Worst-case NFL labor scenario arrives

Worst-case NFL labor scenario arrives

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com
Stupidity reigns.The NFL Players Association, unhappy with the league's refusal to showthe last 10 years of financial records to prove their profits, folded their association today. The move - called decertification - means the NFLPA will no longer collectively bargain with the league. Instead, each NFL players is an individual contractor. As such, they can now legally demand a level of freedom the NFL didn't afford them when they were part of an association.Franchise tags restricting movement? Salary caps? NFL Draft? Puh. Unconstitutional. As an association, the players agreed to accept some things that were against fair trade practices as long as the NFLPA and the NFL collectivelybargained in good faith. Now that the union has decertified, individual players can take the NFL to court challenging that the NFL is and has been in violation of antitrust laws. Major League Baseball has an antitrust exemption. The NFL does not. Players like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Logan Mankins and Mike Vrabel have all agreed to be plaintiffs against the NFL in court. Judge David Doty in Minneapolis has jurisdiction over the NFL and NFLPA's battle. Historically, he's ruled in favor of the players. What now? The collective bargaining agreement and all the rules governing the league expired Friday night at midnight. When that happened, the owners - who are the ones demanding a change tothe current system- locked out the players. The players will maintain that they are ready to work as independent contractors for the agreed-upon wages. The NFLwill charge that the decertification is a sham - as it did in a statement Friday afternoon - and the players are just trying to expose the owners to an antitrust lawsuit. They will try to block decertification and accuse the players of trying to get the owners into court. The players will argue that they can't be locked out. That they have a right to work and that the NFL teams are executing a group boycott of the players. Damages in an antitrust lawsuit are "trebled" meaning they are multiplied by three. All these charges and arguments will land in front of Doty and the National Labor Relations Board. A couple of notes. You'll hear the owners argue and allege that the players bargained in bad faith. That they want litigation. That their goal all along was decertification. That's the NFL's way of trying to block the NFLPA's decertification. There is a chance that the courts can rule that the players must return to work under the "last, best offer" or under the rules of the final year of the last CBA. In short, a lot of different things can happen that - frankly - I'm not as up-to-date on as I would have been if I studied labor law. Do me a favor - look at thisto get the lowdown on decertification. Check this for all the possibilities of what comes next.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Reaction to weekend protests

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Reaction to weekend protests

0:41 - Tom Giles, Tom Curran, Kayce Smith, and Michael Holley discuss the National Anthem protests across the NFL over the weekend and the reactions to players kneeling.

10:07 - Michael Hurley joins the BST crew to talk about the Patriots' thrilling last-minute victory over the Texans and how concerning the Patriots' issues on defense are.

18:13 - Michael Holley and Kayce Smith discuss Kyrie Irving and LeBron James' comments about one another during Media Day, including LeBron referring to Kyrie as "The Kid" instead of his name.

22:30 - Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Mookie Betts and Eduardo Nunez both leaving with injuries during the Red Sox's Monday night loss to the Blue Jays, and other concerns surrounding the team heading into the postseason.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Prescott, Cowboys pull away to beat Cardinals, 28-17

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MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Prescott, Cowboys pull away to beat Cardinals, 28-17

GLENDALE, Ariz. , Dak Prescott kneeled with his teammates and team owner before the game, flipped head over heels for a touchdown in the first half and capped his night with a 37-yard TD pass that proved to be the game winner.

The Dallas Cowboys erased last week's ugly memory on Monday night, with their young quarterback leading the way.

"He just kept battling," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said.

"He kept making good decisions. Obviously he made some good plays, big-time throws, but as much as anything else he's got an amazing spirit and our players follow him."

The Cowboys (2-1), bouncing back from a 42-17 pummeling in Denver, began the game kneeling at midfield with owner Jerry Jones in a show of unity that followed widespread protests across the NFL of critical comments by President Donald Trump over the weekend.

After they kneeled, they stood and walked to the sideline and stood for the anthem.

"We planned and it was executed that we would go out and kneel," Jones said, "and basically make the statement regarding the need for unity and the need for equality."

Prescott, 13 of 18 for 183 yards, broke a 14-14 tie with a 37-yard scoring pass to Brice Butler with 11:52 to play.

"I immediately scrambled and when I scrambled Brice took the right angle and the right initiative going to the back of the end zone," Prescott said.

Arizona, with a spectacular catch by Larry Fitzgerald for 24 yards on a third-and-18 play, moved downfield but the drive stalled. Phil Dawson's 37-yard field goal cut the lead to 21-17 with 6:35 left.

Ezekiel Elliott, who gained 8 yards on nine carries against Denver and drew criticism for not hustling after a couple of late interceptions, was bottled up much of the game, but still gained 80 yards on 22 attempts, 30 on one play. He ran 8 yards for the final Cowboys touchdown.

The Cardinals (1-2), in their home opener, got a big game from Fitzgerald, who caught 13 passes for 149 yards, in the process moving ahead of Marvin Harrison into eighth in career receiving yards. The 13 receptions tied a career high.

"That's Fitz. It's Monday night," Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. "He's a money player. It was a great performance by him. It's a shame we couldn't play better around him."

Carson Palmer had a big first half, completed 15 of 18 for 145 yards and finished 29 of 48 for 325 yards and two scores. He was sacked six times, a career-high three by DeMarcus Lawrence.

The Cardinals dominated the first half statistically, but were deadlocked with the Cowboys at 7-7. Arizona had a 152-57 advantage in yards and dominated time of possession 19:34 to 9:41.

Arizona took the opening kickoff and went 82 yards in eight plays. Palmer was 5-for-5 on the drive, capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown.

Before Dallas even had a first down, Arizona mounted a nearly nine-minute drive but a touchdown pass to Brown was negated by a holding penalty and Phil Dawson's 36-yard field goal try was wide right. It was the third mid-range miss for the 41-year-old kicker this season.

And the miss left the door open for the Cowboys to get back in it.

Prescott scored on a 10-yard run, flipping head-first over the goal line to tie it at 7-7 with 3:33 left in the half.

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