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SBD/May 23, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies
NFLPA Files Federal Collusion Charge Against NFL Due Stemming From '10 Season
Published May 23, 2012
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APPEALS FROM REDSKINS, COWBOYS DENIED: Arbitrator Stephen Burbank yesterday rejected the Redskins' and Cowboys' appeals from cuts to their salary caps in ‘12 and ‘13. The two teams were punished for allegedly frontloading salaries in the uncapped year of ‘10, which the NFL had told teams not to do. However, it was not a formal policy. The two teams' only option now appears to be to fight the decision in court, if they so choose. Burbank relied heavily on the NFL's bylaws allowing changes to occur with 24 of 32 owner votes. In essence, he ruled that the league's March 27 vote for the penalties should have marked the end of internal NFL procedures on this matter. Burbank disclosed in his decision that on March 22, the two clubs sent a letter to the Management Council, the league's labor-negotiating arm, withdrawing from the entity for purposes of this issue. Burbank rejected that move. “The clubs attempt selectively to revoke the Management Council’s authority through the March 22 letter was ineffective as a matter of law,” he wrote in the 12-page decision. Notably, the fact that the NFLPA agreed to the cap cuts, which are to be redistributed to other clubs, did not weight heavily in his decision. An NFL source said Burbank might have even reached the same conclusion had the NFLPA not agreed to the cap hits, though it certainly made the decision simpler. The two teams, in a joint statement, said, “We pursued our salary cap claim pursuant to the CBA and we respect and will abide by the arbitrator's decision to dismiss. We will continue to focus on our football teams and the 2012 season.”