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Judge allows Washington bounty lawsuit to proceed

Greg Williams AP

It’s been a bad month in court for the Washington NFL franchise.

In June, the team owned by Daniel Snyder lost its federal trademark protection.  (The decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been appealed.)  Now, the team has lost the first round of a fight regarding a bounty system allegedly used by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

According to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, a judge in Maryland declined to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former NFL linebacker Barrett Green against the team and tight end Robert Royal.  Green contends he was deliberately injured by Royal under the bounty system maintained by Williams, who now serves as the defensive coordinator in St. Louis.

The team challenged the lawsuit as being filed too late and barred by the labor deal between the NFL and NFLPA.

“[T]he battery alleged here — a block intentionally designed to cause physical injury harm — could not conceivably be authorized under the CBA, and therefore is not inextricably intertwined with it,” the judge wrote, per Kaplan.

While it doesn’t mean Green will win, he has secured for now the ability to develop evidence to support his claims, including sworn testimony from Williams and the men who played for Williams in Washington and elsewhere.

Yes, playing football entails physical risk.  But certain risks should not be tucked under that umbrella, such as the risk that someone will use the cover of football as a way to deliberately injure another player.

Could it open the floodgates for other lawsuits by players who believe they’ve been intentionally injured by opponents?  Possibly.  But not many cases will carry with them evidence of a bounty system aimed at rewarding, and thus enticing, efforts to knock opposing players out of a game.

It’s safe to say that, as to Williams’ past use of a bounty system, it’s unlikely that other lawsuits will be filed.  More than two years have passed since the bounty program was exposed; in most American jurisdictions, the statute of limitations for injury cases stands at two years.

For anyone injured by a Gregg Williams bounty program, the clock began to tick no later than two years after the NFL disclosed that Williams had a bounty program in New Orleans, triggering a flurry of reports that Williams used a similar system in other cities, like Washington, Jacksonville, and Buffalo.

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34 Responses to “Judge allows Washington bounty lawsuit to proceed”
  1. grumpyoleman says: Jul 10, 2014 12:57 PM

    Is this about the Redskins or the state of college teams?

  2. skinsrock says: Jul 10, 2014 1:03 PM

    I will give any player that sacks ROMO a dollar this season.

    Seriously, how do they prove that a person was intentionally injured by a player? Players aim to punish all the time & sometimes the guy doesn’t get up. It’s part of the game.

  3. clashpoint says: Jul 10, 2014 1:05 PM

    Ugh anyone who thinks these things are easy is kinda dim. If some clown hits me on the street – or you, and don’t lie about that – and cause me (or you) a career ending injury, there’s probably going to be lawyers involved. America is the most capitalist country on this planet and that’s the fact, Jack. I’m not super happy about that, myself. That said, if you end someone’s best way to earn capital in America, you’ve committed a serious crime whether me or anyone else likes it or not. MONEY. OVER. EVERYTHING. Sometimes the truth sucks.

  4. weepingjebus says: Jul 10, 2014 1:10 PM

    No local jury will ever believe a Redskins player was able to block.

  5. squirrelthomas says: Jul 10, 2014 1:11 PM

    There should be an investigation of the grass at FedEx field for the bounty on Griffin’s knee.

  6. cardmagnet says: Jul 10, 2014 1:12 PM

    Good luck proving intent.

  7. scorpiox1960 says: Jul 10, 2014 1:16 PM

    “….the Washington NFL franchise.”

    Don’t try those jedi mind tricks with me.

  8. floreskins says: Jul 10, 2014 1:18 PM

    Now that Ms. Blackhorse, head of the law suit against the Redskins has stated that the Kansas City Chiefs’ name is also offensive and should be changed, will you refer to them as the Kansas City NFL franchise? The whole premise of the argument is that no matter how small a group of people is offended by something then it must change. Please explain why one situation differs from another.

  9. nfcman says: Jul 10, 2014 1:24 PM

    Among the many problems with this lawsuit, I feel compelled to point out that Robert Royal played exclusively offense (TE) under Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Joe Gibbs — not Gregg Williams.

  10. surfinbird1 says: Jul 10, 2014 1:44 PM

    Doesn’t matter if Royal played offense under Gibbs. If Royal was participating in a bounty system that was maintained Williams case on. If Gibbs was aware of said system and it’s hard to believe he wouldn’t be that is a whole new bag of worms. Btw, Williams should have never been allowed to coach in the NFL again after he screwed up the Saints.

  11. scw1993 says: Jul 10, 2014 1:54 PM

    Their name, and whether they will still be using it or not isn’t the only issue with this franchise.

    Williams antics on the Washington team should be investigated, they are nothing but a bunch of cheaters. They haven’t won anything, even with the cheating.

  12. baddegg says: Jul 10, 2014 1:55 PM

    floreskins says:
    Jul 10, 2014 1:18 PM
    Now that Ms. Blackhorse, head of the law suit against the Redskins has stated that the Kansas City Chiefs’ name is also offensive and should be changed, will you refer to them as the Kansas City NFL franchise? The whole premise of the argument is that no matter how small a group of people is offended by something then it must change. Please explain why one situation differs from another.

    —————–

    The Media: “If one person complains, then we should listen and do something about it!”

    Amanda Blackhorse: “The Chiefs need to change their ways as well…their imagery is insulting. I am one person so you have to listen.”

    The Media: “Wait. That’s different.”

    Every fan of a team other than the Redskins: “Yeah, it’s different. The Redskins are evil.”

  13. censorshipstinks says: Jul 10, 2014 2:01 PM

    The school is located on the Navajo Reservation and is a public school. We have nearly 100% Navajo students.

    Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year. I am honored to be at Red Mesa High School as their Principal. Red Mesa High School has a long tradition of students who have achieved in academics, and athletes who have excelled on the field. I want to build on that tradition. Redskin Pride will be promoted in all programs and activities this year. We will call it “Pursuing Excellence with honor”.

  14. cvdt57 says: Jul 10, 2014 2:09 PM

    Greg Williams=defensive coordinator Robert Royal=tight end Barrett Green=moron if he honestly thinks Williams was manipulating players on the offense.

  15. bayouranch says: Jul 10, 2014 2:10 PM

    anyone that follows the Saints, knows there was never a bounty system, Goodell just couldn’t admit he was wrong, so I don’t think Washington has anything to worry about.

  16. whoisthatteam says: Jul 10, 2014 2:15 PM

    Wait, So OTHER teams were also employing bounty systems? The same system that caused the saints to lose 2 2nd round draft picks and caused a coach and gm to be suspended? Godell set a precedent. Should these teams be found to have been running bounty systems I’ll fully expect, at the least, the loss of 2 2nd round draft picks from that team. Also a year suspension of any gm, head coach or coordinator that happens to still be employed in the league.

  17. cleminem757 says: Jul 10, 2014 2:16 PM

    This was an offensive player (Robert Royal). His coach would not have been Greg Williams. Case dismissed.

  18. mutohasaposse says: Jul 10, 2014 2:33 PM

    Chances Mara will use this to dock us some cap room or draft picks?

  19. pr0jecktpat says: Jul 10, 2014 2:34 PM

    I want you to go out there and kill them!…Oh no wait…I mean destroy them!…oh crap I can’t say that…um punish them?

    Defenses play to stop the offense at any cost. The idea that an entire defense would be up for severely hurting the competition is laughable, but the game of football is violent, people are going to get hurt. This is ridiculous that this keeps being brought up, over and over again, at this point it just feels like a witch hunt.

  20. sb44champs says: Jul 10, 2014 2:51 PM

    It should be called ‘The Motivation Program’, not the Bounty Program as that is the only thing any players/coaches are guilty of: Motivating players

  21. xinellum says: Jul 10, 2014 2:54 PM

    How do they prove it I hear people saying… It is a civil not criminal case so it is not beyond reasonable doubt is is just a preponderance of the evidence. If it is proven that there was a bounty system and a specific player was on a list or players were made aware of a player to be injured then it will be up to a jury to determine if they feel it is a 51% belief the player was injured by a player who was aware of the bounty. If they show the system exists and a player was identified on the list and ended up injured, chances are a jury is going to award damages. It is awful fishy a guy ends up with a bounty on his head and then gets injured. Hard to convince me it was just a coincidence. The NFL is a wink wink nod nod league from HGH, to concussions, to owner collusion, to punishing owners for breaking the law, to bounty systems.

  22. cvdt57 says: Jul 10, 2014 2:56 PM

    Let me make a prediction for how this goes down in court. Green will have no proof that money or Greg Williams were involved in Royal’s hit. He will show a video of the block in question and attempt to polarize the court room by exaggerating how vicious it was. The defense will then show a video montage of every illegal hit from every game last year. Making the idea that any of them were anything more than a heat of the moment occurrence ridiculous. Maybe if Barret Green had bothered to get an education in college he wouldn’t be spending his days mourning one down of football.

  23. w0rkh0lic1 says: Jul 10, 2014 3:27 PM

    This is all ridiculous because I’m sure any coach can pull up game tape of a half dozen Legal blocks where there was no flag thrown and a player ended up injured. Injury alone doesn’t mean a tight end was “out to get you “… It’s a money grab by a former player looking to cash in on something totally unrelated. Even during the Saints Bounty scandal, I dont believe a single offensive player was accused or targeted as accepting a bounty payment. Just stupid..

  24. dude2424 says: Jul 10, 2014 3:50 PM

    We Saints fans are still waiting on any of those 50,000 pages of evidence of a bounty system that it claimed the Saints had to be released.
    Where is it Roger?

  25. thrstr says: Jul 10, 2014 4:17 PM

    sports “journalists” and football “fans” that continue to pursue this type of nonsense will ultimately get what they deserve, a dead goose and no more golden eggs. I’m really getting tired of PC losers and their “issues”.

  26. ilovefoolsball says: Jul 10, 2014 4:17 PM

    Years from now we will look back at the bounty system as a black eye for the league, but not in the way you think.
    It was a black eye for the fact that one man took it upon himself as a personal mission to prove a point that he so desperately clawed and pushed flawed logic and fabricated evidence to back up his idea.

    Facts have a way of being inconvenient but it didn’t really matter. The media was willing to play along and be Godell’s lapdogs just like they are with the POTUS.

  27. cwwgk says: Jul 10, 2014 4:20 PM

    Wait, I thought there was no bounty program. I read a multitude of articles on this site explaining that whatever incentive based program there was did not reward injury. And everything else just got blown out of proportion by Goodell.

    How convenient.

  28. lightningbuggs says: Jul 10, 2014 10:18 PM

    Wait, is this about the Redskins?

    But, please, continue acting like a petulant little child because you’re not getting your way.

    That’s page 1 of the Daily Kos handbook, correct?

  29. kimbo71006 says: Jul 11, 2014 12:24 AM

    Can you spell “cash grab.”

  30. richc111 says: Jul 11, 2014 8:15 AM

    I doubt that football will exists in 20 year or at least in the shape it is now. Lawyers are going to tear this game to the ground. The problem is, some of this stuff it legit, but other things are not. Anywhere you find a multi billion dollar industry, you will find lawyers floating around. The problem is lawyers are like buzzards, the more there are just attacks more. Pretty soon you will be able to go a game (player or fan) and as part of the concession stand will be a law firm. Just in case this multi pillion dollar industry harmed you in any way

  31. bdiesel757 says: Jul 11, 2014 9:20 AM

    REDSKINS REDSKINS REDSKINS REDSKINS

  32. areyouseriousrofl says: Jul 11, 2014 11:08 AM

    I love how easy it is for everyone to dismiss any sort of “bounty activity” with the Redskins. When the Saints were wrongfully accused, suffered trial by dictator, and then tortured, EVERYONE else seemed to think they deserved it. If you ever once thought there was a “Bounty Program” in New Orleans, you would be a hypocrite to think otherwise of the timeframe in question for the Redskins.

  33. veetan says: Jul 11, 2014 1:28 PM

    Who never heard the term, “Kill the Quarterback!” growing up. C’mon, this is football.

  34. gridironmike says: Jul 11, 2014 8:42 PM

    First, an arbitrator must decide if Robert Royal was a tight end, or a member of the defense. If he was lined up on defense less than 50% of the time, or was standing more than four yards away from the defensive coordinator for a majority of defensive plays in said game, then he is a tight end. Verdict: well, there are two verdicts actually. One, he is a tight end. Two, this case is completely bogus.

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