When Judge Nelson ruled in favor of the players to end the lockout, obviously NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was not happy. He represents the league and wrote a column on WSJ.com about what possibly could happen if the players were to win this court case that is still being decided.
Goodell notes the drastic changes that could end up happening if no deal is reached and the court rules that the league was operating against antitrust laws once the NFLPA decertified.
Some of the thing he mentioned are very scary. One was the elimination of the draft, making a football career like every other college graduate. It would be a free for all and the richest teams would have even more of a competitive advantage.
Every player would enter the league as a free agent. There would be no limits or minimums on contracts, and every team could viably operate differently.
This situation, says Goodell, would ruin everything.
It is clear that he is speaking in extremes, but he is right, especially if the players' lawyers have changed their tune to sound more extreme, rather than argue that they just want to work on a new deal but operate under 2010 rules in the meantime.
I think the players understand the protections that a CBA provides. I don't think that any of this will happen. If it were, I imagine that there would be enough of the less elite players that would set themselves apart and form their own new organization and negotiate a new deal.
In the end, it would appear that the decertification was a fame and that this was simply a ploy to gain more leverage. The players know that an agreement that is collectively bargained is the best way to protect the interests for all those involved.
Eventually a deal will get done, but unfortunately there will be hard feelings. Just hopefully it is soon enough to have a real training camp with players that have ratified a new deal.