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A Second Front To Open In The Labor Battle

Publication Date: 
March 20, 2011
The New York Times
Judy Battista

Professor William Gould spoke with New York Times reporter Judy Battista about what could happen if the general counsel were to issue a complaint in the NFL Labor dispute.

Last week, Kevin Mawae, the president of the now-dissolved N.F.L. players union, sought to explain the status of the owners’ accusation now before the National Labor Relations Board that the union had not negotiated in good faith.

“We’re not a union anymore,” Mawae said. “So any case by the N.L.R.B. is trumped by a decertification. So we’re not a union anymore, so it doesn’t matter.”

That depends on whom you ask. The N.L.R.B. thread of the standoff between players and owners after negotiations broke off March 11 remains in its earliest phase.


“It’s a cutting edge issue; there’s an awful lot the general counsel is going to have to look at,” said Prof. William Gould of Stanford Law School, a former chairman of the N.L.R.B.

The owners faced a “real challenge,” Gould said, but it was not insurmountable. “If they got the general counsel to issue a complaint, then I think it is quite likely the board would go into federal District Court and try to enjoin the antitrust proceedings, which the board would maintain would interfere with their jurisdiction.”