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SBD/3/Leagues Governing Bodies
SHARPE FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST PACKERS, UNION AND LEAGUE
Published May 3, 1995
Former Packers WR Sterling Sharpe filed suit against the Packers, the NFL Management Council and the NFLPA contending that he was denied due process under the NFL's grievance procedure. The suit was filed in Tampa, where Sharpe played his last NFL game. Sharpe was released by the Packers on February 28 when he refused to take a pay cut after suffering a spinal injury late in the '94 season and undergoing surgery to fuse two vertebrae in his neck. The Packers will seek "immediate dismissal of the suit." Packers attorney Lance Lopes: "The allegations are no different than those already raised in the grievance proceedings." Sharpe's attorney, Grady Irvin, a former NFLPA lawyer, told the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL that he would ask for Sharpe's $3.2M salary for '95 plus punitive damages, court costs and attorney fees. The Packers wanted to reduce Sharpe's salary from $3.2M to $200,000. The NFLPA filed a grievance on Sharpe's behalf on March 8 seeking full salary for '95. At issue in the grievance procedure, said Irvin, is a provision that requires the Packers to hold half of Sharpe's '95 salary against the team's salary cap figure until the grievance is settled. Sharpe wants the case to be treated as an "injury-type grievance that would require him to be examined by a neutral physician and give him more time to argue his case." Irvin said the NFLPA was sued because "it conspired with the league to get Sharpe to withdraw the grievance so the Packers could use his salary to sign more members of the union's bargaining unit" (AP/N.Y. TIMES, 5/3).