Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, penned an op/ed for this coming Sunday’s Washington Post regarding next Wednesday’s case, American Needle Inc. v. NFL. He argues that if the Supreme Court affirms the Seventh Circuit’s decision that the 32 NFL teams operate as a single business entity, therefore cannot violate antitrust laws, the ramifications for pro sports would be ruinous:
[I]f the Supreme Court agrees with the NFL’s argument that the teams act as a single entity rather than as 32 separate, vigorously competitive and extremely profitable entities, the absence of antitrust scrutiny would enable the owners to exert total control over this multibillion-dollar business.
What might the owners do? They could agree to end or severely restrict free agency, continue to enter into exclusive agreements that will further raise prices on merchandise, lock coaches into salary scales that don’t reward them when they’re promoted and set higher ticket prices (including preventing teams from competing through ticket discounts). These and other concerns prompted the NFL Players Association — along with the players associations of Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League — to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court last fall, arguing against the notion of the NFL as a single entity.
F1@1F will be out on the pavement early Wednesday morning for American Needle. Be sure to follow the F1@1F Twitter feed, viewable under “On the Ground” in the sidebar, for updates from the line. If some pro football player who couldn’t score a reserved seat inside the Court tries to muscle his way past me in line, you will hear here first. And if I survive the morning frost and any mad footballers, then check back here later that day for a full write-up of what went on inside and outside the Court.