NFL: Coaching opt-out rights are “individual club matters”


The NFL has crafted opt-out rights for players, and the NFL eventually will finalize opt-out rights for officials. What about coaches and assistant coaches?

According to the NFL, those opt-out rights amount to “individual club matters.”

This means that some teams may give coaches or assistant coaches (or other club employees) the ability to tap out for the season, and that other teams may not. Whatever the individual teams choose to do, or not do, there won’t be one, single, unified approach.

There’s an important legal reason for this approach. Because the NFL consists of 32 independent businesses and because coaches, assistant coaches, and other staff members aren’t unionized, any type of global approach to opt outs for these non-union workers could become an antitrust violation — if for example the league’s approach would be more restrictive than the rights provided by individual teams.

The question now becomes whether individual teams will grant opt-out rights to coaches, assistant coaches, and other staff members. It’s a question that should be, and surely will be, posed to all 32 teams.