Never Ask “Why”: Football Players’ Fight for Freedom in the NFL

Temple Univ. Dec. 2022. 234p. ed. by ed. by Chuck Cascio. ISBN 9781439923153. $35. SPORTS
In 1971, the late labor/antitrust lawyer Garvey (1940–2017) was hired by the new and fledgling National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) to help players gain social and economic freedom from oppressing tactics used by NFL owners and Pete Roselle, the commissioner at the time. This effort resulted in the free agency that many athletes have today. This work is editor Cascio’s (The Fire Escape Belongs in Brooklyn) presentation of a recently discovered document that Garvey wrote that gives his own account of his 12 years leading the union up through 1982. This book is highly personal and contains detailed stories of his and many of the players’ experiences in dealing with the deceptive and often illegal tactics used by owners to force players into submission. This approach often led to bigger paydays for the owners. The book also accurately foretells the related struggles many professional athletes and others working for leagues like this still face today.
VERDICT This is a very important and easy-to-read work that will shed light on the many previously misrepresented accounts given by the owners and commissioner-controlled public communication. It has the potential to change the business world.
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