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NFL, NFLPA gather today in Minnesota for collusion case

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Technically, summer isn’t over.  And so the NFL’s Summer of Law isn’t, either.

Today, the NFL and the NFL Players Association will meet in Minnesota before Judge David Doty regarding the bolt-from-the-blue collusion case that the union filed in May.  The hearing starts at 2:00 p.m. ET.

The players want to reopen the now-dismissed Reggie White class action and pursue billions in damages for the league’s alleged imposition of a secret salary cap in 2010, a year that was supposed to have no cap at all.  The argument gains significant momentum from the fact that the NFL slapped the Redskins and Cowboys with salary-cap penalties earlier this year  for violating the “spirit” of the salary cap in 2010, even though there was no salary cap at all.

The union faces two key hurdles.  First, the NFL vigorously has argued that all potential claims that were made or could have been made before the new labor deal was signed in August 2011 have been waived.  It’s a common dynamic whenever lawsuits have been settled; the players’ only hope in this case comes from whether the NFL’s lawyers properly dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s in the paperwork.

Second, and as a more practical matter, the NFLPA seems to be trying to have it both ways.  By agreeing to the cap penalties as the quid pro quo for a tinkering with the salary cap in 2012, which kept it from being lower than the team-by-team numbers in 2011, and now trying to argue that the penalties to which the NFLPA agreed prove that there was collusion, the NFLPA invites a very pointed question from Judge Doty.  “Why,” he may ask, “did you not allege collusion the moment the NFL proposed punishing the Cowboys and Redskins for treating the uncapped year as anything other than an uncapped year?”

The union is confident that Judge Doty will rule in their favor, given the perception that he generally favors the players’ position.  (Indeed, at one point the NFL filed a motion to have Judge Doty removed from his role as supervisor of the pre-2011 labor deals, based on the notion that he has a bias against the league.)

Regardless of how he rules, the case will be reviewed by one of the more conservative (and thus business friendly) federal appeals courts in the country.  Which means that the Summer of Law will continue, until and perhaps through next summer, too.

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21 Responses to “NFL, NFLPA gather today in Minnesota for collusion case”
  1. nebster21 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:29 AM

    So do the Redskins or the Cowboys have any recourse if Doty says the NFLPA are correct and there was collusion?

  2. txxxchief says: Sep 6, 2012 11:30 AM

    One thing is for sure. The lawyers will all be richer when this is over.

  3. eagleswin says: Sep 6, 2012 11:38 AM

    I hope Doty tells the NFLPA to get lost but that would be a first for him.

  4. hail74 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:39 AM

    If you looked at the cap space available for each team you’d notice that all teams have more than the 1.2 mil awarded them. This means that the union negotiated a higher cap number for teams that wouldn’t spend it and took 23 mil in cap space away from teams that would. Genius

  5. bluebongzilla says: Sep 6, 2012 11:40 AM

    You can’t whitewash it. The NFLPA traded BS sanctions for two teams for breaking rules that didn’t exist in exchange for cash. This is why people are getting fed up with corrupt unions. The NFLPA and Mara and every other NFL owner that encouraged sanctions against the Redskins and Cowboys have dirty hands. It’s particularly sweet the way that the Cowboys went into the Giants’ stadium and dominated them in spite of John “Fortunate Grandson” Mara’s backdoor attempts at hamstringing. At the end of the day he’s just another lawyer that never worked a real job in his life and wouldn’t make a pimple on the butt of either his father or grandfather. You BET this was a big game.

  6. mjkelly77 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:40 AM

    Judge Doty should realize that he will continually be viewed as a buffoon should he rule in favor of the union. With such a ruling being overturned on appeal, Doty needs to save time, money, and resources and rule in favor of the NFL.

  7. srobert1117 says: Sep 6, 2012 12:12 PM

    Hail. The reason why teams have cap space is so that they can make moves when players get injured. Teams always want a couple million in space. There are some teams like the Bengals that have a ton of cap space but the majority spend up to the cap.

  8. rhodeislandpatriotsfan says: Sep 6, 2012 12:17 PM

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Judge Doty concludes that the waiver is legally sufficient and rules in favor of the NFL.

  9. macwomack says: Sep 6, 2012 12:18 PM

    nebster21 says:Sep 6, 2012 11:29 AM

    So do the Redskins or the Cowboys have any recourse if Doty says the NFLPA are correct and there was collusion?
    ———–

    The damage is done – Mara got what he wanted – to hamstring the Redskins and Cowboys. There really is no recourse that would undo the Redskins inability to sign Free Agents retroactively.

    But considering the Redskins swept the Giants last year and only got better – and considering the Cowboys just beat the Giants. Mara may have exposed the whole league to Billions in damage for no good reason.

  10. gbrussell says: Sep 6, 2012 12:28 PM

    hail74 said: “If you looked at the cap space available for each team you’d notice that all teams have more than the 1.2 mil awarded them. This means that the union negotiated a higher cap number for teams that wouldn’t spend it and took 23 mil in cap space away from teams that would. Genius”
    ——–
    Not necessarily. Unused cap room can now get carried over from one year to the next. Last year every team who had unused cap room did so.

    So just because the cap room didn’t get used this year, doesn’t mean it won’t be used eventually.

  11. sj39 says: Sep 6, 2012 12:30 PM

    I for one am glad there are more conservative (and thus business friendly) federal appeals courts in the country.

  12. mediasloppy says: Sep 6, 2012 12:46 PM

    I don’t know how this will all go down, but I do know that every Union strike I’ve seen ends up with the business winning. Even in MN where it’s considered a pro-union State. Work out a deal the people can live with even if it’s a bitter pill to swallow. It’s better than having NO Union on your side…

  13. gmen1987 says: Sep 6, 2012 2:01 PM

    The Judge should say to the NFLPA “Are you serious or delirious?”, then rule for the owners and then say “Case dismissed”.

  14. panamon says: Sep 6, 2012 2:12 PM

    Am I the only one who actually sees the argument the NFL has against the Cowboys and Redskins? It wasn’t a “secret cap” because they weren’t punished for surpassing ANY secret amount.

    What they did was putting SO much money (tens of millions) into one year that it absolutely destroyed any fairness the salary cap would have for the foreseeable future by letting the two teams basically not be affected by the cap AFTER the one uncapped year.

    That’s a huge competitive advantage and although the NFLPA agreed for selfish reasons I find that the NFL actually had a quite strong argument. Teams were told although it was uncapped not to go above and beyond by thinking they could ignore future caps by dumping a ton of money one year at the absurd level the two teams did.

  15. davereckon says: Sep 6, 2012 2:22 PM

    Is it possible that this is an end run around the bounty case?

    The NFLPA could be in a win win situation, unless I am missing a key point, which happens from time to time.

    If Doty rules that infractions prior to the new CBA were dismissed as part of the settlement, why wouldn’t that mean that the bounty case should also be dismissed? And if the union signed off on a one sided deal that only dismisses league infractions, then that is a level of stupidity bordering on legendary, and someone needs to lose their job for that one.

    If Doty rules in the other direction, then the union gets to tweak the league, which they seem to enjoy doing.

  16. bluebongzilla says: Sep 6, 2012 2:51 PM

    “What they did was putting SO much money (tens of millions) into one year that it absolutely destroyed any fairness the salary cap would have for the foreseeable future by letting the two teams basically not be affected by the cap AFTER the one uncapped year.”

    Was there a rule against it? If your answer is no, then it wasn’t against the rules. That means that any team that wanted to could have done it that way. Ergo, there is no competitive advantage. What’s so hard to understand?

    “Teams were told although it was uncapped not to go above and beyond”

    That’s the definition of collusion.

  17. mcconne77 says: Sep 6, 2012 3:31 PM

    “What they did was putting SO much money (tens of millions) into one year that it absolutely destroyed any fairness the salary cap would have for the foreseeable future by letting the two teams basically not be affected by the cap AFTER the one uncapped year.”

    And yet the NFL approved the contracts that were submitted by the Redskins and Cowboys in this “uncapped” year. The NFL should have rejected the contracts at that point, if there was a rules violation or unfair advantage. How can the league come back two years later and make that claim?

  18. draftazoid says: Sep 6, 2012 4:12 PM

    If the NFL Loses this Case you can all Blame The NEW YORK GIANT’S OWNER. He is the one that pursued punishing the Redskins and Cowboys and then Bloated about it to the world.

  19. jesse0874 says: Sep 6, 2012 5:03 PM

    Whether or not the nflpa wins this case or not all mara did was screw the rest of the owers next time the cotract comes around .You can bet that their will not be one player who will not be told or know what went down .Sadly when it dose happen the players will be the ones who get the blame for a long hold out that could ruin the game of football all because of one mans personal vendeta .

  20. macwomack says: Sep 7, 2012 12:19 AM

    panamon says:Sep 6, 2012 2:12 PM

    Am I the only one who actually sees the argument the NFL has against the Cowboys and Redskins?

    —–

    Of course not – you are not the only one. You are in a minority of people like Mara that actually belives that punishing teams for spending in an uncapped year constitutes a violation of the salary cap and that the existence of a secret cap does not constitute collusion.

    There are many such people typically these are Giants fans…unfortunately for you and these fans there are those of us that enjoy the benefits of basic elementary school logic.

  21. macwomack says: Sep 7, 2012 12:23 AM

    draftazoid says:Sep 6, 2012 4:12 PM

    If the NFL Loses this Case you can all Blame The NEW YORK GIANT’S OWNER. He is the one that pursued punishing the Redskins and Cowboys and then Bloated about it to the world

    I think you mean gloated or blabbed regardless I agree with you.

    But then again Mara was born naked into this world with only his daddy’s servants to help him get through his days — you can hardly blame him for not thinking things through — it is afterall likely someone elses fault and not his.

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