The Veil of Fair Representation

brando simeo starkey, Harvard Law School


In 2004, Maurice Clarett decided to challenge the NFL’s eligibility rule stating that all potential players must wait three years after their high school class has graduated to assume eligibility for the NFL Draft. While winning at the district court level, Clarett lost the appellate decision because his claim was subject to federal labor laws, not antitrust laws and the NFL’s eligibility rule complied with the former. This paper argues that the NFL’s eligibility rules should not comply with federal labor laws mandate that all collective bargaining agreements be met by the duty of fair representation. Additionally, this paper attempts to show that the NFL does itself a disservice by continuing to have an eligibility rule in its league. Without it, the NFL would be even a more prosperous league worldwide.