NFL, players take their fight to court

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“Even though football is enjoying this unprecedented popularity … nothing is invulnerable,” said David Allen Larson, a professor of labor and employment law at Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minn..

It’s the first work stoppage in the NFL since the 1987 strike _ and the first in any major U.S sports league since the NHL’s lockout-lost 2004-05 season. The players balked at more financial concessions when the owners wouldn’t open their books, and the owners insist the decertification of the union is a sham cooked up only to apply leverage in the fight.

Now, they don’t even agree on which laws apply to the case, with the owners arguing for labor law and the players preferring antitrust rules.

Nelson pressed Boies for much of the morning, asking if the antitrust exemption the league currently enjoys applies to a lockout after the union has decertified.

“The very fact that the union planned to do this affects what they do in the collective bargaining process,” Boies said.

Nelson responded that decertification is fair because the union gives up certain rights as well, including the right to strike.

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AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell and Associated Press Writer Amy Forliti contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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