Our business analyst Andrew Brandt will be here in minutes to take your NFL and NBA lockout questions!
Welcome back to another chat. It's certainly a busy time. There are advanced negotiations going on in New York. In the middle of it all, the 8th Circuit has issued a ruling that allows the NFL to continue locking out its players. The ruling does have some balance, however, as it makes no ruling on the length of the owners labor exemption, thus allowing the underlying antitrust lawsuit of Brady v. NFL to continue. With all of this craziness abounding, I'll get to your questions.
Andrew, Reading into this ruling a bit- major win for the players no? The fact the can re-file the suit in Sept. and the owners can be on the hook for $30 billion is beyond scary for the owners.
I think the owners have always feared an anti-trust lawsuit, which is why they were so adament about continuing negotiations rather than going to court. The problem for the players has been while the initial strategy for decertification worked in the lower court, they were knocked down in the 8th Circuit and now face a locked out NFL for the foreseeable future, unless they make a deal. Although the merits of the antitrust lawsuit favor the players, the problem for the players is time. I don't believe that time will allow us to ever see a courtroom in Brady v. NFL.
how nasty can the NBA lockout get?
It's interesting that the public comments between the principles of the NBA lockout have been more cordial than those of the players in the NFL. And yet, the distance between the two parties is greater. Today's ruling in the 8th Circuit is a blow to the NBA players' union. Even though they have not pursued a strategy of decertification and litigation. If they were to do so, there would be problems with this 8th Circuit ruling regarding a lockout. But, yes, the NBA situation has a long way to go.
Do you think the league, seeing that they just got some bargaining power with this ruling? Could they change tactics?
One would hope that the official statement from the NFL and the NFLPA rings true, meaning that this decision will not derail or effect negotiations in any way. In theory, the NFL has a leverage tilt and could use it to forge more concessions. But my sense is that we're in such an advanced stage of negotiations that the ruling will not have a major effect.
Which league loses a higher percentage of their season?
We heard a lot about what was going on early on, and nothing got done, but now we are hearing nothing and a lot is getting done? Why is that?
The NFL and the NFLPA are under court order to keep these negotiations private and confidential. Also, attending the negotiations is mediator Arthur Boylen, who is reporting back to the courts. So, neither side wants to upset the trust from the courts by making public comments.
Andrew- thoughts on Deron Williams going to Turkey? We going to see more NBA players follow suit?
I think that is an interesting development, but I'd like to see it happen before making any bold pronouncements about it. Right now, he is scheduled to play in Turkey, assuming the NBA is locked out in late August. My sense is that if he has the proper insurance protection, along with an "out" if the NBA goes back into business, then he's alleviated a lot of the risk in going over. I do not see this as a trend, however, because of the lack of large money openings overseas.
20 years ago, I represented Danny Ferry when he turned his back on the NBA as the second pick in the draft and went to Rome. That was another isolated instance. The key for the NBA players is to somehow change the status quo and without a decertification threat, this may be a small way to change that.
We might not miss any of the NFL season, so what would this lockout accomplish?
Obviously, the lockout is owner driven. What they set out to accomplish was to change the system in a way that lessens the impact of declining profitability for their franchises. It's hard to know if they have achieved their goal until I see the final deal, but the reports are that the owners will get more than 50 percent. Ultimately the greatest accomplishment of this negotiation will be a long term CBA which could be as long as 10 years from what we're hearing, so we won't have to go through this again for a decade.
Do you think that if the NFL doesn't agree on a CBA by the end of next week that they will use the 2010 rules for this year and keep negotiating a new CBA for the 2012 season? This would garentee that nobody would lose money by missing games.
No. I do not see the players agreeing to the provisions of 2010, primarily one requiring 6 years for free agency. Ironically, the players would rather have a cap than no cap, as the cap insures a minimum spending requirement that an uncapped year did not require. I think the 2010 rules were an abhorration and the new CBA will look more like 2009 than 2010.
Andrew- assuming negotiations take place through the weekend is an agreement in principle possible for the middle of next week?
I do. I'm hesitant to put dates on these things because everything is so fluid and there are many moving parts, but my sense is that both sides are moving toward an agreement by this time next week. We can only hope.
Andrew- can these talks break down without mediator Boylen there as of tomorrow?
I think it's helpful to have him there, but I think he'll be keeping tabs from wherever he is and he will want to know details. He will still be able to chide either side if there is not meaningful negotiations.
Is there a possibility we have free agency take place before an agreement is reached? Based on today's ruling it seems that is a possibility that could make more of a mess
I don't think that's a possibility. I think there's language in the ruling that has a different treatment for free agents and rookies, but that will be subject to a hearing in front of Judge Nelson before any of the teams will be able to sign these players. And, of course, that will not happen immediately. Also, the NFL will not allow teams to sign players until there is an agreement.
Andrew, this 8th circuit ruling is a win for the players. The owners wouldn't dare risking $30 billion dollars by missing a season would they?
There is certainly a fear of an antitrust lawsuit by ownership, no question. But the problem for the players is time. While we have hearings on the lockout, the underlying case of Brady v. NFL is no where near a courtroom and probably won't be heard some time deep into 2012. One leverage point for the players in the lawsuit could be the discovery of NFL team financial records. But even that could be many months away.
Once an agreement is reached how long will be we wait for free agency to begin?
I think things will move expediently. The settlement would have to be blessed by Judge Nelson. There would have to be an opportunity for any discontented players to voice their complaint. But know that lawyers and officials have been working on details of a CBA for some time so that if and when an agreement is reached, things can move very quickly. So, I would anticipate the time from when an agreement is reached to the start of the 2011 year is 7-10 days.
Thanks for all of the great questions and following these labor pains through and hopefully one day we'll have the delivery of the baby and not just labor pains. I'll be on NFL Live at 4 and you can follow me on Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/adbrandt">@ADBrandt</a>.