SBD/July 11, 2014/Franchises

Redskins, Former Player Cited In Lawsuit Stemming From Alleged Bounty System

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Royal argued that the claims should be brought under the NFL’s CBA
A Maryland federal judge this week gave the go ahead to a former NFL player’s lawsuit against the Redskins and one of its former players for an alleged bounty system. The player, Barrett Green, suffered a career-ending injury an ‘04 game against the Redskins after a tackle by Robert Royal. Green said he only learned of an alleged bounty system at the team from a ‘12 Washington Post story that stated one may have been in place under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. The Redskins and Royal argued in motions to dismiss the complaint that the statute of limitations had expired, and in any event the claims should be brought under the NFL’s CBA. Judge Peter Messitte rejected that line, at least where Green’s complaints were tied directly to the alleged bounty system. He wrote, “[T]he battery alleged here -- a block intentionally designed to cause physical injury pursuant to a bounty program -- could not conceivably be authorized under the CBA, and therefore is not inextricably intertwined with it.” The judge earlier in his opinion wrote the statute of limitations is suspended in cases where it was not possible to learn of the wrong. Messitte ruled that was the case here when the bounty system was first disclosed in the newspaper story, eight years after the hit. The Post story followed on the heels of the Saints bounty scandal, which led to the suspension of Williams. Messitte ordered Green to re-file his complaint so all charges are tied directly to the alleged bounty system. “There is no question that Green’s Complaint is something of a jumble,” Messitte wrote. “He mixes claims of negligence, gross negligence, and malice in a single count. But, as it stands, this much does emerge from the Complaint: Whatever injury Green sustained, he alleges came about because the Washington Team had a policy in place to pay its players to deliberately inflict physical injuries on opposing players, the so-called ‘bounty’ program, and submits that Royal deliberately injured him pursuant to that program,”
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