Bengals vote to allow union to decertify

CINCINNATI -- The Bengals have unanimously given the NFL Players Association approval to decertify as part of its bargaining strategy with the league.

The Bengals met with union director DeMaurice Smith before voting on Thursday. He updated them on the state of negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. He declined comment after leaving the meeting.

Each of the 32 teams is voting whether to give the union the right to decertify if teams lock out players next year. It's a procedural matter. Decertification would give the union a chance to sue under antitrust laws if there is a lockout.

Offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth is the team's union representative. He says Thursday's vote made the issue more real to the players.