NFL Fans - Are You Ready for Some... Antitrust Litigation? Players Sue, Claiming Lockout is a Group Boycott

Following a breakdown in labor negotiations, a group of current and prospective NFL players have sued the league, claiming that a league-imposed lockout is a group boycott among horizontal competitors (the NFL teams), and a per-se violation of Section One of the Sherman Act. Brady v. National Football League, 0:11-cv-00639-SRN-JJG (D. Minn. filed March 11, 2011).

The named plaintiffs, including star quarterbacks Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, seek to represent a class that includes current NFL players and next season's rookie class. The players claim that the lockout – which halted players' paychecks, stopped contract negotiations and shuttered teams' training facilities – is a concerted refusal to deal.

In addition to the group boycott claim, the players assert that teams conspired to eliminate competition in the market for professional football players, through a series of anticompetitive restrictions, including...

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