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Report: Union plans to decertify

DeMaurice Smith, Kevin Mawae

DeMaurice Smith, right, Executive Director of the NFL Players Association responds to a question during a news conference as the association’s president Kevin Mawae, left, and team representatives listen in during a news conference Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)


Get ready for the labor battle to be turned up a notch.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen report that the NFLPA will decertify by Thursday in the hopes of stopping the NFL owners from locking the players out.

This move would further push the NFL-NFLPA standoff from the negotiating table into the courtrooms. The NFL is expected to contest any decertification as a sham. The battle could open up a lot of antitrust issues.

The NFL and NFLPA are set to re-start federally mediated negotiations on March 1 under this cloud of decertification.

I’m not the legal expert around these parts, and will defer to Florio on the topic. But you don’t need to be a legal expert to know this back-and-forth is all about leverage, and decertification is an attempt by the NFLPA to gain the upper hand.

It’s a reminder that we can expect to settle in for a protracted battle. As if we needed another one.