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The NFL litigation train heads back to Minnesota

DavidDotyGetty Getty Images

On March 1, Judge David Doty concluded that the NFL violated the now-expired Collective Bargaining Agreement by leaving on the table money that would have been shared when negotiating the latest national broadcast deals, opting instead to beef up language that would ensure ongoing payments to owners during a lockout, not all of which would be repaid.

On May 12, the case moves to the next phase — determining the consequences of the violation.

The briefs have been submitted; predictably, the NFL wants to pay nothing beyond the $6.9 million already given to the players at the behest of the Special Master for adding another Sunday night game to the NBC package in 2010 (the Steelers-Saints game that competed with the World Series) and the players want, as Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal told PFT Live earlier this week, anywhere from $600 million to $1 billion.

Kaplan also reported that the players have suggested that all NFL commercial contracts should be similarly scrutinized.  Whether Judge Doty takes the bait remains to be seen, especially since the players didn’t raise this argument when making their claim in 2010, possibly preventing them from doing so now.

Albert Breer of NFL Network reported Wednesday via Twitter that outside counsel (and 2006 Commissioner finalist) Gregg Levy will lead the league’s delegation on Thursday.  Though Commissioner Roger Goodell is not expected to attend, Breer reports that NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith will be there.

The ultimate outcome will surely be review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and any award of damages to the players will serve as even more leverage for getting a deal done.  In the end, it could provide an opportunity for the NFL to funnel money to the players in 2011 beyond the salary cap, permitting the players’ total take for a year with reduced revenues to increase while allowing the two sides to craft a revenue-based salary-cap formula that would grow as the effects of the lockout subside.

Of course, that would assume an ability by the two parties to communicate effectively, to set aside the desire to build maximum leverage, and to actually give a crap about the long-term interests of the game.  So, basically, it won’t happen.

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38 Responses to “The NFL litigation train heads back to Minnesota”
  1. rcunningham says: May 12, 2011 7:31 AM

    You know what I haven’t had in a while? Big League Chew.

  2. chapnastier says: May 12, 2011 7:35 AM

    In all these cases the players seem to want, want, want and want. They make claims that everything is theirs. I just don’t understand it. I get the point that the league arguably broke the CBA by doing this but the players don’t deserve anything more than their percentage that they would have gotten had the league followed the CBA to begin with.

  3. edjy71 says: May 12, 2011 7:49 AM

    Attention NFLPA*

    If you give them the money they want, they are going to use it to grow their business. When the business grows, it will increase revenue. Increased revenue will increase the salary cap. An increased salary cap will INCREASE YOUR SALARY… this means you’ll get paid more money!

  4. edjy71 says: May 12, 2011 7:55 AM

    Attention NFLPA*

    If you give them the money they want, they are going to use it to grow their business. When the business grows, it will increase revenue. Increased revenue will raise the salary cap. A raised salary cap will INCREASE YOUR SALARY… this means you’ll get paid more money!

  5. eagleswin says: May 12, 2011 8:02 AM

    In the end, it could provide an opportunity for the NFL to funnel money to the players in 2011 beyond the salary cap, permitting the players’ total take for a year with reduced revenues to increase while allowing the two sides to craft a revenue-based salary-cap formula that would grow as the effects of the lockout subside.

    ———————–

    Why would the owners view that as an opportunity? The players are costing the owners money in legal costs and reduced revenue but they need to make sure that no players were financially harmed by the litigation?

    Let’s make sure the players are rewarded for litigating instead of negotiating. That’ll teach them.

  6. lasher1650 says: May 12, 2011 8:18 AM

    Remember that the owners are the ones who opted out of the CBA, not the players. The owners are now looking to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars they agreed to pay the players, largely to subsidize the building of new stadiums that nobody forced them to build (looking at you Jerry Jones).

    While there is blame to be found on both sides in this current lockout, the anti-player sentiment that seems to prevail on PFT is surprising to me given the tact of the owners in this situation.

  7. supashug says: May 12, 2011 8:18 AM

    no football this year

  8. gtisme says: May 12, 2011 8:18 AM

    Hmmmmmm, Big League Chew……that does sound pretty good, wonder if it still comes in that chewing-tobacco style pouch?

  9. garkeith says: May 12, 2011 8:24 AM

    Im so tired of this BS.

  10. preludetosmack says: May 12, 2011 8:25 AM

    Why don’t the owners file a motion with the special master that when rejecting the 18 game season, the Union violated the now-expired Collective Bargaining Agreement by leaving on the table money that would have been shared?

    That’s about 13% more revenue that the union failed to allow the league to realize.

  11. imongo says: May 12, 2011 8:26 AM

    Land of 10,000 fakes.

  12. heavythumb says: May 12, 2011 8:29 AM

    Attention NFLPA*

    If you give them the money they want, they are going to use it to grow Tom Brady’s hair. As Tom Brady’s hair grows, it will increase revenue.

  13. deadeye says: May 12, 2011 8:29 AM

    We get to see the spectacle of how another Minnesota judge can find inventive interpretations to screw the owners out of even more money, and donate it to the less fortunate, which in this case are the millionaire crybabies.

  14. greenandgold4life says: May 12, 2011 8:39 AM

    If the players want more of the leagues commercial revenue, why can’t the league go after individual player commercial endorsement revenue earned as a result of their employment as an NFL player?? What’s good for one side should be good for the other!!……I know it’ll never happen but these players are under the impression they have ownership. They don’t have near the skin in the game that the owners do.

  15. username54 says: May 12, 2011 8:40 AM

    @chapnastier

    “I get the point that the league arguably broke the CBA by doing this but the players don’t deserve anything more than their percentage that they would have gotten had the league followed the CBA to begin with.”

    So far they haven’t. So I assume you are on the side of the players?

  16. jerrydesaulniers says: May 12, 2011 8:40 AM

    It just seems like a runaway train. Moving away from the bargaining table was a big mistake by the PLAYERS UNION.

  17. 7thehardway says: May 12, 2011 8:54 AM

    They still have grape? Nothing like a big, nasty chaw full of grape Big League Chew, no Sir.

  18. waccoforflacco says: May 12, 2011 8:58 AM

    I think the owners should just shut all business down just like the players no longer have a union. This way there will be no league for the players to file any lawsuits against.

    You can’t get nothin’ from nothin’. Plus there will be nothing to file anti-trust suits against.

    DeMaurice Smith is REALY ugly. Couldn’t the players at least elect somebody whose face didn’t look like a pile of sh##.

  19. 3octaveFart says: May 12, 2011 9:02 AM

    chapnastier says: May 12, 2011 7:35 AM

    “In all these cases the players seem to want, want, want and want. They make claims that everything is theirs. I just don’t understand it.”

    What you don’t understand fills libraries.
    The players haven’t asked for anything, in fact they were fine with the CBA they had, which wasn’t set to expire until the end of the 2012 season.
    The owners OTOH were the greedy ones.
    They pulled the plug on their agreement, and why?
    Not because they’re losing money, because they’re not. They’re just upset that their profits aren’t as large as they used to be.

  20. 2011to2020lions says: May 12, 2011 9:12 AM

    Am I wrong or do the players not get paid the amount they agree to in their contracts. I just don’t see how this can still be going on. Greed is a very bad thing, when both sides are that way

  21. broncobourque says: May 12, 2011 9:13 AM

    If the NFLPA doesn’t exist anymore, who exactly are they going to pay this money to anyways. With no NFLPA, there is no organization for the league to agree to pay anything.

  22. thefiesty1 says: May 12, 2011 9:18 AM

    The players were the ones that decertified and walked away from a very reasonable offer from the league. This lockout is ALL their fault. It will not end until the players stop all this crap and accept the fact that the owners are not going to just keep going. They’ll shut everything down, no thanks to the players, and all of the players will be unemployed permanently. They are really that stupid.

  23. mwt5584 says: May 12, 2011 9:36 AM

    With all the problems that we currently have in the country, I can’t believe this is the stuff that’s clogging our court system.

  24. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: May 12, 2011 9:45 AM

    This is yet another—and the latest—example of the “shoot for the stars” strategy by the players. Even assuming, for arguments sake, that Judge Doty grants the players a judgment remotely close to the pie-in-the-sky amount of “$600MM to $1Bn,” I would think such a judgment would be ripe for review by the Eighth Circuit, especially in light of the NFL Special Master’s ruling.

  25. mac3333 says: May 12, 2011 9:47 AM

    edjy71: “Attention NFLPA*

    If you give them the money they want, they are going to use it to grow their business. When the business grows, it will increase revenue. Increased revenue will raise the salary cap. A raised salary cap will INCREASE YOUR SALARY… this means you’ll get paid more money!”

    ——————————————————-

    Yeah. And tax cuts for the rich creates new jobs too ….

    Any money the owners take back is going straight into their pockets and bank accounts. They’ll stimulate an economy, Wall Streets. When they buy into hedge funds and they buy up stocks and bonds that will do little for the players.

  26. pfmadden says: May 12, 2011 9:54 AM

    @2011to2020lions

    “You’re not wrong, Walter. You’re just an a******.”

    And while individual players only get paid the amount provided for in their contract, the amount teams agree to pay in contracts is based on the provisions of the CBA applicable to all members.

    Don’t worry about it, you don’t understand much less than half the people on this site.

  27. seatown12 says: May 12, 2011 9:56 AM

    the team formerly known as the “steelers” could play the team formerly knownas the “ravens” 7 on 7 in the parking lot, shirts vs skins, and fans would STILL play to see it. Perhaps the owners should try to preserve the history of this beautiful league, instead of trying to squeeze pay cuts out of its cash cow without proving that revinue is being lost. do to players really NEED the nfl? Do the fans really NEED the nfl? theyre on a slippery lope a should tread lightly.

  28. chapnastier says: May 12, 2011 9:59 AM

    @ 30octave

    Give it up man. I have explained everything to you over and over and over. Those of us smart enough to care get it and those dumb enough not to don’t. Hence why your opinion is in the minority.

    @ username

    While I tend to side with the owners on this as they haven’t really done anything wrong, this one seems fishy to me. But no, I am not pro-spoiled brat players who don’t understand their roles in a short cycle of being an employee in a very lucrative profession.

    @ lasher

    The owners legally opted out of the CBA. They expressed their legal rights to renegotiate, that is why so many of us are “pro-owner”

  29. seahawkhuskyfan says: May 12, 2011 10:14 AM

    Doty looks like he would have been the little nerdy kid with the only ball at the park. Make him mad and he will take his ball and go home. The current picture makes him look like a tool.

  30. clear2me says: May 12, 2011 10:17 AM

    Big League Chew…current NFL flavor “SOUR GRAPES”

  31. Kwame F says: May 12, 2011 10:44 AM

    Seems many people don’t understand what happens today in Minnesota.

    Instead of getting more money that would have been shared, the league made agreements that they (the owners) would get paid by tv/sponsors even if there was not a single game played in 2011. In some cases (Direct TV) the league would get paid more, if there is no season. The league would have to repay this money eventually, I believe by the end of the following year but I’m not 100% sure on that point.

    This is the money that has been called the “lockout insurance”. Judge Doty has found this to be illegal, (since the league is supposed to negotiate in the best interests of both owners and players) today he decides what the damages are.

  32. oldbyrd says: May 12, 2011 10:44 AM

    First of all…you shouldn’t talk about D’Maurice like that. He will always have work…Next stop for the 3′-1″ commie is the zoo. That is on either side of the cages. He is a absolute Idiot. I hope no matter what side you are on, you now see the Destructive capability of the Marxist Unions. Football and all over the country. Communism at its finest. Three months ago The biggest Communist on the planet Fidel Castro proclaimes “Communism has failed in Cuba, Communism does not work” He then promptly fired 9000 socialist workers.

  33. smacklayer says: May 12, 2011 11:39 AM

    More money awarded to the player in this case means less money for them later. The NFL and owners can not print money nor are they bottomless puts of cash. They have a budget for their NFL business and the more the palyer chip away at that, the less they will have later.

    Seconly, NFL teams are simply a conduit of cash from you the customer to the players. So the more cash awarded to the players, means higher prices for you.

    It’s like the fallacy of taxing corporations. Corporations do not print money, any taxes or fees you make a corporation pay necessarily result in high prices for you the customer.

  34. andrewfbrowne says: May 12, 2011 11:39 AM

    Wow, another Federal judge maing a decision on Football, these guys get on my nerves. You know what the difference between God and a Federal Jodge is?

    God knows he not a Federal judge.

  35. nmeagle33 says: May 12, 2011 11:43 AM

    I am so tired of this s… Maybe all the owners should put all teams up for sale to the players.

    To buy, they accept all bills and responsibilities of ownership. They wanted to see the books; now they can. I suppose they will make Smith commie.

    Oh well, WAS A GREAT GAME!

  36. bo1210 says: May 12, 2011 11:46 AM

    mac3333

    You have no idea hat you’re talking about. Kindly STFU.

  37. mac3333 says: May 12, 2011 1:08 PM

    Bo1210,

    I know EXACTLY of what I speak. If you slice up the total pie and give the owners a larger share they will NOT use that share to grow their businesses. They will pocket the money.

    When Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs head) gets a massive bonus does he immediately take that money and give his maid a raise? I’m betting no. I bet he takes that cash and either blows it on something wasteful like another yacht or he reinvests it in another hedge fund or some other reverse robin hood scam.

    Do you REALLY think that Mike Brown owner of the Bengals is going to spend one more cent than he’s obligated to spend just because you gave him a larger slice of the pie? Anyone who follows the Bengals knows that’s a laughable proposition. He would pocket the money or he would increase one salary, HIS. (He has the GM title so he can pay himself WHATEVER HE WANTS) This is how the owners can play games with the books and its why the players want to see ALL of the books. Not just the ones the Owners want to show. (Asinine auditing concept)

    So bo1210, I would ask you to kindly STFU like you did to me. But I am not as polite as you. So F off you incompetent lemming.

  38. riverhorsey says: May 12, 2011 1:17 PM

    the players deserve some of this money simply because of the sacrifice the make with their bodies but I don’t think it should be more than 1/3 of the profits.

    Work it out boys, let’s go !

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