NFL players union files federal lawsuit against league; alleges collusion
Minneapolis, MN, United States (AHN Sports) – The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming the league and team owners conspired and colluded to establish a secret $123 million salary cap in 2010.
In their collusion complaint filed before the US District Court in Minneapolis, the union is seeking $1 billion in actual damages for players primarily in the 2010 free-agent class and $3 billion in damages as violation of a previous labor agreement.
In its lawsuit, the union claimed 2010 was designated as an uncapped year under the previous labor agreement and the 1993 Reggie White settlement. During that year, the union claimed that teams would not be restricted in their spending on players’ salaries.
“When the rules are broken in a way that hurts the game, we have an obligation to act. We cannot stand by when we now know that the owners conspired to collude,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement.
The union only learned last March 12, 2012 that four teams — the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints — did not abide by the NFL’s secret rules that effectively advised teams to operate in 2010 under a $123 million salary cap.
As punishment, the NFL has lowered the cap spending for the Redskins and Cowboys at $36 million and $10 million sums, respectively, during the next two years. The money was to be split evenly among 28 teams. The Saints and Raiders were not fined by the league.
The NFL, through its spokesman Greg Aiello, expects the lawsuit to be dismissed in claiming the case has no merit.
“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,” Aiello said.
“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.”