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NFL Owners, Players Have One Last Gasp To Close The Labor Gap

Publication Date: 
March 02, 2011
USA Today
Jarrett Bell

Professor William B. Gould expressed his reactions to the National Football League's ongoing labor dispute and provided legal analysis on the role of collective bargaining in sports. USA Today's Jarrett Bell quoted the professor in the following story:

With the clock ticking toward Thursday night's expiration of pro football's bedrock labor deal, the league, its 1,900 players, coaches and staffers and the legion of fans who have supported the nation's most popular sport are at the crossroads.

TIMELINE: NFL labor disputes have a long history
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OWNERS: Little said, but Irsay preaches patience

"Business and frustration, they just go hand in hand," Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said Wednesday, after NFL owners met for three hours at a hotel in suburban Washington, D.C.


"Everybody's making money, so it's a little surprising to see the differences have become so great," says William Gould, Stanford law professor and former chairman of the NLRB. "On the other hand, you're seeing more collective bargaining negotiations where big-time employers like the NFL are saying, 'We're making money but we're concerned about costs and need to tighten our belts.' "


Gould, however, says that, based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in another case, the NBA is legally obligated to full disclosure because it has asserted that it cannot afford to pay its player costs, leaguewide, with at least 17 franchises reporting losses. The NFL hasn't stated such a crisis.

"When an employer says, 'I can't pay you because I am not able,' then there's an obligation to verify that assertion by opening the books," Gould says.