Fan sues Browns, league over lockout


As the saying goes (sort of), live by the lawyer, die by the lawyer.

With the NFL and the NFLPA* knee deep in a pit of barristers, a PSL holder in Cleveland has opted to sue the Browns and the other 31 teams for threatening to renege on his right to watch pro football from his rented seat space.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ken Lanci has asked the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to prohibit the lockout that was launched nearly two weeks ago.

“What tipped the scale for me is the labor issue between millionaires and billionaires and the fact they can’t settle it when the country is in a recession,” Lanci said. “Worse yet, they have to rub this in our faces.”

Preach it, Ken.

“The owners and players can’t decide what to do with an extra billion dollars between them,” Lanci said. “I have the perfect solution.  That one billion should go to all cities that gave them money to build football stadiums they couldn’t afford to build.  This would give these cities badly needed tax relief.”

Now you’re talking, Ken.

And even though the players haven’t been sued, Lanci had some choice words for their position in this mess.

“The players union says NFL owners are offering what will be the worst deal ever,” Lanci said.  “Really? How about being unemployed?  Right now they get 59 percent of the take, and that’s beyond comprehension.”  (Actually, it’s only roughly 50 percent, but it still works out to a lot of money.)

So where is this heading?

“At the end of the day, [Cuyahoga County Common Pleas] Judge John P. O’Donnell has to judge if this suit has merit or not,” Lanci said, “but I’m sure the court of public opinion will certainly weigh in on this.”

Hopefully, it will.  Only external pressure will break this impasse.  Though most assume it eventually will come from Congress, a fan revolt could get it done, too.

And if this lawsuit sparks that movement, Ken Lanci should get a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

60 responses to “Fan sues Browns, league over lockout

  1. Who knows how much merit the suit may turn out to have, but it isn’t a bad idea for fans to weigh-in. After all, we are the ones paying the freight for the owners, the players AND their lawyers.

  2. It is actually genius and I might consider something similar for my season tickets. However my suit will accurately go after the players union and name De Smith in the case as well.

  3. If we can get one millionaire in each city to fund a class action lawsuit against the team in that town, I’m in! Our tax money has funded these stadiums, so we should have legal rights as well

  4. Finally, somebody has been listening to my post’s !!!!

    I only wish I were a lawyer….. Just for this one occasion !!

  5. It’s a great idea. Glad to see BOTH sides getting a smackdown from one of the fans.

    They richly deserve it.

  6. More proof that the players aren’t partners. The league and owners assume all of the business risks. The players nor the nflpa ever get sued. It’s always the league.

    I hope the owners crush the players.

  7. Ok way to go Ken. And i agree with everyone else on here who think the public should have a right to have something to say when it comes to tax dollars at work to build stadiums. Oh and henryjones20 give me break ok? This is not getting stupid when the american people are paying for seats in stadiums they paid for and now will now be able to use the stadiums since these morons want to fight like a couple of school girls.

  8. I think his idea of giving the difference back to NFL cities that funded stadiums a fabulous idea. Obviously neither side has proven that they need it in the first place….

  9. henryjones,

    It wasn’t before?

    Ken’s position (and litigation) is an expected result of poor decision making on the part of the owners and players.

    We can sit back and pick sides and root for Team Players or Team Owners but the truth is they are both wrong and Team Fan is getting the shaft!

    Go Team Fan! I stand behind our starting quarterback, Ken “He Hate Me” Lanci!

  10. i love it. if the owners and players can not split up 9 billion dollars they should feel the rath of the fans. ive already decided to not renew my season tickets and give up my psl. and i havnt watched the nfl channel in two weeks, if every fan out there would just turn off the nfl channel and not watch it for a month the owners and the players would get a very load message.

  11. This guys is my hero. I wrote a blog about a month ago how PSL holders across the nation should sue the league. If I could, I’d sue Tom Brady for his pathetic lawsuit and De Smith for being an absolute IDIOT!!! Ken for president!!

  12. As good as his argument is…it’s too good. Basically he’s sueing against GREED.

    I’m all for it – and may join the lawsuit

  13. It is roughly 50%….??? There you go again with a lack of clarity. Does anyone know what the EXACT percentage is that Owners and Players currently receive?

  14. may i sugest that during the strike,we all get diffrent hobbies like maybe jogging in the park or spending more time with r wives and children instead of stompin down 2 a courthouse and demanding r due respect? stupid is as stupid does. lets all get r lives in order

  15. fltharley says: Mar 25, 2011 7:51 AM

    i love it. if the owners and players can not split up 9 billion dollars they should feel the rath of the fans. ive already decided to not renew my season tickets and give up my psl. and i havnt watched the nfl channel in two weeks, if every fan out there would just turn off the nfl channel and not watch it for a month the owners and the players would get a very load message

    Now your talkin Brotha !!! The best place a fan can hit a player and an owner is in their pockets …….

  16. wow, best thing I’ve ever heard from a browns fan! I respect this guy for doing this. this whole labor disagreement disgusts me. greed is ugly.

  17. It’s really a shame that the cities won’t see a share of the billion dollars. It’s a tremendous idea, and the players and owners could really save face by following through on that.

    The players and owners should follow Smith and Goodell’s salary adjustment. For 2011, everyone gets a dollar. They can certainly all afford it, and the money could go to people that actually need it.

  18. The players and owners tend to forget that happiness isn’t a result of getting something they don’t have, but rather recognizing and appreciating what they do have.

  19. About time someone stood up. I totally agree with Ken, someone posted that it wouldn’t go very far in court, how does this person know unless it goes to court. It would gain alot of attention from alot of fans who are paying hard earned money for tickets. all a group needs is one aggressive lawyer/firm and I think it scare the living crap out of the league and players. Because they know if fans are pissed they’re not going to spend there cash. And one has already pointed out we are the paying the taxes for these stadiums, so I do believe the fans actually have the power to go after this. I just wish I knew someone up the foodchain abit more than I. will be on the bandwagon when it starts. go TEAM FAN

  20. I love the sentiment as much as everyone else. Hopefully, both sides will actually begin weighing what the fans think for once.

    But just to play Devil’s advocate, what exactly are his damages? How many games has he missed as a season ticket holder?

    Courts don’t make decisions based upon sentiment. If and when this ever gets in front of a judge, he will need to prove actual loss, not just hurt feelings.

  21. bearsblow – stuff it. Ken pays out his rear end just to have the RIGHT to buy his season tickets. Now, the league isn’t sure if they are even going to have a season, but they want their money up front for both the PSL’s and Season Tix. If his case is determined to have merit, than the owners could see some pressure, as they will have yet another income taken away from them. Not to mention, it is absurd that all PSL holders have to pay an obscene amount of money for something they don’t know will happen, and have no guarantee if they will get it back if the season is canceled anyway.

  22. jmac1013 says:
    Mar 25, 2011 7:34 AM
    More proof that the players aren’t partners. The league and owners assume all of the business risks. The players nor the nflpa ever get sued. It’s always the league.

    LOL- Yea, I’m sure the NFL is quaking in their boots over this lawsuit.

    BTW- It’s the owners who have time and time again (at least before the lockout) referred to the players as “partners”.

    Sure, the players assume no risk whatsoever. It’s not like they are running around out there risking their careers every Sunday on non-guaranteed contracts or anything.

    No NFL owner in history has ever lost money. Ever. Ever.

    Jeff Lurie bought the Eagles in 1994 for $195 million. The Eagles are now worth over a billion dollars.

    Where can I get a piece of that “risk”? LOL

    Listen, I am a businessman and no fan of unions. They have cost me more money than I care to count.

    But the owner worship, or more accurately player hatred, on this site is hilarious.

    The same owners who:

    – jack up ticket prices every year (and don’t tell me this is because of the greedy players- if you say that, you don’t understand how player compensation is determined or where the owners get their significant revenue)

    – charge you $200 for a jersey it cost them $5 to make

    -made this guy buy a PSL in the first place

    -black out games

    -put regular season games on a network they own that isn’t available in MILLIONS of American homes

    -cram more and more TV timeouts in telecasts every year

    -freeze out all but a few of the average fans from attending their championship in favor of saving seats for corporate big wigs

    These are the guys you support?!?

    NFL owners are the luckiest businessmen in the world. They have bought into the only business anywhere where you can constantly kick your customers in the teeth and they will always, always, come crawling back for more.

    Not only will the customers come crawling back, but will SUPPORT them when they get in a dispute with their work force.

    MAN- where can I get me some customers like THAT?

  23. pwrback2 says:
    Mar 25, 2011 8:51 AM
    About time someone stood up. I totally agree with Ken, someone posted that it wouldn’t go very far in court, how does this person know unless it goes to court.

    Anyone who knows anything about civil courts knows that in order to win damages, you have to show damages. In this case, there would have to be missed games.

    How many NFL games have been missed so far?

    Now, if this lawsuit drags out into the fall, and there are games missed, I like his chances alot more.

  24. That guy should be thankful that he doesn’t have to watch the Browns play football for a year.

  25. Nice work Ken!
    Best idea I’ve heard so far. Did you write the suit up on the back of your Browns season ticket renewal form??
    While you are getting the legal system involved, sue the Browns for impersonating a professional football team!

  26. What a loser. Just goes to show how badly the people of this country have lost the plot. The NFL is nothing more than an entertainment product. It doesn’t mean anything and it doesn’t stand for anything. Heaven forbid some of you people do without pro football (or the caricature standing in its place these days after the league has watered it down) for a while. Try getting out of the house. Try reading a book. Try spending time with your families. Try to dedicate your Sundays to maybe helping America NOT be the fattest nation on the planet by not spending them shoveling nachos and beer down your gullets.

  27. @ reality

    Maybe the prices are what they are due to high player salaries? I don’t know that to be a fact obviously but since we don’t have 5 years of financial information it would be impossible to rule it out.

    I don’t think it is a hatred for the players as a whole. I think it is hatred of those who are talking and sounding ignorant, spoiled and greedy. It is a hatred for the NFLPA and De Smith in particular. It is a hatred over that propaganda site they are running with outrageous claims. It is a hatred of the union walking away from the negotiation table.

    It isn’t a support per se of the owners either. We understand their greed as well. But they were at least willing to submit an offer that was to be negotiated on. They are also running a picture perfect PR campaign. They also aren’t running to the courts to solve the problem. I think for most fans, myself included, it is supporting the lesser of the two evils. However as has been said before, the lesser of two evils is still evil.

  28. Well Realitypolice, he can’t sue for anticipatory breach but he won’t have to wait until September. His suite will be valid the first pre-season game in Cleveland that is missed, sometime in August.

    This suite could be dismissed, but as we get into Training Camp his publicity can bring a much more effective suite if they miss a pre-season game.

  29. excellent post reality police, thank you for the dose of reality. the average fan doesn’t have the vision to realize these things. rest assured whenever football resumes they will be cheering that it is back, and not irritated why it was gone in the first place. and that is why we will all continue to suffer from all the things that you mentioned.

  30. chapnastier says:
    Mar 25, 2011 10:15 AM
    @ reality

    Maybe the prices are what they are due to high player salaries? I don’t know that to be a fact obviously but since we don’t have 5 years of financial information it would be impossible to rule it out.

    Player salaries are tied to revenue.

    It isn’t like owners say- “I have to meet this payroll, so I have to charge X amount more for tickets”.

    Payroll is determined by how much the owner charges for tickets, not the other way around.

    If owners cut ticket prices, overall revenues would go down, the salary cap would come down, and player salaries would come down.

    The reason, and the ONLY reason, owners raise ticket prices are the same reasons the purveyors of any product raise prices for said product:

    Because you keep paying it.

    No owner would ever, nor should they ever, charge a penny less for a ticket than you are willing to pay. That’s supply and demand. That’s business.

    And it has nothing to do with player (or owner) greed.

    Fans have the ability to control what players make. Fans have the ability to control owner’s profits. Fans control the size of the pie.

    And when the players run out on the field this season to the roar of sold out crowds, the players and owners will realize, once again, that they never, ever, have to worry about the fans making that pie smaller.

  31. @chapnastier:

    I wanted to mention that the rest of your post that I didn’t quote above was great. Very well put and I really can’t disagree with much of it.

  32. Fans are the ones in charge. We pay everyone’s salaries. Imagine if fans organized a blackout of a local game on opening day. That would scare the crap out of the NFL brass by essentially saying the fans will not pay them anymore unless they get this worked out.

    Anyone want to start a fake blackoutthenfl web site?

  33. What are you guys talking about? According to the financial geniuses here, it’s the owners who have taken all the risk and paid every penny for the stadiums that were built so why should the cities get any tax money from them? What’s that you say — 90% of the money used for the construction or renovation of stadiums came from tax payers or PSL purchasers and NOT the owners — never mind. 🙂

  34. A blackout might work in a place like Jacksonville but if you think that you’re going to get a Packer fan to not renew his season ticket, you’re just plain stupid. There are going to be several places where it’s not going to happen and where it will work are places that already experience blackouts and if push comes to shove, the owners will purchase the tickets and eat the money because TV revenue will more than make up for that.

  35. Yeah, a rich fan with PSL suing. What about the poor fans in the dog pound. What are they going to get out of this jerk.

    He probably his own lawyer too. Doesn’t he have something better to do?

  36. Fans have the ultimate power. We are the ones who could/should be boycotting every game in protest of new rules that ruin the integrity of the sport, and for the greedy labor dispute. When the owners see the hit to their pockets, they would all revert their rule decisions (for instance) because the fans have ‘voted’ by their absence from games that they do not approve of the said product. Americans, we are a revolutionary people. We act and don’t merely talk. Hopefully, the fans will realize their ultimate power and cause change by the force of absent numbers.

    What Ken Lanci is doing is a great act. Still, even if his suit forced the season ahead, we’d still have a ruined sport due to the new rules brought in during Goodell’s tenure. There are people like Ken who will demand the season to start so they can go attend it, buy merchandise, and gamepass, etc. But the product is still ruined, and the fans still need to display their ultimate power.

    It’s a double-edged sword here. Ken Lanci’s suit is right and good. But at the same time, fans need to boycott to force the NFL to maintain the integrity of the game, not ruin it.

  37. what the story neglects to mention is that ken lanci is no ordinary browns fan. he’s a self-made millionaire business man who recently ran (unsuccessfully) for a position in county government here in cleveland — funding his campaign completely on his own dime. i think that adds something to his perspective. he’s a no-nonsense kind of guy, and i honestly believe he’s behind this cause for the right reasons (it’s not ONLY about political exposure, though i’m sure that plays a part, too). i agree with the other commenters who have suggested that others in unique positions (such as mr. lanci’s) from the nfl cities around the country ought to think, too, about how they might use their prominent positions to advocate for their fellow fans…god knows we need someone to speak up for us since the owners and players only TALK about caring. whether the suit gets kicked or not, i for one appreciate what mr. lanci is doing here.

  38. As for any potential merit of the case, I don’t see how the court could force an end to a lockout because of PSLs. What the court could do, however, is rule that any missed games do to an avoidable lockout constitutes a breach of contract with PSL holders. Such a finding would allow a fan to recoup the entire amount that the team charged them for the PSL, as well as whatever punitive damages a judge decided to award. Now that would set some case law that would put the fear of God into the owners.

  39. He might be better off suing the Browns for fraud in impersonating a “professional” football team.

  40. With all due respect to Paul Brown (let’s be serious any Bengals fan worth his salt will tell you Mike Brown has irrevocably damaged the family name in professional football circles), if this suit proves successful, the team HAS to be named the Cleveland Lancies and play at Cleveland LANCI Stadium. God bless this guy!

  41. @realitypolice, your last comment was basically what I was intending to get across, if you are the businessman you say you are you should have been able to read between the lines and figured that out. I know there are no damages yet… that is what I meant when I said _if it goes to court. no harm intended, we are all fans and maybe someone in the NFL will get wind of these posts and take it to heart to get a deal done

  42. I hope Lanci wins!!! It’s time the fans stand up to the NFL and the players!! And really believe if the fans turn off the TV sets, going to games, stop buying million $ hotdogs etc. Maybe both greedy sides will “REALLY” think about the ones who line their pockets!!!! THE FANS!!!!!!

  43. Ken – I have the up most respect for you sir, thank you for doing this!

    Ultimately it is the “fans” in this country whom should have the biggest say in negotiations. If it were not for the fans, there would be no NFL players or no NFL owners. A fan revolt is exactly what we need to wake up these greedy millionaires and billionaires.

    It is the fans of the NFL that should be uniting and having THEIR say in matters in terms of “fan rights”.

    – Fans should demand to have the option of being allowed to become partial shareholders in their teams, such as the Green Bay Packers whom are owned by their own fans!

    – Fans should demand that all team nicknames and history should always remain with the city or state in which they play for!

    – Fans who have a long history of supporting their teams and whom have helped made the NFL the success that it is today should be protected more from losing their teams.

    – Fans should demand fewer threats of losing their teams when it comes to stadium demands.

  44. While we’re in litigation mode, could Browns’ fans please sue Eric Mangini for trading away Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards and for that horrible 2009 draft.

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