Zachary Okun

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With a new, eleven-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) upon us, this paper will discuss in Section II what a CBA is, the purpose CBAs serve, and the function and historical treatment of the NFL’s CBA by the courts. Section II will also explain the NFL arbitration process, the reason the NFL fights so hard to enforce arbitration, and why the players should have been more cognizant of the provisions within the CBA which act to insulate the NFL and its Clubs from common law tort liability. Section III will discuss the NFL’s historical reliance of the LMRA §301 preemption defense; how the holdings in Dent v. Nat’l Football League undermined that reliance; how legal scholars projected that this would affect the 2020 NFL CBA; and how the holding in Dent was rendered inconsequential because of the provisional language included in the 2020 NFL CBA. Section III will also discuss the reasons the 2020 NFL CBA favors the owners over the players. Finally, Section IV will discuss the reasons the National Football League Players Association (“NFLPA”) failed to capitalize on its elevated bargaining position, and how it can prevent a similar issue from occurring in the future by more heavily involving its veterans and stars in the negotiations process.