NFLPA Today Filing Brief Laying Out Case In TV Revenue Suit
The NFLPA was set to ask a federal court today for substantial damages from the NFL for allegedly short-changing the players in negotiating the last round of TV deals, a source said. Judge David Doty ruled on March 1 that the NFL had violated the CBA by inserting provisions into media deals to guarantee payments during a lockout in exchange for lower rights fee. The now-expired CBA required the league to maximize revenues. A May 12 damages and injunction hearing has been set, so the NFLPA today is filing the brief that will lay out its case for significant monetary reimbursement.
The Doty decision was a critical move that apparently emboldened the players in their CBA negotiations with the owners and in their March 11 decision to decertify. Another Minnesota federal judge, Susan Nelson, is still set to hear next Wednesday’s arguments from the group of players suing the NFL for antitrust violations that the lockout imposed on March 12 should be lifted. The players' case will be argued by Jeff Kessler, who is also the outside counsel for the NFLPA and is writing the brief that will be filed today in Doty’s court.
The NFL has been waiting to appeal the Doty decision, but cannot do so until he issues a formal ruling, which will not occur until after the May 12 hearing. The judge also must grant the injunction to formally block the NFL from receiving the media fees.