realm of public relations is beside the point; missing the first week of the season would be an abject PR disaster.

Hopefully, this would-be extension of time allows the two sides to avoid that nightmarish scenario.

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Posted on: June 5, 2011 11:11 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2011 11:12 pm
 

How does a ruling 'neither side will like' occur?

Posted by Will Brinson

Following the now-infamous June 3 hearing in front of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Kermit Bye indicated to the NFL and the NFLPA that the court wouldn't be insulted if the two sides reached a settlement before the court reached a ruling.

And Bye also said that if the two sides couldn't find common ground, the court wouldn't exactly be opposed to rendering a ruling that "neither side will like." That seems like a difficult proposition, but it's not entirely out of the question.

In fact, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (who's an actual licensed attorney) put together a pretty good explanation of it on Sunday.

Basically, the Court of Appeals can rule that 1) the lockout is still on and that the lockout can last for a full year, and 2) there is a six-month limit on the non-statutory antitrust exemption.
NFL Labor

And what that means is while the lockout could last throughout the entire 2011 season, the antitrust exemption would end on September 11. And what that means is that if the lockout did last for the entire year, the owners would potentially be liable -- in the Brady v. NFL antitrust suit -- for triple the entire 2011 NFL payroll.

Obviously, that's a LOT of cheddar; such liability creates a highly unfavorable scenario for the owners even as the idea of missing a year's worth of paychecks would create some substantial panic amongst all the NFL's players.

Which is precisely why, as our own Mike Freeman reported recently, that it actually makes a ton of sense for the two sides to get together and hammer out a deal before the 8th Circuit has to issue a ruling.

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Posted on: May 27, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2011 7:32 pm
 

Saints coaches 'appalled' by NFLCA appeals brief

Posted by Ryan Wilson

A brief recap of This Week in Lockout News:

Wednesday: The NFL Coaches Association filed an amicus brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the players' request to lift the lockout.

Thursday: The Redskins' coaching staff issued a statement clarifying their position relative to the NFLCA brief: "We stand united with our ownership and the brief does not reflect our thoughts on the matter." NFL Network's Albert Breer reported that 17 members of Washington's staff signed the letter, although head coach Mike Shanahan wasn't one of them.

Friday: The Saints became the latest team to speak out against the NFLCA brief, this time without the PR filter written statements usually provide.

New Orleans linebackers coach Joe Vitt said Saints' assistants were "appalled" by the NFLCA's decision to file a brief, the Times-Picayune's Mike Triplett writes.
"It was awful presumptuous on their part that they would represent all the coaches on our staff," Vitt said of the NFLCA, which is led by former NFL assistant Larry Kennan, who served as the Saints' tight ends coach in 1995.

"We're supporting the owners," Vitt said. "I've said this a million times, our organization has been built on trust. (Owner Tom) Benson has been great to us. Unequivocally, we support our ownership."
Therein lies one of the problems with the NFLCA not representing all NFL coaches. As Triplett points out, coaches can choose to belong to the union, and Vitt said that Saints' assistants collectively agreed not to join back in 2006. So just because the NFLCA issues a statement (or in this case, files a brief), there's no reason to expect solidarity among the coaches. There's no executive director in the mold of the NFLPA's DeMaurice Smith who, like him or not, has the players mobilized behind the "decertify and let the courts sort it out" strategy.

Another, bigger problem: communicating clearly. Kennan, appearing Friday on Sirius XM NFL Radio, told co-hosts Jim Miller and Alex Marvez that "I emailed all the coaches to tell them we were going to do this. However, I didn’t do a very good job of communicating with the Redskins. … It kind of caught them blindsided. Before they had a chance to read the Amicus brief and see that it was strictly about being for coaches, they panicked a little bit and maybe got some outside pressure to do something.”

Also worth noting: Kennan made his comments before Vitt spoke out against the NFLCA to the Times-Picayune.

Kennan continued: “If there were a whole bunch of teams [protesting], I’d be concerned. I’m not concerned about one. I know what happened there. They didn’t have all the facts. A lot of us make decisions because we’re in a pressure situation and get caught up reading about something and don’t have all the information.”

Perhaps. But in two days since the filing, two coaching staffs have come out in support of their owners. If the 'Skins and Saints are any indication, it's reasonable to think other staffs will be coming forward soon, too.

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Posted on: May 26, 2011 4:36 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2011 4:56 pm
 

Skins break ranks on NFLCA appeals brief

Posted by Will Brinson

On Wednesday, the NFL Coaches Association filed an amicus brief in support of the players' request to lift the lockout.

On Thursday, the Washington Redskins' coaching staff issued an interesting statement in which they renounce said brief.

"We stand united with our ownership and the brief does not reflect our thoughts on the matter," the letter reads, per Albert Breer of the NFL Network. "We, like everybody else, are hopeful we can return to playing football. ... Our former representative, Kirk Olivadotti, is no longer with the organization & no member of our ... staff was consulted."

According to Breer, 17 members of the Redskins staff signed the letter, though it did not include the signature of head coach Mike Shanahan, who is apparently considered part of "management."

The basic takeaway from the letter appears to be that the Redskins staff was none too pleased about the NFLCA filing their brief without checking first with the organization's coaches.

But then again, no coaches specifically attached their name to the NFLCA's brief, so perhaps this is just the first of many letters to leak in the media courtesy of coaching staffs.

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Posted on: May 25, 2011 4:34 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 9:10 pm
 

NFL Coaches Association brief: 'End the lockout'

Posted by Will Brinson

On Wednesday, the NFL Coaches Association became the newest party of interest to file an Amicus Brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

And, despite the stance of the people who cut their checks, the NFLCA cited numerous issues -- as well as CBSSports.com's own Mike Freeman! -- that the lockout would cause for coaches before urging the court to "end the lockout."

"The burdens of little job security and frequent moves mean that a prolonged lockout would inflict significant economic harm and career risks on the coaches," the NFL Coaches Association attorneys wrote in the brief.

Additionally, the NFLCA cited an aspect of the coaching business (or, at least, the business of negotiating coaches' contracts) that hadn't really been made public up to this point.

Namely, that teams were planning ahead when it came to how they wanted to pay their respective coaching staffs.

"Anticipating a lockout, the NFL teams for the past several years have been demanding a provision in the coaches employment contracts (which are negotiated individually with each coach) that authorizes the employing team to withhold part of a coach's salary in the event that league operations were suspended," the Coaches Association attorneys wrote.

There's nothing ethically wrong with negotiating such clauses into contracts. And the resulting money saved isn't part of the players' pie, like the "war chest" fund that was created as a result of television contract negotiations.
Owners Meetings/Labor News

But it still kind of leaves a bad taste to think that the NFL had been planning ahead for this summer and doing so at the expense of the men who put the finished product on the field.

"The Coaches Association offices with the Players Association in Washington," the NFL said, per Albert Breer of the NFL Network. "So this comes as no surprise."

Those men, however, went unnamed in the NFLCA's suit. No individual coach, as was the case with Brady v. NFL, was a named plaintiff in the suit.

But there is a reference to numerous coaches who are being particularly damaged by the lockout as a result of their inability to work with their new teams.

"The lockout, if left in force, will prevent the coaches from meaningfully preparing and readying themselves for the season," the brief reads. "While all the coaches will be exposed to greater risk of failure, the eight teams with new coaching staffs are at particular risk."

In a citation for that portion of the brief, the NFLCA also points out that "there are also three additional coaches who have only spent one season with their teams (Mike Shanahan, Chan Gailey, and Pete Carroll)" who will be significantly affected by the lockout.

Jack Del Rio and Gary Kubiak are specifically mentioned as coaches who "reportedly received an ultimatum from their team's owner that their teams must make the playoffs to keep their jobs."

In short, the NFLCA believes that close to half of the coaches in the NFL are being put at a systematic disadvantage by the the court's decision to continue the lockout.

"The NFLCA therefore urges the Court to grant the petitioners equitable relief and end the NFL lockout," the NFLCA's lawyers wrote in their conclusion. "Granting equitable relief will also permit the NFL’s coaches to avoid the irreparable harm that comes with delaying the start of preseason preparations and will give the coaches a fair chance to preserve their employment and advance their careers."

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com