Let's just say it plainly right now. The players union's "decertification" is a complete and total sham. It's a legal trick that they hope to win them bargaining power through a technicality that's based on little more than semantics. They are, in everything but name, still a union and are acting as such.
The aim of decertification was to take away the NFLPA's status as a union. By giving up their collective bargaining power the players could then file for an injunction to prevent the owners from locking them out as a group. However, as DeMaurice Smith admitted today in an exclusive interview with SBNation NFL writers, he's still able to negotiate on the players' behalf.
"Negotiations can still continue, they continue where because every player is represented now as a class, and class council, of which I'm one of them, class council can continue to negotiate with the league as representatives of the class any time" he said.
So Smith still represents the players as a group, he can still bargain on their behalf as a group, he's still working in the union's office... What about them is not a union? He even referred to himself and the players as "we the players" in the interview. With his assertion that he can still bargain on their behalf, I really don't see any difference between what the players are now and a union other than a purely semantic one.
While I still believe in a lot of the issues that players are fighting for and I think they have a lot of the argument on their side... they don't deserve to win this point. As much as I want to see an end to this all, I can't see how a court would rule that they're no longer a union and therefor the league can't treat them as such. They are a union and they should continue to fight for everything they want... but I have to objectively call this decertification thing what it is, a sham. They want to pretend they aren't a union while still acting like one and it's not right. It's not honest.