NFLPA Files “Collusion” Claim Against The NFL

DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA).

All of this stuff just goes way over my head, so I’ll let the reporters do the talking. From Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter:

For the second time in 17 months, the Players Association has filed a collusion claim against the NFL, alleging that owners sought to suppress wages in 2010 when there was no salary cap.

The union is basing its case, in part, on recent legal briefs and testimony from the arbitration hearing involving the Cowboys and Redskins, who unsuccessfully sought to reverse league sanctions that stripped them of $46 million in salary cap over the next two seasons.

The league claimed the teams sought an unfair competitive advantage by spiking salaries in the uncapped year to gain financial flexibility in future seasons, when the salary cap was expected to be reinstated as part of a new collective bargaining agreement.

Several media outlets reported that the league’s 32 teams were told in advance not to overload contracts in 2010. The union is arguing that the admonition was a form of collusion and now is seeking damages that could approach $1 billion if trebled.

The League responded to those allegations with the following statement:

“The filing of these claims is prohibited by the Collective Bargaining Agreement and separately by an agreement signed by the players’ attorneys last August. The claims have absolutely no merit and we fully expect them to be dismissed. On multiple occasions, the players and their representatives specifically dismissed all claims, known or unknown, whether pending or not, regarding alleged violations of the 2006 CBA and the related settlement agreement. We continue to look forward to focusing on the future of the game rather than grievances of a prior era that have already been resolved.”

The Collective Bargaining Agreement signed after last offseason’s lockout called for ten years of labor peace. This offseason has seen both sides bickering over a number of topics. Thankfully, none of this will truly impact the games played on the field. However, it would be great if both sides could avoid more negative headlines such as these.

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