Let Free Agency Begin

The 8th Circuit Court issued their ruling on the legality of the NFL lockout. They said the lockout was legal the injunction barring the lockout was not legal, but this money paragraph tells me that though players under contract can be locked out, those not under contract cannot as there is no employer-employee relationship.

Another portion of the injunction is not foreclosed by § 4(a). The district court enjoined not only the League’s lockout of employees, i.e., players under contract, but also the League’s refusal to deal with non-employees, i.e., free agents and prospective players or “rookies.” As to these latter groups of players, § 4(a) does not apply. The refusal of the League and NFL clubs to deal with free agents and rookies is not a refusal “to remain in any relation of employment,” for there is no existing employment relationship in which “to remain.”

An injunction with respect to the League’s actions toward free agents and rookies, however, cannot be issued except in strict conformity with § 7 of the NLGA, 29 U.S.C. § 107, because this is “a case involving or growing out of a labor dispute.” Id. §§ 101, 107. The present injunction does not conform to § 7

To me, that suggests free agency must open immediately. The only question is under which rules. Probably the 2010 rules, barring a new CBA. Free agents and rookies signed to contracts would then be effectively locked out… but they would have a contract and teams can start the free agency chaos.

The Washington Redskins Crowd-sourcing Their Games

A week before the start of the NFL 2009 season, Cincinnati Bengals Wide Reciever-turned-parttime-kicker, Chad Ochocino, tweeted to his fans that he was going to delete his Twitter account due to strict NFL rules. Of course he didn’t, and Ochocinco, always a showman, used it to deliver more buzz around his ego.

However, the NFL rules around social media are draconian and many inside the league know this. Earlier this month, they released an updated policy that bars players and their agents from tweeting up to 90 minutes before or after a game. Members of the press are not allowed to tweet during the game either or risk having their credentials revoked.

This is the landscape in the most popular sporting league in the nation. The NFL has enjoyed widespread success through control mechanisms like blackout rules that prevent a team from having home games aired in local television markets if the game isn’t sold out 72 hours before gametime. Though most home games league-wide are sold out, the recession has caused some teams, like the Jacksonville Jaguars, to not be able to sell out.

2897040936_c9546b9679This is what the Washington Redskins face who, on Sunday, will open their first home game at FedEx Field and will be encouraging fans to tweet during the game. The new effort comes as part of a renovation of the Club Level and embracing of social media, Redskins VP of eCommerce and Web Strategy, Shripal Shah, tells me. In this new club level will be the game on massive HD televisions surrounded by live-streams of Redskin fan reaction to the game, but reactions will also be online for fans not in the club level.

The Redskins hope to get reaction from all fans through a new site called Redskins Twackle that does more than just pull tweets having a #redskins hash tag. In addition, they are pushing an iPhone App that will help crowdsource this data into the Redskins Twackle site.

Twackle is not a Redskins technology. Twackle is a product of XTreme Labs and is billed as “Your sports bar in the Twittersphere”.

While it’s not entirely clear what this play will do for new media in the NFL, it will be interesting to see how the League reacts.

* Image Credit: Mad_African78 on Flickr

Update:
The Twackle app in the iTunes store is not an official Redskins Twackle app. It is a generic app released by Octagon, not Xtreme Labs. Commenter Lahne notes that the NFL social media policy is slightly different than what I listed here. For the breakdown, see Tailgate365.

Suicide League 2009

Dear {INSERT NAME HERE} :-p

Late last night, I had an idea to run a Suicide football league. I’ve done these before, though I admit that this is
the first time I’m using a service and not aggregating results by hand. We’ll see how this goes.

The concept of a suicide league is painfully simple, yet the strategy can become painfully complex. In simplest form, you pick one winning team each week. You cannot pick a team that you’ve picked before (this is where strategy comes into play). If you pick a winning team, you move on to the next week. If you pick a losing team, you’re out. Simple, right?

There’s a $5 buy-in on this league which will benefit Blame Drews Cancer (http://blamedrewscancer.com) and Livestrong (http://livestrong.org). You can paypal me the money (Paypal is aaron.brazell@emmense.com). You can also send me a check if you contact me for a mailing address.

There is no immediate rush on payment so take your time, but if you leave me holding the bag, I will demand ultimate retribution from you. What this is will be decided later and unilaterally. :-)

So, get your team, send that money and tell any of your friends who want to play to send me an email
(aaron+suicide@technosailor.com). The more the merrier since you’ll all probably be dead by Week 3.

Happy picking,
Aaron

http://twitleague.football.cbssports.com/e

Our Pool password is: reds0x

President Obama Throws a Super Bowl Party

With the Super Bowl a few days away, I have yet to figure out where I’m watching it. However, President Obama knows where he’s watching it. He is throwing a party at the White House for a handful of elected officials.

  • Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)
  • Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA)
  • Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
  • Congressman Artur Davis (D-AL)
  • Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
  • Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA)
  • Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA)
  • Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ)
  • Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
  • Congressman Paul Hodes (D-NH)
  • Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC)
  • Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA)
  • Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI)

I presume Sen. Specter, Sen. Casey, Rep. Dent, Rep Doyle, and Rep. Murphy will be rooting for the Steelers. Likewise, Rep. Franks and Rep. Grijalva will be rooting for the Cardinals. I presume Rep. Cummings, my Congressman, will be a Cardinals fan on Sunday too, considering his district is in the Baltimore area. And, of course, our President has defied logic, as a man from an NFC town who now lives in an NFC town, by declaring his support for Pittsburgh.

For my part, I’m loving me some Red and White.

Fantasy Picks for Week 13

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of football. You also might remember when I blogged over at Squib Kick before the current author, Jim Edwards, began. Since Jim started, the blog has become one of my favorites sports blogs anywhere. Recently Jim encountered some health issues that have forced him to do less blogging and as a result, several folks have been guest blogging over there.

Today, I began a weekly segment I’ll be doing for a bit until Jim gets back. Specifically, it’s for those of you who do fantasy football. Go check it out.