Packers players are ninth group to vote for decertification

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers players have become the latest team to give the NFL Players Association approval to decertify in the event of a lockout next year.

George Atallah, the NFL Players Association's assistant executive director of external affairs, told The Associated Press players voted to decertify in a meeting Monday afternoon.

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"It's another way for the players to ensure that there isn't a protracted lockout," Atallah said.

Decertification would give players the right to sue the NFL under antitrust laws if there is a lockout, a threat that could strengthen the players' position in negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Each team's players must approve the measure, but the votes are considered largely procedural.

The Packers' union meeting took place at Lambeau Field on Monday afternoon and lasted more than an hour, although a handful of players left early and would not comment on what was discussed.

At least eight other teams have approved decertification: Cincinnati, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Dallas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Washington and the New York Giants.

The Players Association will kick off its so-called "One Team Tour," a series of tailgate-style luncheons for selected fans, with an event in Green Bay on Tuesday. According to a news release, the events are designed to thank fans "for their dedication to the players of the National Football League."

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith is scheduled to attend Tuesday's event, as are Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, offensive tackle Mark Tauscher and running back Brandon Jackson.

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Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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