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Burbank suggests that Cowboys, Redskins have other avenues of relief

Redskins' Atogwe breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for Cowboys' Ogletree in the second half of their NFL football game in Arlington Reuters

The 12-page ruling issued Tuesday by Special Master Stephen Burbank, a copy of which PFT has obtained, contains a lot of words and citations to legal authority and reasoning and legal mumbo-jumbo.  The dismissal of the grievance filed by the Cowboys and Redskins under the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement ultimately arises from the fact that, because the NFL and NFLPA agreed to reallocate salary cap money from the Cowboys and Redskins to other teams as part of an amendment to the CBA, the Cowboys and Redskins have no basis to challenge the maneuver under the CBA.

But Burbank hints at what could come next.  Near the conclusion of his ruling, Burbank says that, “if the Clubs ‘are dissatisfied with the representation of [their] multi-employer association,’ they retain whatever ‘remedies [they may have] against the association under contract and agency law.'”

In English, this means the Cowboys and Redskins could sue the NFL for violating internal rules and regulations and/or any applicable fiduciary duties that require the league to represent the interests of all teams equally and fairly.  Burbank’s ruling seems to suggest that the Cowboys and Redskins tried to push such principles under the CBA, which means that they very well could choose to pursue such arguments in a full-blown lawsuit.

But it’s one thing to file a grievance under the 2011 CBA.  It’s quite another to go full-blown Al Davis nuclear and sue their 30 partners in a court of law, especially since at some point a judge could decide that the entire dispute arises from illegal collusion arising under the 2006 CBA, which could create major problems when the time comes to negotiate the next new CBA — especially if the NFL tries once again during the uncapped year to enforce a verbal understanding that the uncapped year won’t be treated as truly uncapped.

Speaking of the 2006 CBA, a chance remains that the Cowboys and Redskins will next turn to the expired labor deal, since that’s the labor deal under which the disputed player contracts were negotiated and approved.  That avenue has merit, and risk, because the appeal process eventually could land on the desk of Judge David Doty, who likely wouldn’t hesitate to call collusion if he sees it.

And he undoubtedly will see collusion.  Because, frankly, there was collusion.  The failure of the Cowboys and Redskins to participate in collusion resulted in the cap penalties to which the NFLPA inexplicably agreed.

The more the Cowboys and Redskins push this issue, the greater the chance that someone who could significant injure the overall interests of the NFL will figure this out, and take action that could hurt everyone.

Including the Cowboys and Redskins.

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33 Responses to “Burbank suggests that Cowboys, Redskins have other avenues of relief”
  1. lightcleric says: May 22, 2012 1:28 PM

    This is the dumbest penalty the NFL has ever dealt.

  2. cdrion21 says: May 22, 2012 1:28 PM

    so the punishment was spear head by the mara family and new York giants, now the appeal was held in pa……how is this fair to Dallas and wash

  3. drbrousters says: May 22, 2012 1:29 PM

    “if the Clubs ‘are dissatisfied with the representation of [their] multi-employer association,’ they retain whatever ‘remedies [they may have] against the association under contract and agency law.’”

    In other words, “I know my decision is legally wrong, but I am doing what the other owners want me to.”

  4. mancave001 says: May 22, 2012 1:30 PM

    I’m an educated man, but let me be the first to say…

    What the huh?

  5. slickzmoney says: May 22, 2012 1:33 PM

    Burbank is a coward. In other news, Roger Goodell can’t wait til next April when he gets to embrace 32 large men.

  6. santolonius says: May 22, 2012 1:36 PM

    ok class, we have some new verbs… don’t try to jerry jones the system or you will surely get roger goodelled. of course if you’re convinced you’re right you can always al davis the lot of them.

  7. carlnova says: May 22, 2012 1:36 PM

    in other words, it ain’t over yet John Mara

  8. nineroutsider says: May 22, 2012 1:37 PM

    Redskins fans won’t believe a word of this though; so sorry it ends today with the “most important, most powerful” teams in the league not being able to do anything about it. Jerry and Dan aren’t stupid; they won’t kill the golden goose for one measly egg.

    Sometimes you gamble and lose…

  9. fink says: May 22, 2012 1:37 PM

    Okay, Cowboys and Redskins. You took your shot. You didn’t win. Let it go.

  10. 50milessouthofdetroit says: May 22, 2012 1:38 PM

    why does everything have to end up with judge doty?

  11. ibleedburgundyandgold says: May 22, 2012 1:43 PM

    They should have kept their receipts

  12. geemoney713 says: May 22, 2012 1:45 PM

    Hope the Skins and Boys go Al Davis on their bitch asses for this one.

  13. thraiderskin says: May 22, 2012 1:47 PM

    I vote go nuclear… If it isn’t being done right, then why bother. Its about principle now, apparently the other owners don’t know what that means.

  14. realitypolice says: May 22, 2012 1:50 PM

    The idea that there was an unwritten, non-bargained understanding or agreement about ANYTHING having to do with player compensation between owners is by definition collusion.

    If you do not understand this, I can’t help you.

    The league would have no chance in open court.

    The only that will save them is Jones’ and Snyder’s reluctance to open that particular can of worms.

  15. unitedstateoftexas says: May 22, 2012 1:57 PM

    I think Goodell is placing his bets on Danny and Jerry not wanting to implode the NFL. Boy, oh boy, he doesn’t know these two very well. Both of these guys are successful businessmen and you don’t get to where they are by allowing yourself to be cheated.

  16. nineroutsider says: May 22, 2012 1:59 PM

    @realitypolice says: May 22, 2012 1:50 PM

    The idea that there was an unwritten, non-bargained understanding or agreement about ANYTHING having to do with player compensation between owners is by definition collusion.

    If you do not understand this, I can’t help you.

    The league would have no chance in open court.

    The only that will save them is Jones’ and Snyder’s reluctance to open that particular can of worms.
    —————————————————
    You’re right…except “reluctance” is not nearly a powerful enough word. They, too, are mortified at the thought of potentially undoing their super owner friendly CBA.

    See fans hold grudges and are emotional, billionaires let a few mil slide down their back so that they keep their pockets properly lined with cash. See how that works, take a chance, doesn’t work out, move on and keep lining those pockets. It’s only personal with the fans, not among the owners. These guys do nothing now except keep getting fat and happy…

  17. thegreatgabbert says: May 22, 2012 2:01 PM

    The exasperated Burbank finally stormed “You want relief, you bloody whiners, go take a good crap. It’ll make you feel better!”.

  18. tmkelley1 says: May 22, 2012 2:06 PM

    If the remaining 30 owners have half a brain, they will take their testosterone, throw it out, and argue to Goodell that, hey, maybe we just sit down with the ‘Boys and ‘Skins and negotiate a good-faith arrangement where everyone keeps their guns holstered.

    ‘Course, that throwing out the testosterone is gonna be the hard part.

  19. bigjd says: May 22, 2012 2:17 PM

    I guess it just depends how far the Redskins and Cowboys are willing to take this to prove they were right. In the end, it will hurt all the NFL teams including the Redskins and Cowboys. Roger Goodell is to blame for this. He opened a can of worms that should never have been opened.

  20. steelpalace302 says: May 22, 2012 2:19 PM

    Dont be to sure Jerry wont take this further, he doesnt like being told he is wrong when he isnt. I think he lets it get to David Dotys desk. He has shown in the past that he is not afraid to sue the NFL . This just may turn out to be a very rich game of Chicken.

  21. cliffordc05 says: May 22, 2012 2:25 PM

    This issue gets so complicated it it goes to court and the potentially negative ramifications for the league are so great that I would think that there will be a settlement. The NFL is not business as usual because it requires a certain amount of cooperation among all of the owners. The owner of Miami is just starting to figure this out. It is about time for Jones and Snyder to figure out that they are not the only successful Type A personalities in the NFL.

    There was a certain amount of illegal collusion between the owners that obviously took place during the lockout (and the uncapped year). At some point it is everyone’s best interest to put it in the rear view mirror and move forward. Time for everyone to settle down and shut the hell up.

  22. fastspecv says: May 22, 2012 2:43 PM

    I hope taking away a few million dollars in cap space from the Skins and Cowboys was worth it Goodell! Because your league is about to get owned in court! At this point he should give the Cowboys and Redskins the amount of cap space they lost this year and reimburse them for next year so that they can avoid going to court at all costs because they’re only going to lose their ass there

  23. patsaintsbroncoscheat says: May 22, 2012 2:53 PM

    Seriously get over it already. Your boss told you not to do something. If you did it anyway and knew they would find out you also knew there would be repercussions. Not everything is written down in a rule book. If your boss, Goodell, tells you to jump; you say how high Danny and Jerrah. Do you got that? The best part is the owners appoint their own leader or supervisor. Shut up and take your medicine. Besides it is not like exorbitant spending has been helping you lately anyway.

  24. hendawg21 says: May 22, 2012 3:03 PM

    See how could pursuing this hurt Dallas and Washington??? I mean if it’s proven that there was collusion the other 30 owners who voted against them will have to pay the piper…the Boys and Skins come out clean as they weren’t part of the collusion, and as much as I love football maybe they have gotten a too big for their britches…if Chrysler and GM and Wall Street can crash and burn then so to can the NFL…maybe this is what we need to rein in all this overpricing of tickets, the experience of gameday I mean to be paid what some of these guys get for a GAME is downright crazy.

  25. jesse0874 says: May 22, 2012 3:25 PM

    The thing is they have to fight this or they will have set this ruling in stone . We all know this was a shady deal and who is to say next time its not the Eagles , Bears , Green bay , ect. The nfl is being run by a dictator ! This is not good the players should be irate .

  26. bozosforall says: May 22, 2012 3:35 PM

    patsaintsbroncoscheat says:
    May 22, 2012 2:53 PM
    Seriously get over it already. Your boss told you not to do something. If you did it anyway and knew they would find out you also knew there would be repercussions. Not everything is written down in a rule book. If your boss, Goodell, tells you to jump; you say how high Danny and Jerrah. Do you got that? The best part is the owners appoint their own leader or supervisor. Shut up and take your medicine. Besides it is not like exorbitant spending has been helping you lately anyway.

    __
    Goodell isn’t their boss…they are his…he serves at the whim of the 32 owners.

  27. daysend564 says: May 22, 2012 3:53 PM

    Jerry will make $10M the next time the Superbowl is held in Dallas. If he goes ballastic on them, he’ll never get another Superbowl.

    However, put up your dukes the next time the NFL profit sharing is negotiated.

  28. canesgiants says: May 22, 2012 4:18 PM

    so the punishment was spear head by the mara family and new York giants, now the appeal was held in pa……how is this fair to Dallas and wash
    ===================================
    once again corky the giants have nothing todo with this. mara is the head of the committee–the committee is made up of every nfl team. the committee voted–not john mara. the whole committee.

  29. the3taveren says: May 22, 2012 9:01 PM

    I think the Skins fans should get together and file a class action law suit against the NFL (and John Mara personally). The $36M that the NFL took from the Skins was provided to them by their fans (via many different avenues) with the hope that the team would field a competitive team, but the NFL stole the fans money and gave it to other teams (to help make them better)!

  30. stanklepoot says: May 22, 2012 9:02 PM

    thraiderskin says: May 22, 2012 1:47 PM

    I vote go nuclear… If it isn’t being done right, then why bother. Its about principle now, apparently the other owners don’t know what that means.
    ________________________________
    All due respect, but what planet do you live on? This has nothing to do with principle, on either side. This is about money, plain and simple. A reduced salary cap makes it a little harder for these teams to compete (although it’s not really a huge hit for the Cowboys), which in turn can hurt their brand and cost them money. The owners collude all the time, and normally Jones and Snyder are happy to be a part of it. This time, however, they figured that they could gain an advantage by doing something the rest agree not to do, and that they’d get away with it because the league couldn’t refuse to contracts during a lockout without making the players’ anti-trust case for them. They were right to a point. What they failed to predict was that the other owners would team up and punish them for it a year later. Neither side in this case acted in a noble fashion, and neither side cares about principles at all.

  31. stanklepoot says: May 22, 2012 9:19 PM

    the3taveren says: May 22, 2012 9:01 PM

    I think the Skins fans should get together and file a class action law suit against the NFL (and John Mara personally). The $36M that the NFL took from the Skins was provided to them by their fans (via many different avenues) with the hope that the team would field a competitive team, but the NFL stole the fans money and gave it to other teams (to help make them better)!
    _______________________________
    We fans have exactly zero standing to file suit in this case. We are customers only. As for the money, you’re clearly mixed up. The league didn’t take any money from the Redskins or the Cowboys. The league took away the ability to spend that money. Oh, and the salary cap is based on the tv revenue that the teams share, not ticket or merchandise sales. Furthermore, the punishment in question doesn’t actually directly hurt the Redskins and Cowboys relative to the other teams. The cap penalty was set at the precise amount it would take to counteract the advantage these teams gained by reworking the deals of players already on their rosters. Admittedly, had these teams known this was going to happen, they most likely would have used their cap space differently, but technically speaking they’re not really losing any cap space relative to what the other teams would have had. In fact, the only difference in cumulative cap space is the extra cap space the other teams got as a part of this punishment. Besides, NFL tickets don’t come with any guarantee of on-field success. They sell hope to fans, but they’re smart to never make any legally binding promises. So, no lawsuit for fans there either.

  32. macwomack says: May 23, 2012 10:10 AM

    Take the money away from the Patriots — they got Haynesworth out of the restructured contract and therefore disrupted the competitive balance. Redsknis need to let the league know they will eat the 16 mil penalty associated with Hall — but to punish them for redoing a deal of a player so they could trade them is ridiculous. Not as ridiculous though as the league punishing the Raiders for cutting Russell.

  33. jspb22 says: Jun 2, 2012 10:00 PM

    once again corky the giants have nothing todo with this. mara is the head of the committee–the committee is made up of every nfl team. the committee voted–not john mara. the whole committee.
    —————————————————
    Wrong again Jersey-girl, while the committee represents every team, there are only eight members:
    1 John Mara, Giants (Chairman)
    2 Mike Brown, Bengals
    3 Clark Hunt, Chiefs
    4 Jerry Jones, Cowboys
    5 Robert Kraft, Patriots
    6 Mark Murphy, Packers
    7 Art Rooney, Steelers
    8 Dean Spanos, Chargers

    Take note of member # 4. Do you think he voted for this? This was clearly a one man show, designed to attack two division rivals. Why else would they announce the penalties only an hour before the start of free agency?

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