30 November 2005
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) seems to think the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles are somehow violating the law by their suspension of surly nogoodnik Terrell Owens. The backstory:
On Nov. 5, the Eagles suspended Owens for four games without pay for conduct "detrimental to the team." The team also made clear its intention to deactivate him with pay after the suspension ended, as it did this past Sunday.
Specter was horrified:
The senator said the league and the Eagles had effectively blacklisted the all-pro wide receiver by forbidding him from playing and by banning other teams from talking to him. He called such treatment "vindictive and inappropriate."
"It's a restraint of trade for them to do that, and the thought crosses my mind, it might be a violation of antitrust laws," Specter said. "The NFL can have whatever rules it wants on authorizing suspension or keeping you on the team for the balance of the year, but they can't violate the law."
In fact, the NFL can have whatever rules it wants on authorizing suspension:
Last week, arbitrator Richard Bloch upheld the team's right to do all of that, saying those steps were in keeping with the labor agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association.
An NFL spokesman commented ... that it was "difficult to see" how antitrust laws might have been violated. Said league spokesman Greg Aiello: "The arbitrator's decision is consistent with our collective-bargaining agreement, and it simply enforced the terms of the player's contract."
I don't get it. Did the Senator lose a bunch of money on the Eagles or something? Does the benching of Owens somehow threaten the availability of abortion? There's got to be some reason why Specter's having a fit.
(Via Ravenwood's Universe.)
Update, 3:30 pm: Specter punts.Posted at 9:19 AM to Political Science Fiction