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11-30-2012, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by _Del_ View Post
If I give you an unenforceable check for a million dollars, how meaningful is the check? The contract is meaningful only with the existence of a CBA which acknowledges them. Without such a CBA the contract is meaningless. That is why the league can legally lock the players out. They could not lockout the players out (a de facto voiding of their contractual obligation) if there were a CBA which enforced them. The players would simply sue to force compliance. Similarly, if the players decertify abandoning the PA and any future CBA rights, all existing contracts remain meaningless pieces of paper. The contracts were signed under the terms of the previous CBA and only have value in that context (or under a new CBA which affirms them).
The contracts will become meaningful again under the new CBA only if the new CBA guarantees that (and I have no doubt that it will, as I said earlier).
That hasn't been the legal precedent. The NBA threatened to take that position in its most recent lockout--that the player contracts would be voided in the absence of a CBA should the NBAPA decertify. Where the courts might ultimately rule on that position we'll never know since the NBA and PA settled. It was a novel legal argument that has never been fought in court by a major sports organization to my knowledge.

Originally Posted by _Del_ View Post
The decertified players could sue and ask the courts to uphold the 2005 SPC's. Precedence is that the courts have ruled that pro-sport contracts are intrinsically linked to the CBA.
Precedent is that contracts are subject to the results of collective bargaining, and any CBA resulting from it. Courts have ruled consistently that pro-sports contracts are subject to a CBA. That is not that same as saying that contracts have no validity in the absence of a CBA. There have been many examples of pro sports leagues that played seasons or portions of seasons without a CBA.

The contracts are unenforceable at the moment not because there is no CBA, but because the owners have locked out the players. Labor law provides that in the case of a lawful lockout by the owners, or strike by the players that no party is entitled to bring any action or proceedings for:
- Breach of an employment agreement
- Injunction against the lockout/strike
- Court compliance order
- Penalties
- Or other legal actions founded on tort law

If the owners lifted the lockout tomorrow the contracts would be fully enforceable even though the NHL and PA hadn't negotiated a new CBA yet.

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