The NFLPA believes that the league colluded in 2010, and now the players are trying to prove it.
The process of collecting evidence in the two-week-old collusion case began Thursday. A source with knowledge of the litigation tells PFT that the NFLPA has submitted requests for information and documents to the NFL.
In a normal federal lawsuit, so-called discovery requests can’t be made until after the court conducts an initial status conference. Since the present action arises from a petition to reopen the Reggie White antitrust lawsuit, the NFLPA presumably believes that the process of collecting information and documents may begin.
Look for the NFL to fight this one, refusing to provide information until Judge David Doty has ruled on the question of whether the collusion claim was waived as part of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement and the settlement of all pending litigation.
In a roundabout way, the union’s strategy could get the case moving at a time when it isn’t. By trying to take the initiative and gather evidence even though Judge Doty has yet to even acknowledge the new filing, the NFL will file paperwork that forces Judge Doty to dust off the file and get to work.
The NFLPA contends that the NFL had a secret salary cap of $123 million per team during the uncapped year of 2010. According to the union, evidence of the collusion arose in the aftermath of an agreement between the league and the NFLPA to strip $46 million in salary cap space from the Redskins and Cowboys due to alleged competitive advantages obtained in the uncapped year.