The NFL made a last ditch effort to come to an agreement with the NFLPA, but it was rejected and the union decertified late yesterday, which was followed by the official beginning of the lockout just after midnight. The decertification move forces the battle into federal court, which likely will take months to resolve. The players have filed a motion to block a lockout, which if passed would allow the beginning of free agency, but it’s unclear what the rules would be at this point. The only thing that is abundantly clear is that football as we know it is in danger.
For Bengals fans, we have to fear what the union is asking for: that the league be treated as 32 separate businesses that cannot set rules collectively as a single entity. If that happens, we will be rooting for the team with the worst ownership of the 32. If the players lawsuit is found to be valid, then any move by the NFL to limit the freedom of players to work in the marketplace (even the draft) could lead to a antitrust lawsuit. If Mike Brown has to outbid the big money teams for it’s players, we might as well find something else to do with our free time.