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Revenue sharing ruling lays foundation for future collusion charge

During a week that was expected to entail plenty of posturing and preening regarding the ongoing labor issues between the NFL and the players union, there has been a surprise development that gives the NFLPA a modest-but-powerful chunk of momentum.

Per multiple reports, Special Master Stephen Burbank ruled Monday that the league will not be permitted to pull the plug on the supplemental revenue sharing program with the advent of the uncapped year.

The NFL had insisted that the device for dividing unshared revenue streams (like luxury suites) was intended to apply only in years with a salary cap — and more importantly a salary floor.  As multiple league sources had explained it, the intent was to give low-revenue teams an extra boost when dealing with a per-team spending minimum driven up by the large dollars that some of the teams reel in.  Thus, with no salary floor, there was no need to give the low-revenue teams a little help.

But if that was the intent, it wasn’t sufficiently expressed in the written document.

“The Special Master basically rejected every single argument that
management made and regardless of how the league characterizes the
decision, this is a victory for players, for low revenue clubs and the
fans,” NFLPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler told Chris Mortensen of ESPN.

Said NFLPA Assistant Director of External Affairs George Atallah, via e-mail: “A day that the players get a ruling that preserves the revenue sharing model that is the foundation for the growth of the NFL is a good day for the game and for the fans.”

As a practical matter, the ruling had no impact on 2010, since the 2009 payments have not yet been made.  In other words, even if the plan had been discontinued, the low-revenue clubs would have still gotten paid this year.

But now they’ll get some money in 2011, too.  “These clubs can now budget for beyond 2010,” Kessler said. “The union
was concerned about their incentive to spend with an uncapped year and
a looming lockout by the owners in 2011.  [Management] can try to
diminish the value of the supplemental pool but it represents a
significant dollar amount for those affected clubs.  This means a more
vibrant outlook for players, teams and fans and now we’ll monitor how
the market behaves.”

In other words, if the union doesn’t believe that teams are spending enough money on players, the union will be more likely to claim that the owners have agreed, implicitly or otherwise, to restrict 2010 spending in order to bolster the 2011 work stoppage war chest.  Such an agreement would constitute collusion, and it’s strictly prohibited.

So stay tuned.  The league plans to appeal the ruling, but the decision will be made by Judge David S. Doty, the man whom the league tried last year to have removed from his position of supervising the implementation of the labor agreement.  Though Judge Doty likely won’t display any obvious bias, the legal system presents a lot of close questions, and a skilled jurist can find a way to get to any decision that he or she deems to be the preferred outcome.

In other words, the league probably is gonna get hosed.

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16 Responses to “Revenue sharing ruling lays foundation for future collusion charge”
  1. last starfighter says: Feb 2, 2010 1:08 PM

    So what you’re saying is that the vikings will continue to be supported by the Packers revenue? Their fans here are a quite ungrateful bunch.

  2. frox says: Feb 2, 2010 1:36 PM

    Nice work Florio. Questioning Judge Doty’s integrity for no reason while fueling the perception of your readers that the legal system is fixed. Good job buddy.

  3. DocBG says: Feb 2, 2010 1:36 PM

    last starfighter says: February 2, 2010 1:08 PM
    So what you’re saying is that the vikings will continue to be supported by the Packers revenue? Their fans here are a quite ungrateful bunch.
    ——————————————————
    so the packer fans will continue to be supported by the working American public? get off your dead asses and find jobs already. Welfare was meant as a safety net, not a hammock you lazy idiots.

  4. smashmouthd says: Feb 2, 2010 1:40 PM

    I am leaning heavily towards wanting to see a lockout.
    I would love to see the Scab games return.
    I would enjoy watching a bunch of guys out there living out their dreams and playing the game for the love of the sport, over the spoiled whiny egotistical a%#*^(s we are stuck watching play the game now.
    How on earth can anyone care about the majority of these players anyway, from Lynch running over pedestrians, to Pacman Jones, Vic the felon, and Moss ‘I play when I want to play’… they all need to be paid less, they all need a couple years off from football to get a dose of reality… welcome to the recession.

  5. ar1888 says: Feb 2, 2010 1:44 PM

    Thats good news, at least it doesnt mean Jerry Jones can go back to buying a Super Bowl by outbidding all other teams for free agents.

  6. ar1888 says: Feb 2, 2010 1:45 PM

    Thats good news, at least it doesnt mean Jerry Jones can go back to buying a Super Bowl by outbidding all other teams for free agents.

  7. texasPHINSfan says: Feb 2, 2010 1:47 PM

    I wouldn’t say the league is getting hosed.
    If we’re being fair, the league has been hosing everyone since it’s inception. I still haven’t forgotten the NFL laying off 50 people last year under the guise of the “bad economy”. :thumbdown:

  8. pfii63 says: Feb 2, 2010 1:58 PM

    I suppose that, as a lawyer, you actually have PROOF of your assertion that Doty is skewing the facts to support a decision that has already been made.
    No?
    Then maybe you need to learn what stfu means.
    I’m really starting to lose my patience with this site.

  9. Nevisyakker says: Feb 2, 2010 2:34 PM

    The Uber liberal judge Doty aside, the NFL seems to want to have it both ways in every circumstance.
    As for the packers subsidizing anyone—-they rank 19th in operating income, a little below average.

  10. VonClausewitz says: Feb 2, 2010 2:59 PM

    Where do I get one of these welfare hammocks? They sound awesome.

  11. purpleguy says: Feb 2, 2010 3:05 PM

    Mike, has the league won a single legal ruling in the last two years? They’re not just getting pounded by Doty, but federal and state court judges in other states too. Who the hell is making the legal decisions and/or representing the NFL anyhow? Smart lawyers know when to fold their cards and cut their losses — NFL attorneys must be lousy poker players. The only thing the NFL is getting good at is the PR spin after they lose.

  12. HarrisonHits says: Feb 2, 2010 3:39 PM

    “In other words, if the union doesn’t believe that teams are spending enough money on players, the union will be more likely to claim that the owners have agreed, implicitly or otherwise, to restrict 2010 spending in order to bolster the 2011 work stoppage war chest. Such an agreement would constitute collusion, and it’s strictly prohibited.”
    I don’t see how that can be the case. No salary floor is no salary floor. Its quite reasonable to expect every team to take advantage of this. If the union didn’t want this to happen they shouldn’t have stuck it to the owners in every way possible during the last CBA negotiations. It wasn’t enough that they got 59% of all revenue, they had to make it very difficult to discipline players and very difficult to recover money from players who refuse to honor their contracts and hold out.
    Can’t have it all your way and not expect the other side to not take advantage of every out you’ve given them.

  13. bucc19 says: Feb 2, 2010 3:57 PM

    So what you’re saying is that the vikings will continue to be supported by the Packers revenue? Their fans here are a quite ungrateful bunch.
    ——————————————————
    so the packer fans will continue to be supported by the working American public? get off your dead asses and find jobs already. Welfare was meant as a safety net, not a hammock you lazy idiots.
    Does anyone ever wish for the day when we can read an article without the moronic murmurings of Vikings and Packer fans?

  14. footballrulz says: Feb 2, 2010 4:30 PM

    Does anyone ever wish for the day when we can read an article without the moronic murmurings of Vikings and Packer fans?
    ________________________________
    +1
    Pack fan here but it is getting a little trite

  15. .VoxVeritas says: Feb 2, 2010 6:47 PM

    “Thats good news, at least it doesnt mean Jerry Jones can go back to buying a Super Bowl by outbidding all other teams for free agents.”
    Right, free agents were so important to those Super Bowl wins. Get real, the Cowboys lost way more free agents than they gained in that time period.
    Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith, Jim Jeffcoat, Ken Norton, Russell Maryland, Kevin Smith, Larry Brown, Darren Woodson, Robert Jones, Kevin Gogan, Alvin Harper, Kevin Williams, Chad Hennings, Daryl Johnston, Bill Bates, Leon Lett, Kelvin Martin, Larry Allen, Nate Newton, Alexander Wright, Mark Stepnoski, Tony Tolbert, Mark Tuinei, Erik Williams, Kenny Gant, Brock Marion, Darrin Smith, Dixon Edwards, all drafted by the Cowboys or signed as undrafted free agents and it is by no means a complete list. It’s just the first 29 guys that I can think of that started in Super Bowls for the ’92-’95 Cowboys.
    Jay Novacek – left unprotected by the Cardinals as a Plan “B” free agent
    Charles Haley, Thomas Everett, Tony Casillas – traded for them. You must be thinking about Deion Sanders. He wasn’t there for the first two Super Bowl wins. Free agency didn’t even exist until 1993. Maybe you’re thinking about the 1994 49ers or some other team that brought in a lot of free agents.

  16. edgy1957 says: Feb 2, 2010 7:34 PM

    I think that you guys are seeing something that you want to see. I don’t see one word from Florio that questions Doty’s integrity or says that he’s skewing facts. I believe most of you don’t have a clue about Doty because if you did, you’d understand that he’s the one that told the league and the union that they need to get together to solve the free agent situation, along with the salary cap because if they didn’t, he would come up with a plan and neither side would like it. He also allowed the Vikings players to play this year. The NFL flat out hates the guy but the worst part for them is that they haven’t been able to get anyone else to agree with them to keep him from working on any cases involving the NFL.

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