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Collusion case heads to appeals court on Tuesday

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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.

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24 Responses to “Collusion case heads to appeals court on Tuesday”
  1. dietrich43 says: Jan 14, 2014 10:21 AM

    Yes, the Owners colluded.

    So did the NFL and NFLPA when they agreed to the cap penalties. I don’t understand how the NFLPA is now suing over a penalty they previously agreed with.

  2. thestrategyexpert says: Jan 14, 2014 10:31 AM

    Just tell the plaintiffs to provide conclusive video evidence of the collusion. If they have it, then at least get their video equipment and system and personnel in place on the field so we can have a better shot at calling the games right too.

  3. draftazoid says: Jan 14, 2014 10:34 AM

    And the Union is so dumb that they re-hired DeMaurice Smith after he screwed this up and cost the players proabably a BILLION DOLLARs in damages.
    The Players need their heads examine after such a mess up on their part.

  4. FinFan68 says: Jan 14, 2014 10:36 AM

    It was not collusion the way it is being presented. The teams gamed the system and got whacked. The union also forfeited any collusion claims by agreeing to that specific stipulation in the CBA. This has no merit on any front.

  5. harrisonhits2 says: Jan 14, 2014 10:37 AM

    Regardless, the penalties imposed on the Cowboys ($10 million) and Redskins ($36 million) suggest that collusion was indeed occurring in 2010.
    __________________________________

    Oh geeze here come the Washington team whiners.

    Lets look at happened in Washington.

    No Shanahan coached team has ever reached or won a Super Bowl without salary cap cheating.

    He has a 20+ year history of cap cheating in the league.

    Gets hired by Washington and ignores numerous warnings from the league not to cap cheat again.

    This is on Shanahan, not on the league.

  6. ianijm says: Jan 14, 2014 10:45 AM

    The lawsuit is clearly dumb, but even though I can’t stand either the Cowboys or the Redskins I never understood how the heck the NFL could punish them for something that was not only permitted but also approved at the time by (you guessed it) the NFL.

  7. kingmj4891 says: Jan 14, 2014 10:46 AM

    draftazoid says:
    Jan 14, 2014 10:34 AM
    And the Union is so dumb that they re-hired DeMaurice Smith after he screwed this up and cost the players proabably a BILLION DOLLARs in damages.
    The Players need their heads examine after such a mess up on their part.

    _________________________

    Nope the new CBA transfeedr 4.5 billion to the owners over 10 years that would have gone to the players with the old CBA so year Demoron Smith cost the players 4.5 billion

  8. vdogg says: Jan 14, 2014 10:46 AM

    Is that agreement all ironed out on the HGH tests yet? Maybe the union and that idiot De Smith should hold up their end of the deal before adding more smoke and mirrors to the mess that just keeps festering each off season….

  9. hendawg21 says: Jan 14, 2014 10:51 AM

    Well it seems to me that two teams got royally screwed by the league and the NFLPA and someone should owe both teams the money stripped from them…as we all know it was collusion and both parties knew about it, but then to penalize the two teams for something which was approved by the league is downright robbery! I still don’t know how they were able to pull that off…

  10. norseyapper says: Jan 14, 2014 11:06 AM

    This seems to be nothing but grandstanding by the NFLPA to look better to the players. They know that they bargained away this issue. The players as a whole were compensated via a better over-all contract with the guarantee that they wouldn’t pursue this or other pending actions by the owners in court.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too….the court should determine that the NFLPA is responsible for all legal fees incurred by this spurious legal action.

    As for Dallas and Washington fans, you were sold out by the NFLPA, deal with it.

  11. taintedlombardis says: Jan 14, 2014 11:14 AM

    @harrisonhits2,

    No cap means no cap. Sorry you didn’t like it. How come teams weren’t penalized for being under what would have been the cap floor? Then again, you are a Pats fan…a team that actually cheated.

  12. mutantman87 says: Jan 14, 2014 11:31 AM

    It would seem to me that punishing teams for “violating the spirit of the salary cap” rather than breaking actual codified rules would be grounds for a lawsuit.

    If the NFL really wanted teams to abide by a salary cap and not shift dollars into the uncapped year, then it should have freaking hammered out a CBA and made an actual rule. A memo that says not to load too much of contracts into the uncapped year is not a solid basis to punish teams. For example, how much is too much is the uncapped year? Whatever Goodell says after the fact? That’s why I have a problem with it.

    It’s the best sports league in the country, but I don’t take the NFL’s position at face value, and I won’t be their stooge. They need to play by the same rules as everyone else.

  13. ccjcsr says: Jan 14, 2014 11:32 AM

    Funny thing about all this was that the contracts/restructuring were approved by the NFL.

  14. rg3skinsgetsome says: Jan 14, 2014 11:33 AM

    Didn’t the bucks boost there cap space by not spending money in the so called Un capped year..isn’t that a competitive advantage..signings of Vincent Jackson and Carl nicks come to mind..etc..

  15. romosmicrodongs says: Jan 14, 2014 12:27 PM

    where is your proof of cap cheating from shanny? #nosourcenonsense

    “the NFLPA sold you out, deal with it”

    yup. but you can’t deny that the head of the competition committee who imposed the penalties against two nfc east teams is the owner of another nfc east team, jon mara of the giants.

    Thank you for the coverage florio.

  16. haileysbadoldad says: Jan 14, 2014 12:45 PM

    Uncapped sounds pretty simple. When I play Madden and choose no salary cap I don’t get hit with a penalty after the fact. Clearly the NFL were out to screw the Redskins and Cowboys who at the time were most financially successful teams in the league. The players screwed themselves multiple ways with that agreement. They lost money because every team didn’t have the full cap to pay players and the two teams that overpay lost a good chunk of cap space. And it’s funny the guy who was leading the owners (Mara) fined the two teams in his own divsion. Glad to see his team has done nothing since that happened.

  17. 1standlong says: Jan 14, 2014 1:59 PM

    Isn’t it a little late at this point? How would overturning the previous ruling help the skins or cowboys? They already suffered the penalty the past two years.

  18. mevt69 says: Jan 14, 2014 4:55 PM

    I am a resident of Vermont who has no sports team whatsoever. I also have been the owner of a corporation which is the basis of my question which has had me confused for a couple of years only because the situation makes no sense. I am a casual nfl fan which has spurred my interest. If the nfl allowed the cba to expire, which I believe is the agreed upon operating rules of said business and contracts were submitted which the nfl owners as well as the nflpa all consented to were then set into motion how does a rival team owner propose an salary cap penalty which is then enforced and we continue to discuss the matter two years past hence? Is the state of of nation not represented in this matter? If so how as a nation do we fix such erroneous thinking?

  19. mevt69 says: Jan 14, 2014 5:20 PM

    Upon further reflection I also pose the following question; If this had come to fruition in the industry of your employ what would your opinion then be? Would you feel the same rules should still apply? Our legal system is based upon “past precedent” your opinions and the court desion could very well influence your position in your company sometime in the near future.

  20. chaz1975 says: Jan 14, 2014 6:17 PM

    The Redskins and Cowboys both followed the rules that were set for that year. There was NO CAP. It had been bargained that if their was no new agreement then that would be an uncapped year. So the league then tries to tell the teams not to take advantage of it but yet approves every deal the skins and boys made. Then, after the fact, penalizes them cap dollars. At this point it is the responsibility of the union to fight for that 46 million that is going to be taken away from it’s players. So in a wink/ nod deal the league says they will increase the cap 46m for the rest of the teams (excluding the Raiders and Saints who were also found to dump contracts but not bad enough to warrant being financially punished) by about 1.6 m per team to put the money back into the players pool of money. So the same amount will be spent on players but to hell with the 4 teams that didn’t follow the leagues direction. So now the union is playing favorites. There are so many things wrong with this situation it is ridiculous. I never saw teams get punished for following the rules and then get sold out by their own union that is there to protect them. Imagine the talent you would miss out on after losing 36m in cap room over 2 years as the Redskins did. I don’t know what they can do to fix it but the two teams that were punished cap wise should get that same amount of cap room to use in the future. That’s the least the league should do.

  21. aprilwalker2013 says: Jan 14, 2014 7:28 PM

    Exactly!! Split $$ between all teams except 4..2 of teams had to operate at a severe disadvantage than rest that will prob take years to recover from!! Unreal!! But ok cause all rest of teams got more money? Come On Man!! NFLPA sold Cowboys and Redskins out! I’m a member of a union, and they will sell one group out in favor of another group!! Lived it myself!! Hard to deal with..

  22. bigblackanvil says: Jan 14, 2014 9:29 PM

    Hopefully this will open many eyes to why the Redskins just weren’t that competitive this year. A severe handicap when trying to bring in real talent. I still chuckle to myself when I remember we had a press conference announcing we signed Josh Wilson. SMH…. ’nuff said . HTTR

  23. rainsarge says: Jan 15, 2014 9:27 AM

    Isn’t collusion illegal. So the NFLPA was supposed to know about illegal secret illegal activities that they werent supposed to know about and agree not to seek damages. How can that be?

  24. FinFan68 says: Jan 15, 2014 3:08 PM

    It wasn’t collusion. The collusion referred to was a supposedly secret cap # for the uncapped year–the union even gave a number (can’t remember what specific number they said the secret cap was) but reports (even PFT reports showed that at least half the teams spent more than the supposed collusion cap number. The Cowboys/Redskins got whacked for dumping future cap money into the uncapped year (meaning they had more cap space in future years to get additional players since all the cap money for their stars was dumped). The union’s gripe was that there was collusion that took money away from the players–that obviously was not the case as several free agents made monster contracts that year.

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