Deflategate Morphs into Significant Labor Law Debate

Deflategate and Labor Law pic
Deflategate and Labor Law
Image: boston.cbslocal.com

Becky Catino chairs the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Cincinnati and serves as a member of the Ursuline Foundation Board of Trustees. Outside her professional and philanthropic life, Becky Catino is an avid New England Patriots fan.

The Deflategate saga has now surpassed the theater of sports law and made its way into areas that some feel could have a significant impact on management-labor relations across the United States.

One group to make that claim consists of 11 law professors from Harvard, Cornell, UCLA, and other universities. In an amicus brief filed with the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, this coalition of legal minds claims that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acted unfairly in his role as arbitrator, and that the previous appellate decision to uphold Tom Brady’s suspension could have a significant ripple impact on the country’s labor laws.

The AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) echoed those sentiments, also filing an amicus brief in Brady’s case. The largest federation of trade unions in the United States obviously has a vested interest in how the role of arbiter is defined in terms of labor law, and their involvement in the case signals that Deflategate is now a major case, not only to the NFL player’s union, but to all labor unions throughout the country.

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