The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) has already begun to pursue the same legal strategy that produced a key victory for NFL players, CBSSports.com reported Tuesday.
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The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement expires July 1 and the sides are reportedly far apart on a new deal. With many predicting a lockout by the owners, the NBPA has already collected enough signatures to decertify as a union, according to the report.
NFL players decertified their union March 11, hours before the owners declared a lockout, and filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league.
On Monday, a federal judge in Minneapolis granted the players’ request for an injunction to end the lockout after the players argued it was causing them irreparable financial harm. The NFL is expected to appeal the ruling to the Eighth Circuit.
If Monday’s ruling by US District Judge Susan Richard Nelson holds up on appeal, it would provide a precedent for a potential antitrust lawsuit to counter an NBA lockout.
"This is a victory for all professional sports unions," Gabe Feldman, head of the Sports Law Center at Tulane University, told CBS Sports.
"If the case stands up on appeal, it gives player unions a significant, though costly, weapon to use as leverage in labor negotiations," Feldman said.