Work Stoppage

NFL Lockout Under Way

This has been a bad week for collective-bargaining agreements. National Football League team owners locked out the league’s players Saturday, shutting down pro football for the first time since 1987. The owners took this course of action after labor talks with the players’ union collapsed Friday, with the two sides failing to come to terms on a new collective-bargaining agreement by a set 5 p.m. deadline—their 16th day of mediated talks—resulting in players decertifying the NFL Players Association, and moving the dispute into the courts. After the decertification, the NFL Players Association filed antitrust litigation against the owners late Friday, with star quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees among the 10 named plaintiffs. Owners have criticized the NFLPA’s refusal to alter its stance on key issues, while the player’s union, headed by executive director DeMaurice Smith, demanded the owners turn over 10 years’ worth of audited financial records. Neither side complied. The central issue is how to divide the $9 billion in annual revenue that the NFL generates. Under the current deal, owners receive $1.3 billion off the top and players get 60 percent of the rest. Owners wanted an additional $1 billion before the players’ share kicked in. With the regular season six months away, there’s no telling whether this will result in any type of delay.