Sports Law Expert: Season Can be Saved
What exactly does today’s decision by the players’ union to file a disclaimer of interest mean?
To make some sense of this, I (Josh Robbins) spoke with Gabriel Feldman, a professor who directs the Sports Law Program at Tulane Law School.
OS: So is the ultimate upshot here that a season is now much less likely after today’s events?
I don’t know that it’s “much less likely.” I just think that the upshot here is that the players have taken a significant step to try to gain leverage at the bargaining table and the upshot is that the season will certainly not start as quickly as it would have without the disclaimer.
But it doesn’t mean that the season won’t happen. I think a much more shortened season is an inevitability at this point. But the litigation process could take place quickly enough to allow the players and the owners to determine how much leverage they have. It wouldn’t mean an entire antitrust lawsuit is litigated because that could take years. But the preliminary fights could take place in a manner of weeks and could be resolved in time to save part of the regular season.
Folks have discussed this as the “nuclear option,” and David Stern himself has said we’re in for a “nuclear winter.” It’s not irreparable harm here. They can put the pieces back together in time to save the season.