NFL, NFLPA Trade Barbs On Whether Collusion Claim Can Move Forward In Court
The NFLPA told a federal court Thursday that it should be allowed to bring a collusion claim against the NFL because the court never ended the old antitrust case that it oversaw. The NFLPA alleges the league engaged in collusion in '10 to restrain player pay, but the league says the '11 CBA and end of the Brady antitrust lawsuit the players brought against the NFL contained language barring such a complaint. But the union argues the CBA and settlement do not override the fact the court’s jurisdiction over pre-'11 league conduct still exists. The union argued the federal court never actually ended the court oversight of the league’s labor relations between '93 and March '11, so the '10 collusion case should be valid. The union is seeking billions of dollars in damages. In a statement to the court, NFLPA Associate General Counsel Tom DePaso also said the union did not know about the alleged collusion, even when agreeing to set the salary cap for '12. While the league did tell the union it would not sign off on the agreed cap unless cap space was taken away from the Cowboys and Redskins, he wrote, the union did not know this was because the teams ignored the alleged collusion in '10. “At no time did ... the NFL, indicate, reveal or even hint that the teams had been warned by the NFL not to spend above a certain amount of money in 2010 or that the teams had agreed to a secret salary cap which the Cowboys and Redskins had violated,” he wrote. The league docked the two teams cap space for frontloading contracts in '10, an uncapped year. The union alleges that is evidence of collusion among the teams. The NFL denies there was collusion. U.S. District Court Judge David Doty has scheduled a Sept. 6 hearing.