Collusion

As many of you may know, on Wednesday May 23, the NFL Players Association filed suit against the 32 NFL teams in the case White v. National Football League, arguing that the NFL teams “engaged in a secret, recently-revealed collusive … agreement” to suppress player salaries and impose a $123 million salary cap for the uncapped 2010 season.  Last week, Elie Mystal shared his thoughts on the lawsuit.  Elie has since invited me to add some thoughts from a sports law perspective….

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The National Football League seems to be an unstoppable force of nature, led by a commissioner, Roger Goodell, who has managed to collectively bargain his way into being judge, jury, and executioner of league policy. NFL players often have to go outside of league offices and to United States courts to have their grievances heard, except that the NFL is just as indomitable in court as it is everywhere else.

But if you are going to defeat the NFL in court, claiming collusion is a better bet than most. The NFL has been busted for it before. And it’s really not that hard to infer when 32 or so owners get together to make a market crushing deal….

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It appears that the answer to that question is, “You’re welcome.”

If you made a list of people whose opinions matter when it comes to Biglaw bonuses, you couldn’t name ten people more important than Susan Webster. She’s the head of the general corporate practice at Cravath Swaine & Moore. If we knew how much she tipped her doorman, it would be big news.

But we can do better than that.

A tipster let us in on an overheard conversation between Webster and a Biglaw partner at a different firm. When we contacted her, Webster told us that the tipster mischaracterized the nature of her accidentally public conversation.

But why don’t you take a look, and prepare yourself for the possibility of a very sad spring….

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