The NFL season kicks off on September 5. The next day, the collusion case filed during the offseason takes center stage in federal court in Minneapolis.
The NFLPA has released a statement announcing that, on Thursday, the players filed a brief in response to the NFL’s effort to defeat the collusion case by focusing not on the merits of the claim but the timeliness of the filing. Put as simply as possible, the NFL contends that the collusion claims were waived; the NFLPA understandably and predictably claims they weren’t.
The collusion claim was sparked by the cap penalties imposed by the NFL on the Redskins and Cowboys for violating the “spirit” of the salary cap in 2010.
“In its filing, the NFLPA informed the Court that in March 2012, once the NFL and Owners believed they were in the clear, they imposed punishments on two teams — the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys — that failed to fully honor the Owners illegal conspiracy to collude during the uncapped 2010 season,” the NFLPA says. “Public comments by Owners in March 2012 about those punishments exposed what had been, until then, a carefully concealed agreement to violate the White Stipulation and Settlement Agreement. But now, confronted with a damages claim for their admitted conspiracy, the Owners desperately seek to find some legal argument to shield them from redress for the willful violations of the anti-collusion provisions of the Reggie White antitrust settlement agreement.”
The NFLPA offers no details in the statement regarding its response to the arguments made by the NFL (specifically, that the new CBA waived all possible collusion claims and even if it didn’t the NFLPA should have filed the collusion claim much earlier). The NFLPA also doesn’t explain how the brief deals with the biggest question presented by this collusion claim: Why did the NFLPA agree to allow the NFL to impose the cap penalties in the first place?
We’re in the process of tracking down the brief, and later today we’ll put together an explanation that has a good chance of causing you to wake up at your desk in a puddle of drool that contains small bits of Cheetos.