Attorney general steps into NFL lockout

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Thursday he was investigating whether the NFL's player lockout violates state antitrust laws.

Schneiderman said he was stepping into the labor dispute because of the harm it would do to the state's economy.

"While we are hopeful that the NFL and its players will reach an agreement to end the ongoing lockout in the near future, this office will take all appropriate steps to protect New Yorkers -- many of whom rely on the significant economic activity generated by the NFL -- as well as state and local governmental agencies," Schneiderman said in a statement.

In a letter to the NFL dated Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Richard Schwartz said the office was "deeply troubled by possible antitrust implications of the NFL's conduct."

The Jets canceled summer training at the State University of New York in Cortland and the Giants and Buffalo Bills may also cancel summer training camps at upstate colleges, Schwartz wrote. Last year's Jets summer training camp generated $5.8 million of economic activity in Cortland County, according to a SUNY study.

Schwartz asked the NFL to provide documents about the lockout, state tax breaks the NFL receives, and contract and employment information. "We will review the letter with our attorneys and then respond to the assistant attorney general," the NFL said in a statement.

The NFL Players Association, also asked to provide information, said it would cooperate. "The players have always been concerned about the impact of the lockout on communities that depend on football," spokesman George Atallah said.

The dispute's economic impact on Long Island isn't as great as it was when the Jets trained at Hofstra University, but Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association, said it's still important to local businesses."There are a lot of establishments that rely on showcasing football games, bars and restaurants, buses and tour buses that take organizations into the games," Law said.

With Greg Logan

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