Nearly two years ago, the NFL whacked the Cowboys and Redskins with significant cap penalties for taking the term “uncapped year” too literally in 2010. The effort to dust off a collusion case against the league for encouraging teams to not take the term “uncapped year” too literally continues to literally crawl through the court system.
Per the Associated Press, via SportsBusiness Daily, the NFL and NFL Players Association will present oral arguments on Tuesday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit regarding the question of whether the NFLPA should be able to sue for the collusion implied by an after-the-fact whacking of the Cowboys and Redskins for taking full advantage of what the rules at the time expressly allowed.
Judge David Doty, regarded as being so favorable to player interests that the NFL once tried to get him removed from cases involving the league and the union, previously ruled that the NFLPA had waived its potential claims for collusion in 2010 when executing a new labor agreement in 2011. The Eighth Circuit, regarded as being favorable to business interests, likely will uphold the determination.
The biggest problem with the collusion claims comes from the fact that the union knew or should have known that collusion may have been happening during the uncapped year. Also, and as a matter of basic fairness, the NFLPA agreed to the imposition of cap penalties on the Cowboys and Redskins in exchange for a boosting of the 2012 salary cap. By accepting the benefit of that bargain and then trying to file a claim for collusion, the union arguably is trying to have it both ways.
Regardless, the penalties imposed on the Cowboys ($10 million) and Redskins ($36 million) suggest that collusion was indeed occurring in 2010. The contracts for which the Cowboys and Redskins were punished were approved by the league when executed, with the cap consequences coming only after a comprehensive settlement of all potential claims from 2010 had been finalized.