CHICAGO (CBS) — The NFLPA has announced that it informed the NFL, and the teams, that it’s renounced its status as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of the players of the National Football League.
The move makes the league’s first work stoppage since 1987 a near-certainty.
The decertification allows for individual players to sue the NFL for violation of anti-trust laws. Instead of the new collective bargaining agreement being worked out at a negotiating table, the two sides could now take to a court room.
The players’ union and the NFL have been working for over two weeks in federally mediated negotiations sessions, and twice extended the deadline of the current CBA, in hopes that they could reach a compromise. The major sticking point in the negotiations is believed to be the split of the estimated $9 billion in revenue. Currently the players receive 60 percent, but the owners are pushing for closer to a 50-50 split.
The players union has said that they are open to a more equal split in revenue, but want to see team financial records before that happens. The owners have resisted opening up their books, but have offered to bring in an independent auditor.
“They’re saying they’re losing money and not making money,” Bears kicker Robbie Gould said. “But I tell you what, I’ll take ownership of the Bears tomorrow if they’re losing money. Because quite honestly, I think every team is making money. As players we want to play.”
Chicago sports business manager Marc Ganis was watching the developments Friday and thought both sides misstepped.
“These are two parties that, whether they like it or not, are locked arm in arm. They either walk to the bank together or they walk over the cliff together,” Ganis told CBS 2’s Pamela Jones. “Today, for whatever reason, was to walk over the cliff.”
Information from the Associated Press has contributed to this report.