NFL Player’s Association

Eric Winston

Eric Winston, the current president of the NFL Players Association, has had a busy past few weeks. In addition to working with the Players’ Union to negotiate a new drug policy, Winston has had to deal with rather unprecedented discipline situations surrounding Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, among others, not to mention the questions surrounding NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

But there’s a reason he was elected. Eric is incredibly intelligent and one of the more thoughtful interviewees in sports. Eric’s been nice enough to join me for a conversation about recent developments in collective bargaining, player discipline, and due process that will develop over the course of the next few days. Check back as our conversation develops…

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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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