The contentious relationship between the NFL and the NFL Players Association continued Wednesday when the union filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the league and its owners conspired in collusion to establish a “secret $123 million salary cap” in 2010, which under the previous labor agreement was designated as an uncapped year of spending.
The NFLPA filed its collusion complaint in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, claiming that it falls under the supervision and oversight of Judge David Doty, who presided over the 1993 settlement of the Reggie White litigation case.
That settlement led to an unprecedented stretch of labor peace that lasted through 2010, which was designated as an uncapped year in which teams would not be restricted in their spending on players’ salaries.
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.
” – NFL spokesman Greg Aiello
Instead, the NFLPA claims that it learned on or about March 12 of this year 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.
The NFL in March penalized the Redskins and Cowboys in cap spending at $36 million and $10 million sums, respectively, during the next two years, a decision that was recently upheld by Special Master Stephen Burbank’s ruling, citing the NFLPA’s agreement to an arrangement that would redistribute the money to other teams for cap spending.
An NFLPA source said that the union was “strong-armed” into the agreement because the cap would have been set at a league-wide $113 million per team, instead of $120 million.
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 the 1993 White agreement.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello scoffed at the union’s lawsuit, saying the league expects it to be dismissed.
“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.”
by Chris Mortensen; espn.com