The NFL Players’ Association has challenged the structure of the league’s contracts with ESPN, NBC, CBS, Fox and DirecTV, saying that the owners acted in bad faith by setting up the TV contracts in a way to protect themselves in the event of a 2011 lockout.
In a filing to Special Master Stephen Burbank, the union says the league set things up so that it could receive $4 billion in TV revenue while not paying anything in player salaries and canceling the entire 2011 season if it chooses to lock out the players.
“It appears that the owners bought a strategy to lock players and fans out and nonetheless financially protect themselves,” Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth, a member of the NFLPA’s Executive Committee, said in a statement on the union’s web site. “The players want to leave no stone unturned to make sure that CBA negotiations proceed in good faith and that next season is played in its entirety.”
In the event of a lockout, the union wants Burbank to order the TV money to be put in escrow, rather than divided among the 32 teams.