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Email to NFLPA* reps questions NFL procedure to end lockout

Roger Goodell

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after a news conference at the NFL football Super Bowl XLV Media Center in Dallas, Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers will face each other in Super Bowl XLV Sunday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


The NFL may be telling fans about their plans for the coming week, but we do not have a labor agreement yet.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter got hold of an email sent to player reps Thursday night that makes it clear the players have issues with how the NFL ratified their settlement.

The email details how players received the NFL’s procedure for finalizing a settlement. The email says the NFL is requiring the players to re-form as a union and ratify the new CBA by Tuesday, July 26. (Fair enough.)

Here are the key two sections as we see it that should raise eyebrows around the league:

"[The settlement] gives the players only three days--Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of next week--to try to bargain any changes to the old CBA. Any such changes would have to be agreed to by the owners in order to be incorporated into the Agreement, which would then become final on Saturday, July 30. If the NFL does not agree to the players’ proposed changes, the old CBA terms on benefits, discipline, safety, etc. will remain unchanged for another ten years,” the email reads.

It gets worse.

“In addition to depriving the players of the time needed to consider forming a union and making needed changes to the old Agreement, this proposed procedure would in my view also violate federal labor laws. Those laws prohibit employers from coercing their employees into forming a union, and could result in any Agreement reached through the procedure being declared null and void,” the email finishes.


I’m not the legal expert around here, but that sure sounds like a bucket of cold water from the NFLPA* lawyers that appears to be discouraging a possible deal.

NFL outside counsel Jeff Pash indicated that he expects the players to ratify the deal because DeMaurice Smith negotiated it. Roger Goodell said he believed Smith will “take care of business.”

That email makes it clear that ratification from the players is hardly a given.