Friday Sports Briefs

The Recertification of the NFLPA

Gabe Feldman has a quick and informative primer on the recertification of the players’ union (NFLPA) on NFL.com:

Why do the owners want the players to reform their union?
Because of a doctrine known as the “non-statutory labor exemption.” This exemption immunizes the terms of a CBA from attack under antitrust law. Essentially, players are required to choose labor law (and collective bargaining) or antitrust law (and individual bargaining and antitrust litigation). If the players choose labor law and negotiate a CBA with the owners, an antitrust shield is raised that prevents them from attacking NFL rules under the antitrust laws. The players tried to lower this shield March 11 by dissolving their union and filing an antitrust suit against the NFL. The owners want that antitrust shield raised again — they don’t want to be subject to antitrust attack by the players. Thus, the owners want the players to re-form their union and enter into a CBA.

Virginia Tech Helmet Study and NFL Liability

ESPN.com’s Gregg Easterbrook provides an in-depth look at Virginia Tech’s study concerning the safety of football helmets.  Easterbrook also tackles the issue of most NFL players wearing the least safe model helmet and the NFL’s refusal to mandate the safer models:

In a recent conference call with Pittsburgh Steelers season-ticket holders, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked why the league does not mandate the helmets that its own research shows are best. His reply was remarkably similar: “The fact of the matter is that several players who have been playing with a specific helmet since college years or even high school years and have not had any issues may feel very comfortable in their helmet, and if we tell them they have to wear a different helmet, that creates liability and other issues.”

SEC Commissioner on State of College Sports: We’ve lost benefit of the doubt

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive made a remarkable comment concerning the state of collegiate athletics this week:

“We don’t have the luxury of acting as if it’s business as usual,” Slive said, noting that he normally would have used that platform to tout recent successes like national titles in football and baseball. “And that’s been made clear by the headlines emanating from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Gulf to the Great Lakes.

“As NCAA President Mark Emmert has observed, the events giving rise to these headlines indicate that intercollegiate athletics has lost the benefit of the doubt.”

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