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Bengals Players Vote To Decertify Union

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During the 2006 offseason, while Carson Palmer was rehabbing a knee injury that many suspected he wouldn't return in time to kickoff the 2006 season, the NFL owners gathered to extend the Collective Bargaining Agreement that's been in existence since 1993. Two years later, the owners voted to opt out of the deal, establishing the threat of a looming work stoppage after this season.

With several items being debated, such as an 18-game regular season schedule, a rookie scale system or the Union's demand that owners show them their books, the Union is positioning themselves to sue the NFL if an agreement can't be reached. To do that, the Union has to decertify, which would prevent the owners from locking out the players, allowing them to "sue the league under antitrust laws if a lockout was imposed."

According to Joe Reedy, the Bengals voted to "authorize the NFLPA to decertify should it be deemed necessary during negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement."

They are at least the 10th team according to published reports who have held their vote. The union is hoping that all teams will have voted by Thanksgiving. The meeting, which was held after practice, was attended by NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith who briefed the players on progress toward a new CBA and how Tuesday’s meeting with the league went.

Andrew Whitworth, the Bengals' player representative after T.J. Houshmandzadeh departed, said:

“I think it’s becoming real because you realize how many people it’s going to affect from coaches to players to your family. Everyone. It’s real,” said Whitworth about the possibility of a lockout. ” Just the hard stance that’s there. There really hasn’t been any bending by owners. This is what they’ve headed toward. It’s obvious this is a plan of theirs and this is real that it’s going to happen.”