The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robertson, District Judge.
William Black claims that the National Football League Players
Association (NFLPA) unlawfully initiated disciplinary
proceedings against him, affecting his livelihood as a player
agent. NFLPA moves for summary judgment.*fn1 Plaintiff
opposes that motion and moves for leave to amend. Plaintiff will
be permitted to take discovery on his claim of discrimination
under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, but defendant is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law on the claims of tortious interference and
violation of the Federal Arbitration Act. Leave to file new
claims of defamation and trade disparagement will de denied. The
reasons for those rulings are set forth below.
The following facts are drawn primarily from the parties' LCvR
7.1(h) statements, but are supplemented as needed by subsequent
filings. They are undisputed.
NFLPA is the exclusive collective bargaining representative of
NFL players pursuant to Section 9(a) of the National Labor
Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 159(a). NFLPA nevertheless permits
individual agents, or "contract advisors," to represent
individual players in negotiations with NFL Clubs. NFLPA
"certifies" contract advisors pursuant to a set of regulations.
Those regulations set forth a code of conduct for contract
advisors, and require that issues regarding the activities of
contract advisors be resolved by arbitration.
Mr. Black was first certified as a NFLPA contract advisor in
March 1995. He submitted a sworn application to continue his
certification on September 9, 1998. The application contained
In submitting this Application, I agree to comply
with and be bound by these Regulations . . . I agree
that if I am denied certification or if subsequent to
obtaining certification it is revoked or suspended
pursuant to the Regulations, the exclusive method for
challenging any such action is through the
arbitration procedure set forth in the Regulations.
In consideration for the opportunity to obtain
certification and in consideration of NFLPA's time
and expense incurred in the processing of this
application for such certification, I further agree
that this Application and the Certification, if one
is issued to me, along with the NFLPA Regulations
Governing Contract Advisors shall constitute a
contract between NFLPA and myself.
In May 1999, Mr. Black received a disciplinary complaint from
NFLPA's Disciplinary Committee.*fn2 He commenced this action
a month later, asserting that the disciplinary complaint was the
product of an antitrust conspiracy and a secondary boycott, in
violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the National Labor
Relations Act, and that the arbitration system established by
the regulations violates the Federal Arbitration Act. Mr.
Black's motion for a temporary restraining order was denied on
June 22, 1999 by Judge Hogan, and Mr. Black filed an answer to
the disciplinary complaint on July 6, 1999.
On July 27, 1999, the Disciplinary Committee issued a proposed
ruling revoking Mr. Black's contract advisor certification for a
minimum of three years. The regulations provide that Mr. Black
may challenge the proposed ruling only by taking the matter to
arbitration before an arbitrator selected by NFLPA — in this
case, Roger P. Kaplan, Esq.
On July 29, 1999, Mr. Black filed an amended complaint. This
first amended complaint jettisons the antitrust and secondary
boycott claims and adds two new claims: that NFLPA's initiation
of the disciplinary proceedings was based on race discrimination
in violation of Section 1981; and that NFLPA tortiously
interfered with Mr. Black's business relations (and those of his
corporate entity Professional Management, Inc.) by invoking
disciplinary action. Mr. Black continues to claim that the
arbitration process established by the regulations is illegal
under the FAA.
Now before the Court are NFLPA's motion to dismiss or, in the
alternative, for summary judgment on all three counts in
plaintiffs' first amended complaint, and plaintiffs' motion for
leave to file a second amended complaint that would add claims
of defamation and trade disparagement.
Mr. Black asserts that NFLPA deprived him and his company of
full enjoyment of their contractual relationship with NFLPA in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. He asserts that three white
agents subjected to disciplinary action by the NFLPA — Joel
Segal, Jeffrey ...