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Report: NFL Players Association To Decertify By Thursday

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Well, the potential mess is going to get a little bit messier.

ESPN is citing "multiple sources" in saying that, barring a last-minute miracle agreement, the National Football League Players Association will decertify itself by Thursday in order to head off a potential lockout by the owners. The current CBA expires this Thursday, March 3, at 11:59 PM Eastern time. If the players wait until after that to decertify, they have to wait for six months to do so, according to the report.

"So, what does the union get if they decertify," you might ask? Well, here's the answer.

If the union decertifies, it is no longer a union, and the National Labor Relations Board loses its hold over the NFLPA.

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The primary reason for decertification would be to file for an injunction that, if granted, would prevent the owners from locking out the players. NFLPA officials and players believe that this could be the only hope to have a full NFL season next year. Furthermore, decertifying as a union prior to the expiration of the CBA would allow NFL players to seek injunctive relief and commence anti-trust action against owners in front of U.S. District Court Judge David Doty, who has had jurisdiction over the current labor agreement since 1993. Owners have attempted unsuccessfully to have Doty removed from jurisdiction and strategically want the CBA to expire to effectively eliminate his authority, a source said.

The league has wanted Doty removed from any sort of jurisdiction as far as the league is concerned, probably because he's been consistently pro-player and pro-NFLPA in most of his decisions. If the CBA were allowed to expire, any matters pertaining to it would no longer be held in front of Judge Doty. However, since the decertification of the union would happen prior to the expiration of the CBA, anything connected to it would be under Judge Doty's jurisdiction.

To put it mildly. . .if there was any hope of the legal wrangling concerning a lockout happening any time soon, I do believe that it's now slowly circling the proverbial bowl.