(3:30pm ET) UPDATED WITH NFLPA RESPONSE
THIS IS BREAKING NEWS…..
The already acrimonious relationship between the NFL and the NFL Players Association has kicked up another notch as the league has reportedly filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board.
The NFL is claiming that the NFLPA is planning to decertify – dissolving and ostensibly becoming a trade association – that would then make a lockout of the players illegal. According to Daniel Kaplan of the SportsBusiness Journal/Daily, the “NFL charges NFLPA engaged in surface bargaining and asks NLRB to force union to engage.”
The NFLPA responded in a statement saying, "The players didn't walk out, and the players can’t lockout. Players want a fair, new and long-term deal. We have offered proposals and solutions on every issue the owners have raised. This claim has absolutely no merit."
A move by the NFLPA to decertify would be fraught with risk. The union for the players did so last during the 1987 strike. The legal maneuvering worked then, working to get free agency for the players. The union then resurfaced in 1993.
If the NFLPA were to attempt such a move, the NFL would likely challenge calling the move a sham based on the move in 1987. There is also the chance that other leadership might move in to create a new players union.
In related news, Liz Mullen of the SBJ reports via Twitter that no decision had been made on a NFLPA conference call with agents today on holding kids out of the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, which runs from February 23 and ends on March 1, just two days before the current CBA in the NFL is set to expire. According to Mullen, the NFLPA will be talking to rookies leading up to the decision.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
Follow Maury Brown on Twitter
Follow The Biz of Football on Twitter
Follow the Business of Sports Network on Facebook