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NFL downplays arbitration ruling

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One of the topics about which the folks covering the Scouting Combine are buzzing comes from the recent arbitration that resulted in a finding that the league improperly diverted money from the pot that funds the salary cap into a stadium-renovation exception that simply doesn’t exist under the CBA. We’ll have plenty more to say about the situation; for now, here’s the league’s statement, originally issued to SportsBusiness Daily on Tuesday and provided to PFT on Wednesday.

“The CBA is a lengthy, complicated document and there are differences of interpretation from time to time,” the statement reads. “Those differences get resolved in our favor at least as often as they get resolved against us. In this case, the System Arbitrator recently resolved a technical accounting issue under the CBA involving the funding of stadium construction and renovation projects.”

The only problem is that this specific interpretation was made quickly and decisively, by the Arbitrator at the hearing during which the two sides presented their cases. It’s incredibly rare for any arbitrator or judge to issue a substantive ruling in a contested case at the hearing itself. Here, it shows that the NFL’s interpretation wasn’t just off the mark, but that it was so far off the mark that there was no reason for the arbitrator to even think it over.

“The effect of the decision is principally one of timing; it will increase the number of seasons over which the League’s investments in stadium projects will be recouped from local stadium revenues,” the league also said in its statement. “The decision should have no effect on the League’s long-standing commitment to stadium improvements; that commitment was most recently reflected in the League’s decision to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in financial support for the Rams’ new stadium in Los Angeles as well as financial support for new stadiums in Oakland and San Diego.”

It may have no impact on the league’s commitment to stadium renovation or construction, but as will be demonstrated in the contents of NFLPA president Eric Winston’s interview from Wednesday’s PFT Live (to be posted soon), it has had a major impact on the trust, or lack thereof, between the league and the union.

It also has impacted, as will be demonstrated in a later post tonight, the level of faith that multiple owners currently have in the league office.

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37 Responses to “NFL downplays arbitration ruling”
  1. patsbrat says: Feb 24, 2016 7:24 PM

    “Here, it shows that the NFL’s interpretation wasn’t just off the mark, but that it was so far off the mark that there was no reason for the arbitrator to even think it over.”

    Sounds just like the league’s take on deflategate. Arbitors are supposed to have lots of leeway, but the NFL was so far off the mark with Brady that the court overruled them even though the league ran to their court of choice after Rog’s appeal hearing.

  2. vikingforlife says: Feb 24, 2016 7:26 PM

    What did everyone expect them to do?? “oh, yes, we did it and by the way, we accept FULL responsibility for all the other lies, under the table dealings and mishandling of issues over these countless years….”???? Come on, man!!

  3. patsbrat says: Feb 24, 2016 7:26 PM

    “The CBA is a lengthy, complicated document, and we in the league office just don’t really understand it.”

    There you go Rog, fixed it for you.

  4. oiler1980 says: Feb 24, 2016 7:31 PM

    I hope the players hold out next time.

    I hope that the owners hold firm and it ends up costing them billions of dollars.

    I hope that all the fans turn on the owners and Goodell.

    I hope everyone blames Goodell and he gets fired.

    It’s America. Without hope what do we have…

    Go Pats!!

  5. arktikman says: Feb 24, 2016 7:32 PM

    Sounds to me like the League tried to defer the inclusion over the life of stadiums, rather than immediately include it. If that’s the case then it is a timing issue rather than outright avoidance. However, with all the posturing it is hard to tell what the case actually revolved around.

  6. patsfan says: Feb 24, 2016 7:38 PM

    What’s a $100,000,000 among friends?

  7. TheBrownsareClowns says: Feb 24, 2016 7:48 PM

    The NFL’s stance:

    The CBA only applies to the Players and never to us, and we only think its important when we are in the right.

  8. rolf1015 says: Feb 24, 2016 8:02 PM

    The best part is the end, hopefully the owners are finally growing tired of Goodell and his minions. What has the NFL office done well over past 5 years? The league, interest, and revenue continue to grow IN SPITE of the league office, not because of them.

  9. tmcb7 says: Feb 24, 2016 8:11 PM

    Let’s see, the league down plays the ruling… how bout we ask any one of the players in the league for their candid opinion?
    This just shows, once again for like the 1000th time in the last few years, the level of incompetence or deceit by Rog and the league. I’m past Fed Up!

  10. Cunning Linguist says: Feb 24, 2016 8:34 PM

    The leagues owners, all thirty-two of them, need to stand up, once and for all, for the Integrity of the Shield, and sack Roger Goodell (who has admittedly been merely doing the bidding of the aforementioned thirty-two owners). And then hire a Commisioner of “unquestioned integrity” to replace him, a Commisioner who will bravely stand AGAINST the bidding of the thirty-two owners in instances that require it, in the interest of “the Integrity of the Shield.”

  11. sclairebear says: Feb 24, 2016 8:36 PM

    If you recall, the NFL fined the Cowboys and Washington team for spending too much in 2010, the supposed “uncapped” last year of the previous CBA. It appears then, that the owners indeed had a salary cap, but only 2 owners spent over it as was called for in the CBA. I guess this means that Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder are the 2 most “honest” owners in the NFL, so why should the players trust them?

  12. tylawspick6 says: Feb 24, 2016 8:39 PM

    Arrest, try and convict Roger Goodell (and whichever owners are involved with this corruption).

    Brady must sue to get Goodell, Woody Johnson, Bisciotti and Irsay all on the stand with the other PArk Ave cronies.

    Something smells badly and it all goes back to the lie known as Spygate.

    Now, we have Deflategate, which is also a clear lie.

    Brady needs to sue sometime after march 3rd when Goodell is called a liar by yet again another federal judge.

  13. ravensrooster94 says: Feb 24, 2016 8:40 PM

    Another sign that a player’s strike is on the CBA horizon. Wait for it….wait for it…’s coming to a NFL Stadium near you.

  14. jag1959 says: Feb 24, 2016 9:01 PM

    “It also has impacted, as will be demonstrated in a later post tonight, the level of faith that multiple owners currently have in the league office.”

    Can’t help but wonder if any of those ‘multiple owners’ are among the normally silent majority. Perhaps 345 Park Ave has finally soiled their nest one time too many for some of the Allen/Bidwill/McCaskey/Ford/Adams types?

  15. paulrevereshorse1775 says: Feb 24, 2016 9:13 PM

    Goodell and Pash forgot that the “we can do whatever we want” clause never made it into the final CBA language.

  16. tomtravis76 says: Feb 24, 2016 9:27 PM

    If the league admitted the mistake, and the NFLPA takes them on their word for it,because mistakes can happen, why would the League make the NFLPA take them to court over it?

  17. goodellisaclown says: Feb 24, 2016 9:32 PM

    “The CBA is a lengthy, complicated document and there are differences of interpretation from time to time,”


    Pretty sure the guys int he NFL front office say the same thing about the menu board at Wendy’s.

  18. Surf Bandits says: Feb 24, 2016 9:52 PM

    And tomorrow the three judge panel will be announced for the NFLPA, Brady vs NFL.

    It’s only going to get more interesting folks!

  19. massappeal12345 says: Feb 24, 2016 9:54 PM

    Is the IRS involved in this investigation?

  20. cross300 says: Feb 24, 2016 10:00 PM

    The NFL has done so many things wrong in recent years it’s lucky for them the sport is so popular.

  21. rcali says: Feb 24, 2016 10:40 PM

    “Ignorance is not a suitable defense” – Roger Goodell

  22. Surf Bandits says: Feb 24, 2016 10:41 PM

    “The CBA is a lengthy, complicated document and there are differences of interpretation from time to time,” the statement reads.

    I wonder if this would work with the I.R. S.?

  23. j0esixpack says: Feb 24, 2016 11:05 PM

    FameGate was clearly a rope a dope to distract the attention of the NFLPA from what was really going on

    The owners pulling Goodell’s strings collectively embezzled $120 million from the players – it’s just that simple.

    How much more evidence is needed that Goodell fails to meet the owners own stated rule that the Commissioner “shall be a person of unquestioned integrity?”

    There’s no wiggle room there Owners. They’ll likely have no choice to make Goodell the fall guy because he was caught simply HIDING $120 million for the owners to take a share of (is there now any question where Goodell earns his $40 million a year?)

    I love football but the NFL couldn’t be more corrupt – and now of course they want taxpayer subsidized stadiums.

    You gotta seriously wonder what the over/under is on days before Goodell is seen leaving 345 Park Avenue in handcuffs

    Ironic who truly “tarnished the shield” in the end, eh Roger?

  24. 6thsense10 says: Feb 25, 2016 5:21 AM

    Here’s the crazy thing. The owners locked out the players last CBA and forced the transfer of 100s of millions of dollars each year from the players to the owners. Revenue is at an all time high. And yet the owners still attempted to cheat the players out of money.

    During the lock out I was highly pro players. But there were a lot on here that were not. By my estimate over 60% of posters were pro owners and that just boggled my mind.

    Thsee posters called players greedy not for asking for more money but just wanting to keep the CBA the same and not lose money.

    Well since the CBA we’ve seen exactly who the greedy ones are. The NFL has the worse CBA of any proffessional league and the players are treated like disposable objects because of it.

  25. ravenswinsuperbowl47 says: Feb 25, 2016 5:44 AM

    This is obviously a simple matter of amortization of the NFL’s investment into stadium funding. The NFL appears to have been completely open about what is was doing. The players are going to get their money; the question being settled by the arbiter appears to have been simple: over what time period and what amortization schedule.

    Many who deal with amortization or depreciation of assets in their tax returns have had to deal with similar issues with the IRS. It’s not unusual, and shouldn’t be a big deal.

  26. whatjusthapped says: Feb 25, 2016 7:13 AM

    As long as Goodell holds to his guns and denies the Pats the draft picks, I’m good with it.

  27. rootpain says: Feb 25, 2016 7:59 AM

    Time for a federal government audit. The NFL enjoys significant antitrust protections violating the associated laws and regulations repeatedly. These protections provide many of the billions of dollars in revenue every year. It’s well past time to enforce the underlying regulations and reign the owners back in. And fire Goodell as well because there is no doubt that he is behind this.

  28. rootpain says: Feb 25, 2016 8:01 AM

    Sorry should read, “while violating”

  29. cinzano08 says: Feb 25, 2016 8:03 AM

    Rooney, jones, biscotti, Mara have been running the league for years. It’s not goodell, he’s a puppet, its the owners who are a bunch of lying, conniving, jealous, greedy low life’s that’s going to bring the league down.

  30. It Takes 3 Mannings To Equal One Brady says: Feb 25, 2016 8:48 AM

    patsbrat says:
    Feb 24, 2016 7:24 PM

    “Here, it shows that the NFL’s interpretation wasn’t just off the mark, but that it was so far off the mark that there was no reason for the arbitrator to even think it over.”

    So if “misinterpreting a memo” is worth a 1st round pick, and $750k in total fines, how much will the penalty be for this??? This is far more egregious than Belichick trying to get too cute with loop holes. Obviously the anti Patriots crowd will just sweep this under the rug, like they do with PED violations and sexual assault allegations, etc. But in all seriousness, this to me is a huge violation of the public’s trust in the integrity of the NFL. Sure that is a funny way to use the Commish’s words against him, but its also completely legitimate. I find it more probable than not that the Commish was generally aware of a scheme to defraud 100’s of millions of dollars from the players

  31. Iron Mike says: Feb 25, 2016 9:19 AM

    So Goodell is now 0-7 in court, but who’s counting… Even Peter King is questioning him now, so it must be the beginning of the end for RG.

  32. Surf Bandits says: Feb 25, 2016 9:28 AM

    Still waiting on those follow up posts Mr. Florio.

  33. tylawspick6 says: Feb 25, 2016 9:40 AM

    Censoring keeps going on here when it appears I’ve laid out a case to show Goodell’s rampant cheating against the Pats with collusion from some AFC Owners (amongst others cheating owners like Jerry Jones).

  34. 8oneanddones says: Feb 25, 2016 10:44 AM

    This is not a “technical accounting issue”. It’s blatant wage theft of $100 million. Somebody should go to prison for this.

  35. bstngrdn says: Feb 25, 2016 11:04 AM

    Before retirement, I was involved in hundreds of cases of differences between management and bargaining un its over interpretations of CBA s. When these differences cannot be resolved at a lower level they are brought before an arbitrator who listens to both sides and in due course the arbitrator issues a decision. In all that time, I NEVER saw an arbitrator issue a decision on the day of the hearing. What this means is that the difference in view was so obviously one sided that it should never have had to come before the arbitrator in the first place. What it also indicates is that either the NFL doesn’t know how to interpret the CBA or they deliberately tried to pull fast one on the player’s union.
    I think they have shown they are dumb enough to support an argument for the former premise, but more often have demonstrated the greed and deviousness to conclude the latter.
    Either way, it is further evidence of the need to rid the front office of Goodell and his cronies.

  36. granadafan says: Feb 25, 2016 11:39 AM

    I wonder what these threads would look like without biased and delusional Patriots fans?

    The owners will use this ruling as an excuse to throw up their hands, cry poor, and demand even MORE money from the taxpayers.

  37. RegisHawk says: Feb 25, 2016 12:03 PM

    I see they’re filtering the responses to make it look a certain way again…

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