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Muller: NFL Labor Dispute Hits A Snag; Retired Players File Lawsuit

By Shawn Muller--

(CBS) Well, it is now the beginning of July and the NFL owners and the current players are still trying to agree to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement that would end what has become a ridiculous standoff between the two sides.

The parties have met five times during the past couple of weeks, and while it seemed that the battle between the owners and the players appeared to be nearing resolution, thus ending the lockout and resuming football operations, a potential snag may have just derailed the talks, again, for the time being.

That potential "snag" would be a group of retired NFL players.

According to reports, the group of former players filed a federal claim against the owners and current NFL players. Apparently, the retired players believe that they have been ignored and excluded from the mediation sessions that are taking place in an effort to end the lockout.

The former players want U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson to cease the meditations and proclaim that current players do not have the right to negotiate terms of a deal on behalf of the retirees.

I have long felt that the owners and the current players were/are being ridiculous during the lockout. Anytime you see billionaires arguing with millionaires over money, it is hard to have any sort of tolerance for such selfish behavior. But when you add a group of former players to the mix--who believe they deserve a bigger piece of the pie as well--it is easy to see why this lockout--or should I say circus act--has been dragging on since March 11th.

But do the former players actually have a legitimate case?

They claim that the owners, the NFLPA, and some current players--most notably Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees--are, "conspiring to depress the amounts of pension and disability benefits to be paid to former NFL players in order to maximize the salaries and benefits to current NFL players."

While I don't think it is some huge conspiracy set forth by players like Brady, Manning, and Brees, to minimize retired players' pensions and benefits. I do, in fact, think they have a legitimate argument for feeling the way that they do.

Prior to the disbandment of the NFLPA, representatives for retired players were present during the CBA negotiations. But, since the disbandment, the retired players have not had a voice in the hearings.

There are decisions that are going to be made that directly involve retired players, and since the NFLPA disbanded, the do not have the right to bargain on the behalf of said retirees. Doing so would definitely suffice as a violation of anti-trust laws.

While the fans made the NFL the money making machine that it is today, it is the former NFL players that put the sport on the map.

There is a lot of money to go around, so some of it should definitely go to the men of yesteryear. One would think that current players would make sure that the pension was taken care prior to the disbandment of the NFLPA. Because no matter how good or how bad, or how famous or unknown a guy is now, one day, all of them will be former NFL players.

Do you agree with Shawn? Post your comments below.

Jeff Pearl
Shawn Muller

Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser" every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at Read more of his blogs here.

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