Gil T.Azell wrote:
Tiny Timby wrote:
This is going nuclear, and unless there is a swift resolution, this could easily impact next season, too.
DEFCON 3 ??
Not liking this at all.
When the disclaimer of interest is filed, the situation would be at DEFCON 2. And when the first antitrust lawsuit is filed (within about ten seconds after the disclaimer filing), then we're at a whole new level of warfare and shit has gotten real.
The NHL has been trying to divide the union for months and saying that Fehr is manipulating a broken, divided union ... and then 97 percent of the union membership voted to go nuclear. Yep, Fehr sure doesn't have the support of his constituents, Bettman.
This is the situation that the league has been terrified of from the moment the NHLPA hired Fehr (and why they've been trying to demonize him for well over a year). If this reaches the court, there is a very real, non-zero possibility that it establishes precedent that changes the landscape of professional sports in North America, in that it would provide a path forward for players defeating lockouts and forcing them to continue being paid under the terms of existing contracts while CBA negotiations continue. That would be a real issue because the NFL and NBA have become accustomed to being able to lock players out and use their superior financial resources to outlast the players until a new CBA is reached. There's also the very real possibility that the non-statutory labor exemption gets blown up in court. That exemption is basically the backbone for all of the cartel-like stuff that North American sports leagues get away with: Drafts, restrictions on free agency, salary caps, etc., that would normally be laughed out of court because they are so ridiculously anti-competitive.
The key provision of the non-statutory exemption is that it HAS to be run in cooperation with a legitimate, adversarial union through a negotiated CBA. No union, no exemption. That is very scary to owners who want to have their private boys' club where they control all the strings and can manipulate civic governments and players and fans in ways that no other business ever could.
I've always found it very ironic that here in the United States, land of the free market above all, we've allowed arguably our largest entertainment product (pro sports) to be run essentially as something roughly analogous to pre-capitalist feudal fiefdoms. Meanwhile, those commie Europeans and their communist Marxisms have taken much more of a pro-competition free-market approach to their sports leagues.
tl;dr: Roger Goodell and David Stern will have Bettman murdered if this gets to the courts and a decision is reached in favor of the players.