If the NFL Players "lost" their case in Brady v. NFL, why do the NBA players think they'll do any better?
The ruling in Brady obviously favors the NBA owners, but the NBA players may still have success in court for at least a few reasons. First, only courts within the Eighth Circuit are bound by Brady, and it is a virtual certainty that any antitrust suit brought by the NBA players would not be filed in a court within the Eighth Circuit (the NBA filed its preemptory legal action in NY, and the players would likely file their suit in an employee-friendly jurisdiction like California).
Second, let's be clear as to what the Eight Circuit decided in the Brady case. The NFL players argued that the NFL lockout was illegal and asked for 2 things--an injunction and damages. The district court preliminarily concluded that the lockout was illegal and granted the injunction. The Eighth Circuit reversed, narrowly holding that the Norris-LaGuardia Act prevents federal courts from enjoining lockouts. The court did not conclude that the lockout was illegal and did not conclude that the players were not entitled to bring their antitrust claim. So, even if a court was bound by Brady, it could still determine that the players are able to bring a post-dissolution antitrust suit challenging the lockout, and that the lockout was illegal. In other words, Brady does not prevent the NBA players from dissolving their union and bringing a successful antitrust suit for three-times damages.
Third, decertification (as opposed to disclaimer) may give the NBA players a more powerful argument in court. In Brady, the NFL argued that the NFLPA's disclaimer of interest was a sham, in part, because it "lack[ed] the formality of decertification" and was "literally a paper-thin statement, issued unilaterally by a union, that may readily be overturned." The formality of the decertification process could thus weigh in the NBA players' favor.
This is a really useful decertification primer for those of us that didn't follow the NFL lockout.