The NFLPA filed a complaint today over the TV deals the league has that would still pay them even if there is no football in 2011.
The NFLPA argues in the complaint that, under their 17-year-old agreement with the NFL, the NFL cannot breach its fiduciary duties to the players in order to strengthen its bargaining position. Furthermore, the NFLPA says that the NFL’s inclusion of the lockout provisions is a clear violation of the contract because the league didn’t use its best efforts in good faith to maximize total revenues from DirecTV, Fox, CBS and NBC. Reports on the recent re-negotiations of the ESPN contract indicate that it will likely incorporate similar lockout payment provisions.
This is just the latest chess move in what is going to be a long process between now and next season. I am still have trouble believing there will actually be a lockout, but it does appear more and more likely everyday.
UPDATE: Here is the NFL's response:
"The television contracts that the union attacked today were agreed to during the worst economy in our lifetimes. Far from failing to maximize revenue, the contracts grew league revenue to fund higher player salaries and benefits. No wonder DeMaurice Smith said publicly this year, ‘My hat’s off to Roger Goodell. Television is locked up until 2014 to the tune of about $5 billion a year.’ The union’s meritless charges, including many inaccuracies, will be addressed in the proper forum, but they are simply a distraction and do nothing to get us any closer to a new CBA."