Does the union’s decertification strategy have legs?
It is part of a plan hatched in August with the NFLPA Decertification Tour 2010, when the union got authorization from each team to take this step. Now they have bared this ammunition again to try to shift the leverage.
The fact that NFL owners took a preemptive strike a week on this issue --filing an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB to have decertification ruled a “sham” – tells me that the decertification option scares them.
I do believe this: were the union to go down this path, any goodwill and relationship building with the NFL will be flushed down the drain. If litigation is the way they want to fight, the NFL has plenty of litigators on call. They will fight, delay and appeal the battle at least through the fall, counting on player solidarity in March to fade into the distance by September when the real money starts going in.
Decertification has some potential reward for the union but also high risk. With the late Gene Upshaw leading the charge twenty years ago, it was seen as innovative. Were DeMaurice Smith to repeat it, it would be seen as a legal strategy trying to duplicate the past.