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Sean Gilbert proposes an alternative league during a lockout


NFLPA executive director candidate Sean Gilbert has been clear in his belief that a strike won’t work. And he’s right; in a strike, picket lines can and will be crossed, especially if the NFL uses replacement players, like it did in 1987.

If Gilbert’s proposed collusion claim resulted in a premature termination of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the league and the union can work out a new deal, the players can strike, or the owners can lock out the players.

Gilbert’s leverage against a lockout arises from a proposal to form an alternative league and to sell the broadcast rights to Internet-based broadcasters.

During the 2011 lockout, scattered talk emerged of player-organized games that would generate revenue pending resolution of the dispute. But the league’s broadcast partners surely wouldn’t touch those games, for fear of alienating the NFL.

The next time there’s a lockout (whether after a successful collusion claim or upon completion of the current labor deal), the Internet gives the players a viable, and possibly lucrative, alternative during an owner-imposed work stoppage.