SBD/February 23, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies
NFL Agrees To Unveil Some Docs In Special Master Case, But Not All Union Wants
Published February 23, 2011
The NFL yesterday agreed to unseal parts of some documents in the closely watched media fees case brought by the NFLPA, but not as much as the union has requested. The NFLPA is appealing a special master’s decision allowing the league to use media fees due for the ‘11 season in the event of a lockout, which could come as early as next week if the two sides do not reach a deal. All documents thus far in the case have been under seal, including the briefs. As part of the appeal, the NFLPA has asked to unseal many of the records, which include the decision, media contracts, deposition transcripts as well as numerous league wide debt contracts. The latter are believed to be included because of covenants in league-wide financings that require the media fees as collateral. This might undercut league sources who contended because the NFL has not budgeted to use the fees until year two of a lockout, there was no need for the league to take, as the union alleges, lower media fees in exchange for guaranteed payments during a lockout. The league would credit the fees back once games resume. The NFL asked Judge David Doty of the Minnesota federal district court to declare the union's unsealing request moot because the league is agreeing to unseal some records, with the confidential information redacted. “The NFL objects to the Union’s Motion because the version of the brief the Union lodged with the Court does not redact `all potentially confidential information,’ all information that ‘could affect competitive standing,’ nor all information from third-parties.” Oral arguments are scheduled for tomorrow, with the union having asked Doty to decide by March 3. The CBA expires at 11:59pm ET that night.
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