Key Dem wants end to the NFL's special broadcasting right

The top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee introduced a bill Monday to revoke the NFL's special broadcast television antitrust exemption.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, wants to do away with the congressionally-created exemption that allows the NFL to negotiate television contracts on behalf of all of its teams, the first repercussion sought by a lawmaker since last Friday's expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between NFL owners and players.

"As you know, over the weekend the NFL Players Association decertified, the collective bargaining agreement expired, and the owners of the National Football League locked out the players, putting the NFL season is at risk," Conyers said in a statement.

"Obviously football fans don’t like this, but this is a much bigger issue than sports. The NFL is a $9 billion a year industry," the veteran Democrat added. "If this lockout goes on, hundreds of thousands of workers may be laid off, and scores of local communities could be harmed economically."

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chairman of the committee, indicated to the Associated Press that the judiciary panel wasn't likely to take up the bill.

Still, the move by Conyers reflects what's sure to be increased efforts by lawmakers to end the lockout, which started on Friday.