NFL Players Want Agreement to End Lockout

July 19, 2011

Players from USA’s American Football league, the National Football League (NFL), say they want to settle multiple legal cases simultaneously as part of a new labour agreement that would end the four-month lockout of the country’s most popular sport.

George Atallah, a spokesman for the NFL Players Association, said that work remains to be done even though the sides are close to an agreement that would reopen the league before the scheduled start of the season.

He said: “Nobody cheers for you at mile 25 of a marathon.You still have to cross the finish line. There still are things that can get you tripped up and we’re going to push through.”

NFL owners could ratify an agreement at a meeting scheduled for July 21 in Atlanta.

The Associated Press said that if an agreement is ratified that day, team executives would be briefed on the effects on league business, including rookie salaries and guidelines for player transactions.

Any agreement would also have to be approved by players.

NFL owners in March locked out players, who sued in federal court claiming antitrust violations and wage fixing, behind Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. A federal appeals court upheld the lockout two weeks ago, saying a lower court erred in blocking it.

Atallah said players would prefer a “global settlement” that ends all cases. The sides also await a decision by U.S. District Judge David Doty, who ruled in March that owners didn’t negotiate television contracts fairly. Players then asked him to place US$4 billion in escrow during the lockout.

The sides are trying to reach a deal before missing one or more rounds of preseason games, which the league estimates are worth about US$200 million in revenue each week.

The start of the NFL regular season is scheduled for September 8.