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The Legal Issues and Process of Decertification - From a Sports Law Professor

Here's a terrific article on Decertification by Michael McCann a sports law professor and the Sports Law Institute director at Vermont Law School. A few of the highlights:

1. "Decertification ... Players would become independent employees of NBA teams and would lose union protections they currently enjoy."

2. "Decertification would provide players with a powerful legal weapon: the ability to file federal antitrust litigation against the league."

3. "How likely is it that the players would prevail in an antitrust litigation? Not likely."

4. "Decertification would probably be followed by the filing of antitrust litigation, which would take weeks or months to unravel, let alone resolve. ... the litigation process itself would give commissioner David Stern greater reason to cancel the remainder of the season."

 

5. "The NBA also boldly demands that if the union decertifies in a way endorsed by a court, the league should be able to declare all player contracts void and unenforceable. The league insists that because the Uniform Player Contract (signed by every NBA player) is contained in and governed by the collective bargaining agreement, player contracts should become void once the collective bargaining relationship between the league and players ends."

 

Do the rank and file players really want to go down this route, which will undoubtably mean an end to at least the 2011-12 season, and then try to get new deals that are as good as they have now without a CBA? The super-stars would certainly do better, but will the rank and file players believe they are going to get better deals without a CBA? What incentive will owners have to give guaranteed contracts to average players? Those players better hope they never get injured. In a post-decertification NBA it will may take years in court for players to get favorable rulings (if they get them at all) that the owners are violating antitrust laws. 

 

 

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