SBD/January 15, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFLPA Continues Collusion Claim Against League, Alleging Salaries Were Restrained

The NFLPA is continuing to pursue its $1B-plus collusion claim against the NFL, even though a Minnesota federal judge on Dec. 31 said the claim was barred. U.S. District Court Judge David Doty ruled that the NFLPA’s claim that the league had colluded to restrain player salaries in '10 was barred by terms of the '11 dismissal of the White antitrust settlement that had governed labor relations between the two sides for the preceding 18 years. But the union in a motion to Doty yesterday said while it might appeal that decision, it wants to pursue a case that the league has misled the players into agreeing to that dismissal, and so the dismissal of the White case should be reversed. The NFLPA said it will "demonstrate that the Court should relieve the White Class from any effect of the (dismissal) and/or August 11, 2011 (court) Order because they were obtained by `fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct.’” The union is seeking discovery into the period leading up to the August '11 settlement, which capped the end of the lockout that had paralyzed the NFL off-season. In the filing with Doty, the NFLPA included an exhibit that listed a series of discovery demands, including all documents tied to the dismissal of the lawsuit, as well as those that pertain to the allegation of collusion in '10. The NFLPA originally filed the claim on Aug. 2, 2011, as a preventive measure in the event Doty turned down the collusion claim, which he did. Doty had set a briefing schedule based on that Aug. 2 motion, which the union now wants to extend from 45 to 90 days. The NFL opposes that extension (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal).

THE WAR ON DRUGS: In Boston, Greg Bedard wrote MLB is “light years ahead of where the NFL is in terms of the next fight against performance-enhancing drugs, which absolutely is a player health issue.” Bedard: “You’d think this would be embarrassing to the NFL and the players’ union. It should be. Instead, the bickering just continues.” The NFL “has its opinion on the delay.” NFL Senior VP/Law & Labor Policy Adolpho Birch said, “This is a continuation of the union’s strategy to delay, deny, and distract. What is missing from the MLB agreement is a population study. Apparently, baseball players know that the test for HGH is reliable, valid, and scientifically sound. If the NFLPA had adopted the same position as the MLB players, we would already be well on our way to eliminating the threat of HGH from our game” (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/14).
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