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Congress Should Force NFL to Play Ball

Arlen Specter: Congress should step in to break gridlock
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2011 1:24 PM CDT

(Newser) – NFL owners and players can't seem to figure a way of their legal fight, raising the very real possibility that we'll have no season this year. This goes way beyond sports, writes former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter in the New York Times. It would be a devastating economic hit to the nation, given all the related businesses that profit from the league. "With this much at stake, the country should not sit back and wait for the players and owners to reach an agreement on their own," writes Specter. "Congress can—and should—intervene to force a resolution of the dispute."

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Congress has sway with the league because it allows it to operate with an antitrust exemption. Lawmakers should threaten to take it away unless both sides agree to strike a deal under "last-best-offer arbitration." Under that scenario, each side makes one last offer if negotiations fail, and an arbitrator picks the best one. The alternative is just plain "bad for America." (Read more NFL lockout stories.)

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