Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bad Newz: Who Knew that Michael Vick Might Singlehandedly Cause the NFL to Shut Down in 2011?

Often lost in the Michael Vick saga -- dogs, Eagles, PETA, financial ruin and personal redemption -- is the story of the collateral impact of his situation on pending collective bargaining negotiations between the the National Football League and the NFL players' union.

As some of you may recall, Vick filed bankruptcy under chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, the chapter usually used by businesses to reorganize or, in some cases, attempt an orderly liquidation. This past August, his personal plan of reorganization was confirmed. An open issue when his plan was confirmed was the fate of $20 million in signing bonuses that his former team, the Atlanta Falcons, sought to recover.

Yesterday, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed a lower court ruling that Vick could keep $16.25 million.  [See Michael Vick Wins Appeals Court Ruling On $16 Million Bonus | NPR and 8th Circuit Opinion]  This makes Vick's creditors happy, the Atlanta Falcons not so happy, and the NFL dreadfully unhappy.

The pro-Vick ruling may prove to be a major sticking point in upcoming collective bargaining discussions between the NFL owners and NFL Players Association.  [See Vick win is another issue for owners | National Football Post]  Long before the Vick ruling, the negotiations were expected to be tense:   In May 2008, the NFL opted out early from the current collective bargaining agreement [see NFL Owners Opt out of CBA], leaving 2010 as the last assured season.   2011 could be a strike year - 1982 all over again.

For Vick, attempting to rehab a career; for the players (not paid for not playing); and for fans - that's Bad Newz all around.

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