This documentary explores the lawsuit "MacKey v. National Football League", which illustrates how anti-trust law relates to professional sports and how the courts helped mold professional football. Includes an interview with Minnesota Viking's Alan Page. Fifth in a series of documentary programs on the role of the courts, legislative action, and law in a changing society.
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National anthem comes to you on a brilliant bright sunny day from Metropolitan stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota Public Radio the role of the courts in a changing Society. These programs are produced by NPR with a financial assistance of the Minnesota State Bar foundation and the Nash Foundation today. We enter the world of professional football in order to look at a few aspects of our nation's antitrust laws will see how in the last few years the antitrust laws combined with labor law and labor Strife to drastically alter procedures rules and working conditions for players in the National Football League professional football is America's number one spectator sport and of the last decade Americans who viewed unprecedented turmoil and change in their favorite sport in addition to the more predictable.Is like rushing records kicking records and attendance records. There's been almost as much conflict off the field as on. We seen the merger of the American Football League with a National Football League and attempts to start a world football league and the universal Football League. Will you seen charges of illegal gambling which almost caused Joe Namath to leave the sport and which forced many team owners to take lie detector test there been charges of drug trafficking among players and estimates that as many as one-third of the players at one time took amphetamine there been legal actions and federal pricing commission investigations in the ticket price has there been lawsuits and Congressional actions over at TV blackouts of home games and television broadcast contract worth two hundred million dollars. We seen years of disagreement over artificial turf & years moreover Stadium facilities to say nothing of the fact that we watched Minnesota lose the Super Bowl 4 times. Stop right behind the none of these events have had as much effect on the game as the conflict in the last decade between the players and the team owners. It is part of that conflict which provides the focus of this program. And one of the central figures in that conflict is one of the greatest defensive players in the history of the game. The only interior lineman to win the NFL Most Valuable Player award, Minnesota is Alan Page. I suppose it all started for me. And when I first signed my first contract I came to training camp they had every at that time. They had everybody sign a release for licensing programs. And I said here you got to sign it and it wasn't like, you know take a look at it and see what it is. And if you want to sign a sign if you have to sign it if you want to if you don't want to create a lot of problems for yourself in 1968 the long-dormant National Football League Players Association became a union the officially recognized bargaining agent for professional football players soon afterwards, the men in the Players Association did begin to create a lot of problems for themselves players believe that for too many years to team owners had manipulated them and treated them as little more than the cattle among other things began to complain about Petty unnecessary rules. I mean, they say you can't have you know players wearing beards. You can't have players bizarre things. You can't have players walking around, you know in training camp in in sandals without socks on we just That's the kind of stuff that went on and it's just really strange. It was really but there were other more substitute issues as well option Clause standard player contract neutral arbitration. That's the thing as an example. The standard player contract binds you to your team forever. Until they want to let you go became the Vikings player representative in 1970 at that time. Jim thinks was the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings and was part of the negotiating team for the other side the owners management Council long and often with the association and Through the 1973 season and then I was again retained to be a member of the negotiating committee committee committee in the spring of 1974. And then after a series of real severe problem strikes and lockouts an awful lot of dialogue. We did it affect an agreement last although the two sides finally reached agreement last bring their relationship for several years was highlighted more by strikes and lockouts and by dialogue they were walkouts in the brief strike in 1968 and 1970. There was a strike and some lockouts over pension a grievance procedures and a Federal grand jury began looking into claims that players were blackballed for unpopular actions in 1972, the National Labor Relations Board began investigating complaints to the National Football League owners were not bargaining in good faith in 1974. There was a bitter 42 day strike in which the players were soundly in 1975 another strike fizzled. Meanwhile The Players Association was weakening and leaders such as Bill Currie Kermit Alexander Tom Keating and Ken Reeves. We're getting way Traded and cut i-formation to beat mad. The early 1970s were unpleasant times for The Players Association. We presented those demands and they took them and said they get back to us in the meeting lasted about an hour hour-and-a-half something like that that went on. for the better part of two years meeting with them and nothing was resolved early on individual players and their Association realize that your negotiation with the owners would get them nowhere. Although the players have the support of the public the owners had the money and the power and they would not budge an inch so many players both individually and collectively began lawsuits in the courts to seek redress of their grievances going out to text back. lady on the bus like all over the place number 73 Hear ye hear. Ye the United States district court for the District of Minnesota is now in session judge Earl Larson presiding on today's docket the case of Mets versus the National Football League. Please be attentive and conduct yourself with proper respect for the law. It was in 1599 that the legendary Juris sir Edward Coke established the principle that monopolies were forbidden by the common law of the land little did Lord Coke realize at the time that his sentiments would influence the course of modern-day professional football. It was almost three centuries after Cokes are up but a strong Avenue Monopoly or antitrust sentiment Blossom the new in the United States that sentiment a rose in the Great Plains with the farmers Grange organization and it spread quickly as the rise of industrial capitalism brought about huge unpopular concentrations of economic power concentrations, like the Standard Oil trust the steel trust and the whiskey Trust Publix corn was so strong than 1890 a conservative Congress was pressured to pass the Sherman Antitrust Act that act has a history of weak and erratic enforcement. In fact, the courts originally applied to access restrictions much more against labor unions that against business combinations. Congress tried to stop that tendency with The Clayton Act in 1914, but the courts continue to use at a press legislation more against labor than against business that continued until more sweeping social legislation was passed during the Great Depression those laws exempting labor organization from the effects of the antitrust laws were to be applied in the case of Mackay versus the National Football League. Chuck Foreman number 44 the Vikings trailing at seven a nothing and a we still have 13 minutes remaining here on the 1st. I gain at 5 and also to be applied in the Mackay case where the more Paramount issues of antitrust law antitrust law is supposed to encourage business competition and discourage monopolistic concentrations of capital to that in certain business practices are forbidden these include practices, like price-fixing division of markets among competitors predatory price cutting group boycott certain interlocking corporate directorships unnecessary industry concentration and the use of trade associations to encourage cooperation among competitors. Now the National Football League is really a trade Association composed of the owners of the 26 NFL teams it is that trade Association which pays NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle which establishes the rules of the game which arranges the big money television contracts and which negotiates with the football players Trade union the National Football League Players Association, and it was the power of the NFL Owners Association, which was vigorously attacked by labor organizing and litigation in the last 10 years. Stop behind the line of scrimmage in this program will scrutinise two aspects of the decision in Mackay versus the NFL first how the courts balance conflicting provisions of Labor and antitrust laws and second how the courts apply different antitrust criteria in different business situations. Curiously for many years professional sports had enjoyed an immunity from antitrust laws in 1922 Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote a long-standing decision saying that organized baseball was a sport not a business and it's such a wonderful National Pastime should not be constrained by antitrust laws, which were more properly apply. The business is like Standard Oil out Cola and Dupont in 1957 the Supreme Court distinguished football from baseball in this regard saying that even though baseball was exempt from the antitrust law football was not but it was some time before any real effort was made to Define just holler at a dress laws should be applied the Pro Football that effort occurred in the 1970s when several lawsuits were brought by players alleging antitrust violations by the owners, perhaps the most significant of those suits was Mackey versus the National Football League people in charge Association at that time John Mackey, who was the president Gabby who is the executive director and executive committee Association that time decided that They should. Institute lawsuit against the Rozelle rule they had they considered, you know, whether they should go after the standard player contract the option clause or whatever and I thought their best and their best opportunity was against the Roselle this limiting it to the Rozelle rule in and of itself to John Mackey Alan Page John Henderson, Gene, Washington right in 27 other NFL players final suit in the Federal District Court of Minnesota. They alleged that the NFL's option compensation rule more commonly call the Rozelle rule. So strongly tied players to one team that the rule in effect constituted a group boycott of player movement and a concerted refusal to deal with players by club Owners list. The Players said was a violation of the antitrust law. Profile roughing-the-passer number 78 defense control two player who wanted to work for another team. Every player's contract said that when the contract expired the team had an option to keep him for one more year at 90% of his previous years. Salary after that option year player was a free agent I could sign with another team. However NFL rules provide that the players old team deserves compensation for him from the new team at that time. This compensation could be in the form of money or other players for draft choices or some combination. If the two teams could not agree on compensation, then the rule provided that the NFL commissioner should decide what the new team was pay the old team for the moving player. Pete Rozelle has been NFL commissioner since before the rule was adopt therefore it always been Roselle who made option compensation Awards and so the rule carried his name Roselle refused to be interviewed for this program. And the Garvey is a former Minneapolis attorney who is now the director of the NFL players Association, he briefly explain the history of this option compensation or Rozelle rule in 1962. The Baltimore Colts signed to RCA owns to a contract. He has played out the action in San Francisco and up until that time the NFL that was different than baseball and football. It was said you could play out the option become a free agent and sign with any team in the league, but I wasn't really true there was an Unwritten agreement not to sign anyone but the cold by later than Unwritten agreement and sign are shillings to a contract or shortly thereafter the league Matt and the side of the face should have a compensation clause. Free agent would have to compensate the former team and that later became known as the Rozelle rule. It was not applied really until 1967 when they first played out the option with San Francisco and sign with the New Orleans Saints at that point to the two teams could not agree on any compensation in the first round draft choice that year and the next year's first-round draft trades as compensation is not to sign any player who became a free agent because of that fear of the unknown compensation. It would be named by the commissioner. So as a result is very few players can play out the option that can move from The Players Association decided to challenge the Rozelle rule in court as a violation of antitrust law the defendants in the suit where the NFL commissioner Roselle and each team The court had to balance competing provisions of antitrust and labor law at a trust law could be seen as forbidding the teams from getting together to prevent the players from changing teams. But recall that 1930 reforms of the labor laws excluded collective bargaining terms from antitrust actions. The defendants argued that the Rozelle rule was part of the collective bargaining agreement reached in 1970. And therefore was excluded from antitrust law the NFL also claimed that even though the rule did limit player Mobility the nature of the football industry required competitive balance. And so the rule was reasonable and necessary and therefore not forbidden by at a trust law the players disagreed. They said collective bargaining agreements were made exempt from antitrust action to help preserve the victories of Labor. They said the girls out what was included in the 1970 agreement only because the union was not strong enough to have it dropped. Therefore they claim the rule was not a concession wanted to demand of labor. And so I did not qualify for the labor exemption. The case was Tried by judge Earl Larson in Minneapolis. He decided in favor of the plaintiff's the players upon a pillow by the defendants the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with important legal conclusions made by judge Larson. Nevertheless. It did I pulled the effect of his decision will show you hear how that happened Attorney John French represented Petros, Alabama NFL line judge Larson and the appeals court disagreed over the balance between antitrust law and labor law. You have a fundamental threshold question. And that is do the antitrust laws take hold first. And then are they influenced by the labor laws or in this particular context which is strictly a relationship between employer and employee to the labor laws take hold first and the antitrust laws only apply to the extent that the labor laws don't judge Larson at the former way. He said this is illegal per se and therefore cannot be a proper subject of collective bargaining the court of appeals for the eighth circuit turned it around and said no, we know that many things done by labor unions in conjunction with employers as a result of bargaining would be illegal per se if there weren't any labor laws so we can approach it. That way. We have to say the labor laws provide the governing policy here and if it is a mandatory subject of collective bargaining within the scope of the labor laws, Then the existence of the antitrust laws cannot be permitted to strike down the results of the bargain as you heard judge Larson and the appeals court took exactly opposite approaches to the question George Larson said in the fact that the labor law could not be used as an excuse for a violation of antitrust law and the appeals court said that the terms of a labor contract could not be declared an antitrust violation unless they were outside the protections of labor law appeals courts have the power to overrule Lower Court judges on matters of Law and if judge Larson had simply written his legal conclusion, the case probably would have been sent back for retrial but appeals courts really Disturbed factual determinations made by lower courts and judge Larson had taken extensive testimony on the labor issue allowing him to include important findings of fact in his decision the appeals court then took the facts on covered by judge Larson and plug them into its own legal theories. The appeals court said that a labor agreement is exempt from antitrust laws if three conditions exist first that it affects only the parties to the contract second that it concerns a mandatory subject of collective bargaining and 3rd that it is the result of bona fide or good faith arms-length negotiations. There was a little argument over the first two criteria. So the question was whether inclusion of the Rozelle rule in the 1970 agreement was the result of good faith give-and-take between the players in the teams at garley director of The Players Association Outland the plaintiff's position. The labor exemption only applies if labor agrees as result of good faith bargaining to a particular. It is in the best interest of the majority of the people in that bargaining unit. We did not feel that the labor exemption applies where something is created by management forced upon the employees and then they turn on the table. It's a mandatory subject of bargaining. And so therefore it should be exempt from antitrust laws. Are we never accepted that still don't The District Court made findings of fact, which park we agreed with the position of the players judge Larson found that since its Inception the union had been too far to week in relation to the clubs to obtain even a reasonable modification of the rule the court found that in the little collective bargaining which had occurred between the parties there had never been any trade-off for quid pro quo. We're by the union agree to the Rozelle rule in return for other benefits and therefore the judge. Will have never been the subject of serious arms-length collective bargaining in effect, but judge Larson did in his decision was first determined that as a matter of law the labor exemption issue did not apply in the case. Then he hedged his bets he went on to make factual findings concluding that even if the issue were relevant the Rozelle rule really had not been a subject of bargaining anyway, so even though the appeals court disagreed with Larson's legal analysis, you did agree with his conclusion based on these later factual findings. Inside the 30 very different reasons both judge Larson and the 8th Circuit. Judge has concluded that in the case of maca versus the NFL. The Rozelle rule was not excluded from antitrust scrutiny because of the labor exemption principle that leads to the second and major issue in this litigation was the Rozelle rule or the option compensation rule in violation of the antitrust law. Number 77 that deal is out today. Lego dial Ricky for about a 7-yard was the referee Chuck Heberling. Defensive holding number 23 on Clemson the NFL are required to subscribe to the NFL Constitution and bylaws until recently the bylaws automatically subject of the clubs to the Rozelle rule. The players were arguing in court that this unanimous adherence to a rule strongly discourage. Enclara Mobility amount to do a group boycott and a concerted refusal to deal by the owners without burdening you with the technical definitions of those terms what they boiled down to in this case was whether the Rozelle rule was really just a form of conspiracy by the owners designed to help them get Monopoly type power over there player services. I'll be ready trust laws are primarily designed to prevent monopolization of product markets that is to encourage competition for goods like soybeans deal bicycles. So for one of the first things that played a sad to do was to establish that a player Services were part of a product-market which could be monopolized every bit as much as the petroleum market for example. Judge Larson found that the players were a product for antitrust purposes. Next to play this had to prove that the Rozelle rule inhibited free competition for this product proof of that provided some of the more colorful testimony in the trial most it was players. Play that there option or the club's option. I should say it always remember. That is that's not the player's option the club's option. And had tried to go elsewhere. And had difficulty we talked with one of those Witnesses John Henderson while Henderson was not a superstar like Alan Page. He was never the last a very good wide receiver. He play three years with Detroit then came to the Minnesota Vikings as he testified at the trial. It was at Minnesota that he experienced personal difficulties because of the Rozelle rule put it on my option after about two or three years with Minnesota and I felt that my contract was not necessarily compatible with my contribution to the team nor compatible with other starting wide receivers in the National Football League a great deal thing that happened was more of an academic thing. I sent letters out and really wanted to continue to play ball. But again, I wanted to play hopefully on terms at War more compatible with my thinking and it really didn't happen. I think of a few phone calls involved in a couple of letters that I received but I really didn't have much to do with it. I played it when I played on my option I believe. Took a 10% cut in salary from the previous year. I obviously wasn't happy with it previous years contract, but nevertheless I had to take a 10% cut as a sort of a leverage to discourage people from playing out their option. I suppose Henderson never did get to 10% back the year. He played out his team's option was his last year of professional football. So I think the Rosedale room answer your question more directly and definitely impeding my ability to go to another team. It becomes particularly difficult for those ball players that don't have the national notoriety are the superstars. Don't get the support and they don't get a chance to say what they have to say to the press and really get any visibility and it just more less relegated to the terms of a team. And if they don't sign with the team that they're supposed to be on the contract of then they don't go anyplace and that was a principle that I didn't really think much up. Play intended for out of their Ellen Page number 88, they dug up every contract that I've had with the Minnesota Vikings. What they do what they were like I supposed they were trying to do was discredit me. One one of the years in one of the contracts. the Taxable income which was all the income. I receive from the Vikings as he was like $120,000, which is a lot of money that included playoff money and bonuses and that sort of thing for my performance the contract itself. Was like for 5055 and I suppose what they were trying to do was discredit my testimony by showing that you know, I could I could or that I had learned. $120,000 like I was going to earn that every year, you know, the only thing I was assured of earning if I played if I stayed healthy Okay was whatever the base contract was. I guess my testimony basically was to the effect that you know, the Rozelle rule. Is it stifles movement not only in from the standpoint of the people who have played out their option one of the club's option, but from the standpoint of people who have never done it because I've never done it. I was Bonnie Smith. By Paige and McNeil. Big Lots there was the car was very long it ran for 55 trial days. There were I think something like eleven thousand pages of trial transcript and hundreds of exhibits many many witnesses in addition to player testimony of graphs and charts play. This information was sketchy since most clubs are privately owned and do not publicize profit and expense figures. So the fight is used estimates Based on data from the to publicly held gloves the Packers and the Patriots. They also had some information from the rest of the league and the extrapolated from attendance figures and the well-publicized television contracts in all the players had a solid case that the Rozelle rule discouraged one club from the signing a player from another club the defendants tried to downplay that fact they indicated that it Club was often willing to sign a player who would play. His option Michael in the jaw. manager of the Vikings gives an example on Jessie who at the play that is option in in Detroit or we try to sign we try to talk to we did talk to the the Lions about compensation. We felt that their their request was totally out of hand. So we would have to remove the idea of signing them when during a. Of time that the rolls out the option compensation rules in the fact that didn't deter us and one iota to going after that player and signing them. I mean the players say that the that the so-called Rozelle rule restricted a player's movement in the league in what I'm saying. It really didn't tell me there was a prime example, the only one that I was involved in no prior to the Mackey case where a player who played at his option became a free agent was free and negotiate with the 27 other clubs. Sociate with six or eight clubs at his choosing. I mean he was the one that selected the club sandwich negotiate with and we were one of them because we were a playoff team and we negotiate we were unable to work out something with Detroit and he subsequently sign with the Los Angeles Rams and the Rams were real Detroit was awarded the other number one draft choice and and Cullen Bryant running back who refused to go to Detroit and is now or still the property of the Los Angeles Rams Lynn says that the Rozelle rule did not hurt marginal players either. You're not competing for marginal players your You're competing for now for those players that are so good that they're going to help you win ballgames. Marginal players. Don't don't help you win ballgames. So, you know, you can pick up marginal players everyday of the week. So I think that they would have the same difficulty moving from one team to another with or without a real Shiro differently. He found that the Rozelle rule substantially restricted players freedom of movement that it decrease the players bargaining power in contract negotiations that it denied player the right to sell the services in a free and open market and that it depress player salaries consequently. You determine that the role sale Rule and related practices and a group boycott on the part of the defendants. Not normally that finding all by itself would be sufficient to declare a violation of the antitrust laws in the past. The Supreme Court has dealt with group boycott. Send refusals to deal. Situations concerning everything from dress manufacturers to the Associated Press and those cases the court said that if a lower court fines, in fact that there is such a boycott of refusal to deal that the activity is per se legal that is the activity is automatically a violation of the antitrust laws the car don't even want to listen to excuses. But the defendants last line of defense was that this was the wrong address data to apply that this strict automatic per se rule was an appropriate for dealing with an industry such as there were special circumstances require that there be some restriction of player movement in order to guarantee competitive balance between each Club in the industry. Basically under the Sherman Act and some of the other end of trust laws when a practice is challenged as anti-competitive. There are two possible tests to be applied. First the question may be asked is this practice on waffle per se? That means is the practice so anti-competitive that no justification may be offered for it. No matter what justification, maybe Advanced the court will still find its illegal that is a vapor say violation. The classic example of that is price fixing that is an agreement between two competitors. The charge the same price to a customer in the steel industry or in any industry in which people are arms-length competitors. Okay, that's one kind of violation. Now, there is another test and that test is whether or not the agreement or practice constitutes an unreasonable Restraint of trade other words. There are a number of restraints which are not so obviously bad as to be unlawful per se but maybe bad because they are deemed unreasonable. And hear both sides do get to put in evidence concerning the purpose and effects of the restraints the plaintiff has to put in evidence to show that the defendants in engaging these these restraints had some kind of anti-competitive purpose and or that the effect is seriously adverse to the rights of people bargain freely or has a serious adverse impact on prices or on the sources of goods the amount of goods manufactured and so forth the defendants on the other hand also get to put in evidence to show the reasons for the ra straight and to try to convince the court that under the circumstances. The restraint is reasonable and therefore a lawful that's exactly what the defendants offered to prove in this case Jim. Thanks testified to the special needs of the football industry for restriction on player. Mobility are we felt very strongly that we must have some order of control over players not to suppress the players, but the control players playing with the Minnesota Vikings a one year and then leaving in Madison and be members of the Green Bay Packers the next year. We just felt that we had to have some restrictions that would assure a competitive balance within our leak. I'll let me give you an example of the Minnesota Viking very famous front for comprised of Alan Page at that time Gary Larson to Marshall and the color I had they have all played out their options and and jointly going to the highest bidder. For example, the Chicago Bears. Will that would have meant that without a Rozelle rule Chicago Bears. All of a sudden would have been headed up with any the best defensive front for IT professional football and Minnesota Vikings with lift would be left without absolutely. When they would be Irreplaceable, so that is why the Rozelle rule came into being in the first place to assure club that if it did lose a player or players that they would be compensated either in a draft chart choice or by a player of copper bull ability as an occasion was left of the commissioner not many but in some cases directions are less important for general managers in 1974. He had his own money problems for the Vikings ownership. He wanted to cut of the take the same ownership interest which Norm van brocklin that had that was refused Minnesota lost. Its popular general manager to the Chicago Bears Mike Lynn took Frank's Place at Minnesota Lynn argues that the absence of restrictions on player Mobility would be disastrous for professional football especially for pro football here in the Frozen reaches a Minnesota. It's not only us, but I would put us in Green Bay and say buffalo in the same. I'm kind of snow belt and the end as long as you're winning and as long as you're going to championship games and going to Super Bowl games and you're going to have to have players that want to associate with a winner. But what happens you can't be on top forever. I mean, there's a time when when the when everything catches up to you and operating without any modified option compensation Clause would be a disaster for the non glamour cities like like Minnesota Green Bay in Buffalo. In other words, the defendants argue that even though the Rozelle rule reduce competition for player Services among clubs in the football industry that restriction was necessary. They said the football industry is much different from other Industries. Well Ford could get along very well, perhaps even better without a strong General Motors each football club needs strong competition to guarantee good. James and High attendance soul to keep a good competitive balance between the clubs player Mobility must be restricted this special circumstance of the football industry. They argued necessitated the use of the rule-of-reason antitrust standard instead of the strict per se standard and because of the special circumstance restrictive activity, which would be illegal in the Auto industry was reasonable in pro football in response. The playlist argued that the Rozelle rule really did not affect competitive balance and therefore should not be found to be reasonable Ellen Page repeats part of their argument the problem is that the system at least as I saw it. Didn't work to create competitive balance. It kept the halves on top and cut the Have Nots on the bottom. I mean if you look back. Who were the last 5 6 7 years at the teams that have made it to the playoffs? And I only made it to the playoffs but you know made it farther than that. I mean you see a lot of the same names. And I asked her. And how many years? Green Bay and Cleveland started having their problems. But since they've been on the decline, you know the team that came in after them has been there all the time. So it doesn't the system that they've got doesn't create a a rapid turnover in teams in the playoffs if it hasn't really created the competitive balance it. That they they they claim it takes to accomplish Glennon recall some of the trial testimony on this issue rule football as we know today will be destroyed. That sounds horrible. So you tell you start analyzing it might mean that a particular. Owner who is inept will be out of business and he'll be replaced by a different owner doesn't mean the franchise are going to dye. It might be that a city that should not have football to begin with other franchise will go to some other city with a larger population better Stadium facilities, or what have you. Better economic climate what is competitive balance mean? I'll say some time because he took a fair amount of time to work up the definition of those and this is in the transcript competitive balance is aggressiveness in the field. How's that for an economic justification the rule and I asked is there anything further? You said the grass was on the field and I said, yes, we've heard that what else? Behavior of the players. So I said is that it is that all yes, that's it. So he cannot make justification for the result of them being a Christian is on the field and behave the players that sounds almost Preposterous to contemplate but that's what it was. The plaintiff said that the owners competitive-balance argument doesn't hold water. And so there was no good reason for the court to use the less strict rule of Reason standard in deciding legality of the Rozelle rule judge Larson agreed. He use the strict purse a standard since it also determined that the Rozelle rule amounted to a group boycott of and they considered refusal to deal with the players by the owners and since the per se rule does not permit room for justification of such activity. There was a rule was declared a violation of the antitrust laws. Circuit Court of Appeals just agreed with parted Larson's reasoning on the issue. The Appellate judges said that he used the wrong legal yardstick that the proper standard was the rule of Reason Not the purse a standard and reaching that conclusion that the Appellate Court bought the defendants argument that the football industry was a novel business situation that football clubs were not business competitors in the traditional sense and that therefore of the defendant should have the opportunity to prove the player restrictions such as the Rozelle rule. We're reasonable and therefore legal. A signal is holding and would appear that gain will be wiped out. Number 68 again, if that'd been all there was to it the Appellate Court with a reverse judge Larson's decision and sent the case back for retrial but on this issue as with the labor exemption issue judge Larson, it had to choose bets you fashioned is decision and the alternative after judging the Rozelle rule after the purse a standard he went on to analyze it under the rule of Reason standard the focus of an inquiry under the rule of reason is whether the restraint imposed is justified by legitimate business purposes and has no more restrictive than necessary Larson looked at the list of negative effects of the Rozelle rule that a deterred clubs from negotiating with players who are free agents that are deterred players from playing off their options to begin with and that a depressed player salaries the New Balance those against the owners list of business justification, the Rozelle rule provider players from flocking to the big glamorous Southern cities that are protected the club's investment in scouting and player-development that it kept players together for enough time to develop them into it. Active team and that it was needed to keep spectator attendance and income High judge Larson way the pluses and minuses and then it came up with his own list including that the Rozelle rule was unreasonable and that it was overly broad unlimited induration unaccompanied by procedural safeguards and was used along with other at a competitive practices like the draft the standard player contract the option clause in the no tampering rules. The key issues were essential to the maintenance of competitive balance and was no more restrictive than necessary The District Court answered both of these questions in the negative the players and filed a lawsuit in May 1972 in October 76 the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals affirm their Victory turn down in 14 from the eagle 14 35-yard line back to Fast Track. Danbury Beach Florida. Of the cross at a 35-yard butler from Fresh Pond Road 97th in his career. That play was picture-perfect now so far. This program has been largely devoted to esoteric legal questions. But as I mentioned earlier the Mackey case the Brazil case was just one in a long Continuum of events and the Mackey case and judge Larson were crucial to the direction of those events until maky the NFL owners had successfully Stonewall to Congressional hearings unfair Labor practice hearings and several lawsuits Players Association had been badly beaten in the 1974 strike and it never recovered when judge Larson's decision came down in December of 75. The association was hurting financially and it was showing public Rift Larson's decisions strengthened. The player's hand financially as well as legally Several of the playlist in the Mackey case. We're suing for a lot of money and judge Larson seem likely to award them lots of money when it if he was affirmed on appeal. This is in contrast to a similar decision, which was one in early 1976 by Joe Kapp in a different district court cap one on the legal issues. But his jury wouldn't give him any money now not only did Larson seem likely they'll award money to the play this in the Mackey case. He also implied that all players fool since 1963 have been subject to the Rozelle rule. Where does Irving some compensation with that almost every eligible past and present player in the league jumped on the bandwagon by getting into a lawsuit claiming damages. The name of that case is Alexander vs Lee NFL. It is a class action lawsuit with about 5,700 playlist. Of course, that's it was out in front of Judge Larson Haswell less than three months after his decision in the McCulloch case between Maki and Alexander. The players were looking for over 20 million dollars. So in this and other Arenas things really started looking up for the players in July the National Labor Relations Board, finally awarded reinstatement and back pay two-player Association leaders Curry Alexander and Keating earlier getting bounced around by the owners in September 1976. Jimmy has Will Smith won his case challenging the college draft under the antitrust laws and Smith unlike half got a lot of money over a quarter of a million dollars. Suddenly the stonewalling by the owners was getting expensive. So on October when the eighth circuit affirmed judge Larson's decision, the end was in sight after the decision to players concentrated on finishing the 76 season and Gathering their forces for a final. Of collective bargaining that bargaining took place in the first two months of 1977 a powerful silent figure in these negotiations was Judge wielding is quite a million-dollar Club Larson refused to be interviewed for this program by March 4th, 1977. A new collective bargaining agreement was signed. Reserve System changed it for the better and all respect got a number of benefits for the players that we never had before and somehow or other the chemistry was right and we got an agreement. What are the highlights of that agreement? First of the reason behind minimum wage we start with a rookie a 20,000 working up to a 50 or player 30000. Where is under the old agreement was 12,000 for a rookie in 13 for veteran. So we think will improve a lot of players immediately. But in that trap most of the in advance what a reasonable of contract would be for 2 3 4 year contract by increasing my $10,000 for each year of the contract and some of that money is guaranteed third a player. Who is this year and can't play next year. We could happen salary next year. Where is in the past if he's injured he gets his pay for that year but not for the next year we 4th we have been partial arbitration of all green, which is a major step forward. We have a new standard player contract. Special increases in pension and insurance benefits and Union security so that you don't have to join the union. But if you want to play football, he's going to pay the equivalent of Zeus. Score on the play at red card number 53 wrap them up. The option compensation clause or Rozelle rule has been replaced in the new collective bargaining agreement buy a new rule which the players union has agreed to and which the players themselves have ratified and what's been done is to make the compensation first the principle of compensation is retained. So the old idea that the club's had that there had to be some compensation to preserve League balance. I has been retained under the new collective bargaining agreement and will be a part of the system what has been done is to take the bargaining aspects of the old rule that is going to go see a shins between the clubs and the ultimate decision-making authority of the commissioner and eliminate them by establishing automatic rules as to what is proper compensation. In the first place compensation cannot include active players any more second there automatic standards for what is proper compensation for a given player. The fundamental point is that if a player has been earning x amount of income with the club that he wants to leave. That amount of income indicates what his new club must give his old Club in compensation. Talking to try to get first down the white don't play that he has something that we have now that we didn't have under the rules. I'll rule is a we are right of first refusal so that if we if we really and truly didn't want to lose a particular player. We never have to and we have the right to either take compensation. In the way of a predetermined draft choice or choices. Or match the offer at the player has received from the new club is far as a sports antitrust litigation in my judgment much of it is a thing of the past. Where are there is any effect a bona fide a egg? I should say Collective bar dreaming which is a result of bona fide a arms-length bargaining. This is true in baseball now in hockey and basketball and in football in the Mackey case judge Larson to board a 2.2 million dollars to the playlist for the March agreement between owners and Players called for a 5-year 107 million dollar contract in August judge Larson approved of 13675000 dollar settlement in the Alexander case. This has been challenging turn by several players, but it probably will be up here all by the 8th Circuit 14 billion dollars was about how much profit the NFL teams made in 1975. Now since the agreement and looking at it from a business standpoint. That I don't think that we would the Minnesota Vikings have any intention of increasing our ticket prices over the term of this agreement. So I think from that way the fan certainly have benefited has with many lawsuits of this magnitude. There is a group much interested in the outcome, but still not represented in the courtroom. How about the sports consumer ultimately foots the bill for these huge profits and salaries Ralph Nader for one says that high ticket prices are the fault of greedy owners support. You have Monopoly issues the tax subsidies to the stadiums. Are you have you have the Consumer Fraud problem? You have keeping most people out. They can't afford to season-ticket got the hypercommercialism the tax shelters shuttling around franchises from one city to another depending on a millionaires, you know. Overcharged for the tickets are tickets on the whole here in Chicago or we're now charging 954 each one of our games and that's about average in the National Football League in the reason why we have increased our tickets up to 9:50 is simply because we have to keep Pace with our competitors. That may be the case. But I think you have to look to. How much is a how much it was going to the player? And how much of the pie is going to management and my information is that the fan shouldn't have to suffer nor the place for that December the owners of the National Football League provide more free entertainment for this country. Then more hours of free free free entertainment to this country. You almost play the game of the play it well, you almost have to think that you know that you can go on forever. You can that you're Invincible. Yeah. This program was produced Minnesota Public Radio by Bill Chilton the technical Direction by Dave, This series is made possible with financial assistance or Minnesota bar foundation and the Nash Foundation would like to thank WCCO radio the Minnesota Vikings in the National Football League for permission to rebroadcast play by play extras. Thanks. Also to John Cowan didn't add Seltzer to their continuing help with a series. This is Bob Potter speaking. Vikings John