Specter: Congress Should Intervene to End NFL Lockout

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Arlen Specter knows how to make news.

In an op-ed to the New York Times this weekend, the long-serving U.S. Senator urged Congressional action to solve the seemingly intractable National Football League players’ strike and owners’ lockout.

Citing the $5 billion economic impact that the 2011 season is projected to have (not including ticket sales and TV revenue), Specter argued that the antitrust exemptions granted the NFL by Congress gives the government leverage in the situation.

“With this much at stake, the country should not sit back and wait for the players and owners to reach an agreement on their own. Congress can — and should — intervene to force a resolution of the dispute.”

The former Senator cited his own efforts to push sports legislation; he sponsored a prohibition against financially successful franchises from moving (as the Philadelphia Eagles threatened in the 1980s), as well as a requirement that the NFL (and MLB) pay 75 percent of construction costs for a new stadium.

“Congress should place a special condition on the continuation of the N.F.L.’s antitrust exemption: the owners and players must abide by a settlement procedure known as last-best-offer arbitration,” Specter wrote, echoing his approach to labor issues while in office.

“This procedure would require the two sides to negotiate; if an agreement is not reached, each side would make its last best offer and an arbitrator would chose between the two. This arrangement creates an incentive for each side to make the more reasonable offer, lest the arbitrator pick the other side’s.”

Specter is Pennsylvania’s longest-serving Senator, having worked in Congress from 1981 to 2011. He is no stranger to controversial sports issue. He led the charge against the cheating New England Patriots during the Spygate ordeal, and fought to ban steroids from being sold as nutritional supplements.

June 19th, 2011 | Posted in Front Page Stories | 8 Comments

8 thoughts on “Specter: Congress Should Intervene to End NFL Lockout”

  1. ddb says:

    That’s why Mr. Spincter is no longer the senator from PA. Dumb Dumb DUMB areas to focus the strength and authority of the Congress and the Senate on. Football, Baseball, Basket Ball,,, name your sport , should not be taking the time of those who plan for our countries future.

    We have huge unemployment numbers and these seasonal jobs, those around a sport season will not help our nation appreciatively in the short term. I love football and hockey but I don’t want my elected officials devoting not 1 second of thought or time to these spoiled athletes.

  2. STEELBLITZ1 says:

    Point being, with no NFL season, buses restaurants, parking… with these not occurring in America’s major cities each Sunday, there will be a void and it not only hurts the players but also the restaurants, bus drivers etc. And hence, will hurt a businesses performance.

  3. Brilliant Arlen says:

    With all of the problems in this country, I’d be damn pissed off if Congress wastes its time with pro football. Let them work out their own problems.

  4. Will Carr says:

    Withdraw the anti-trust exemption and see how fast they settle the dispute!

  5. David Diano says:

    Specter makes a good point. If they want to retain their special anti-trust exemption, they should abide some oversight.

  6. Bleem Filk says:

    Another “magic bullet,” Arlen?

  7. Zesty says:

    This is so reasonable. How could any argue with this.

    If not acceptable, why not pick the “last best offers” that impede the beginning of the season (free agency, training camp, etc), and let then season start while other negotiations continue on other, revenue, but not “NFL Season” crucial disagreements…?

    The NFL and NFLPA are only negotiating one their own behalves. The government needs to step in tomrepresent the voters who elected them. Anyone owning or employed by a hotel, or restaurant, or hot dog vendor, or athletic apparel store, or cable operator…. The list goes on.

    The government needs to step in.

  8. Trent Hone says:

    Having congress dictate the NFL’s agreement is the most debasing solution yet!

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