Players to ask for “substantial” damages award in “lockout insurance” case

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Though it widely was believed that the NFLPA (pre-asterisk) challenged the network contracts that were extended in 2009 to provide ongoing payments to the NFL in 2011 even if no games are played (i.e., “lockout insurance”) in order to block the payments, the players’ strategy has apparently shifted to the generation of cash.

On March 1, Judge David Doty ruled that the NFL violated the labor deal by failing to maximize the revenue that would be shared with players via the lucrative network contracts.  Instead of getting the most money for the owners and the players, the owners lined up payments that would be made only to the teams during a lockout, to the tune of $4.3 billion.  (Though much of the money would have to be paid back, $420 million from DirecTV contained no repayment obligation.)  Judge Doty did not apply a remedy to the ruling, opting instead for further proceedings to determine whether the payments should be blocked or damages should be paid.

Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that the players will be asking Judge Doty for a “substantial” award of damages.  The specific formula that the players will use remains to be seen.  Under the prior labor deal, the players received 59.6 cents of every dollar, after the owners take $1 billion off the top for certain types of expenses.  At a minimum, then, the players seem to be entitled to 59.6 cents of every dollar that the NFL left on the table for 2009 and 2010 in order to finagle money for nothing in 2011.

If the lockout goes forward and wipes out the entire season, the players should receive 59.6 cents of the $420 million that DirecTV would pay during a lockout that wipes out the 2011 season, along with 59.6 percent of the cash value of nearly $4 billion in other loans the NFL will receive.

The players also could try to secure an award of damages for failing to maximize the rights fees in 2009 and 2010 and block the payments to be made in 2011.  Given that the NFL, per Judge Doty, deliberately violated their duty to maximize the revenues in order to cut their own deal for lockout leverage, Judge Doty could decide that there were two violations — failing to max out the money and self-dealing.  Thus, Judge Doty could order the NFL to pay to the players 59.6 percent of the money left on the table in order to secure lockout insurance and Judge Doty could block the NFL from enjoying the fruits of a scheme aimed at helping the teams and hurting the players during a lockout.

Either way, it’s yet another front in a labor battle that seems to be getting more hostile and entrenched by the day.  Unfortunately.

54 responses to “Players to ask for “substantial” damages award in “lockout insurance” case

  1. Has their ever really, truly, been any doubt or question the owners position is, and always has been, about the 32 of them ‘self-dealing’ – at the expense of the millions of fans and the few thousand people talented and capable of playing the game – and risking permanent injury doing so, while entertaining us for a few years?

  2. Would the players then be responsible for paying back 59.6 percent of these loans? After all, the deal calls for this money to be payed back, except the DirectTV money apparently.

  3. The NFLPA hopes maybe they can get the owners to just pay them without playing football. You know, crafty players like Talib have already figured out how to get their meals for free. I think he may get cable and a library pass for free in jail too.

  4. IF the labor wins this battle, their will be no football….and the union will fail to exsist, when their is….in 2 or 3 years.

  5. If the lockout goes forward and wipes out the entire season, the players should receive 59.6 cents of the $420 million that DirecTV would pay during a lockout that wipes out the 2011 season, along with 59.6 percent of the cash value of nearly $4 billion in other loans the NFL will receive.
    The point I would make (if i were the owners) is that it’s 60%, after the $1 billion in expenses. The players would have to prove the league had revenue over $1 billion with no games being played to have a claim on any money.

    Also, the players have no standing in regards to loans the league/teams take out. It’s only revenue where they have a claim. That statement makes no sense. If i take out a loan to cover stadium costs, I have to give up 60 percent to the players, I don’t think so.

  6. Of course they are going to ask for “substantial” damages and i will give you a few reasons why….
    1. Dez Bryant needs more bling
    2. Aqib Talib needs more ammo
    3. King Dunlop needs a chauffeur
    4. Jason Peters needs an Ipod
    5.Johnny Jolly might catch a cold in prison
    6.Adrian peterson needs a key to release him from the schackles
    7. Chester Pitts needs a “clue” as to when he speaks, he’s usually wrong….
    So Yes, these downtrodden employees are apt to seek substantial damages, afterall they have been so wronged….

  7. Players to ask for “substantial” damages award in “lockout insurance” ?

    If there is no union How can they ask for any damages back ? At that time it was a action done by the union. I cannot see how the judge can give a money to a union that does not exist .

  8. @ wryry1

    I guess if you keep blaming the owners then sooner or later it will be true right?

    Oh I thought the union was gone? Its a sham, the players are a sham and those who support them are sham.

  9. Here’s a question for the players:
    If the owners have to pay back that money, would the players be willing to pay back their share as well?

    I would wager not. Therefore they should not get any of it.

  10. If the players do win “Brady et al”, and I don’t think they will, I would think that a victory like that would seep over to the NBA and MLB. This would probably signal the end of all small market teams ( Steelers, Bills ) with each league contracting by at least half. Not a pretty thought.

    Of course, the players don’t seem to understand this because they’re to preoccupied with “just wanting to play” instead of trying to grab every dollar available regardless of the end results. Hypocrites being led by parasites. Come on players – wake-up before your short-sighted greed leads to an irreparable catastrophe for all.

  11. duster1982 says: Mar 31, 2011 9:49 AM

    but….but….I thought the players just want to play football. They keep saying they never wanted more money. ??


    Anyone who follows the labor situation (which obviously does NOT include you) knows that they players have never asked for “more”. They are/were willing to accept a continuation of the same deal.

    Its the OWNERS that scuttled the CBA. Its the OWNERS who locked the players out. Its the OWNERS who want “more”.

    Do your homework next time before you post.

  12. Brady, Manning, and Brees should pool their hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to help out their teamates and future players who they are hurting by suing the NFL.

  13. . . . . . oh, and I forgot, Carson Palmer has a measly 80 million in the BANK….. share the wealth players….. open your books to your fellow players… and share the wealth. For it is your teamates that help make you the supa-star that you are.

  14. I’m not real good with all this legal stuff but if there no longer is an agreement between the two, why would the owners have to pay them anything? Wouldn’t all money since the decertification/lockout be none of the players business?

  15. Let’s hope the Judge in this case teaches the NFL (and every other business) a lesson in ethics.

    There is no question that the league violated it’s contractual duty to it’s partners (yes folks-the players ARE partners in the league and not indentured servants as so many ill informed folks who post here presume) by double dealing with the networks. The testimony in the case was very enlightening. I suggest all the 9-5 lifers and cubicle dwellers that support those poor abused billionaire owners read it. It’s no surprise the Judge ruled the way he did in that the evidence was so overwhelming against the league.

    Its a general rule of law that those with “dirty hands” may not benefit from their actions. As such, the Judge ought to have all the TV money from these contracts put in an escrow account until the labor issue is settled. The owners may not use it until then. The Judge also needs to slap punitive damages on them for even attempting to shaft their partners. Something like $32 million dollars-$1 million from each team. Thats just enough of a rap on the knuckles to teach them not to try it ever again. Hopefully.

  16. @

    Anyone who follows the labor situation (which obviously does NOT include you) knows that they players have never asked for “more”. They are/were willing to accept a continuation of the same deal.

    Its the OWNERS that scuttled the CBA. Its the OWNERS who locked the players out. Its the OWNERS who want “more”.

    Do your homework next time before you post.


    Im very aware the players never did ask for more money….


    So thanks for that.

    Also, the owners exercised a right agreed upon by both sides. So please stop using that argument.

  17. the Players wouldn’t be damaged at all if they hadn’t walked out of negotiations, dissolved their union to circumvent labor law, then filed I don’t know how many lawsuits so far….

    the Players initiated the stoppage of work… end of story

  18. I wish someone would give me substantial damages for the impact the recession has had on my business. I really feel sorry for these poor players and owners.

  19. @ smarter

    If they are indeed partners as you seem to think, then why don’t they give 56% of every dollar earned on endorsement deals back to the league?

  20. First of all, “smarterthantheaveragebearfan”, would you be on the players side if they exercised their right–as they could have done–to scuttle the agreement early? Each side had an out. The players have been crowing ever sonce how much of a “good deal” they got. The owners, by the labor law, then exercised their right to lock out non-union players–remember, the owners offered them 20B more over the next 4 years, PLUS medical coverage FOR LIFE, PLUS guarnateeing their salary by up to 1M the year after they suffer injury. It was the PLAYERS WHO WALKED OUT of negotiations and decided, as another fan posted, to circukmvent labor law. I think you need to learn the facts before YOU post!!!

  21. @ smarterthantheaveragebearfan,

    Actually that line about the players not asking for money is completely false! The owners are on record offering to increase the cap next season to $141(the deal the players walked away from which was actually an increase from their previous offer of $131 which was still an increase in the cap), the players are on record as wanting it increased to $151. All sizable increases over the last capped season and significantly more than what the players received last season. The issue in this dispute is that the players have been receiving in the neighborhood of 10% more money every season, which is why they were continent with the old CBA – it was giving them, wait for it….. more money (make that a lot more money). The owners never actually proposed to rollback player salaries as the union/players contented, but rather to limit how fast the player salaries would continue to grow. For someone who claims to be so enlightening to the facts of this dispute that major fact sure escaped you. This fight is absolutely about money, it is about money on both sides (and at least one side openly admitted it). Don’t think its about money? The league basically met all the union’s non-economic demands but the union still turned them down because they said the money part wasn’t good enough, the union has repeatedly been asking for 10 years of audited financial statements, how can they or you say with a straight face this isn’t about money???

  22. chapnastier …”If they are indeed partners as you seem to think, then why don’t they give 56% of every dollar earned on endorsement deals back to the league?”

    Excellent point my friend! Please someone ask that to Brees face.

  23. Does anyone else find it ironic that a couple of the named players in the antitrust suit happen to be the highest paid players in NFL history?

  24. Wow… I’m so sick of the players and these stupid lawsuits! If the NFL is so bad and takes such advantage of the players, why do ALL of them continue to play until no team wants them anymore? If my company takes advantage of me, I’d be looking for new employment… these guys all want to extend their careers and play in the NFL as long as possible. They have choices to do whatever they want in life, and they choose to play football because you can make an insane amount of money in just a few years.

    The problem is these players have such a sense of entitlement that has brought on by a sue-happy attorney in De-Smith. He has them all believing that they have been “slaves” of the NFL and the only way to remedy the situation is to sue the NFL in every conceivable way. They are all drinking this cool-aide and now and I can no longer root for these players because of it…

  25. The last word was “unfortunately”. Yeah , unfortunately for us fans but more unfortunate for the little people and their families whose living is dependent on what these fortunate millionaires/billionaires /whatevever do in their petty squabbling and back biting stuff. Unfortunate ain’t the word for it.

  26. duster1982 says: Mar 31, 2011 10:45 AM

    Also, the owners exercised a right agreed upon by both sides. So please stop using that argument.


    Sorry. Can’t do that. While both sides had the option to scuttle the CBA (as you rightfully point out) it was the OWNERS that did the deed.

    Its like a marriage. Both spouses can file for divorce but the one that chooses to do so is going to get the blame for breaking up the family. Daddy telling the kids that “Hey, Mommy had the same option. Don’t make me the bad guy” wouldn’t fly either.

  27. Here’s my solution to the cba- 40% to the owners 40% to the players 15% goes the fans in the form of cheaper tickets,5% to insurance benefits for explayers. win/win/win/win, let’s get it done!

  28. chapnastier says: Mar 31, 2011 11:06 AM

    @ smarter

    If they are indeed partners as you seem to think, then why don’t they give 56% of every dollar earned on endorsement deals back to the league?


    The same reason Jerry Jones gets to keep his stadium naming rights. Its was what everyone agreed on thru negotiation.

    Keep your eye on the ball son. The focus of this story is the league ripping off it’s player partners and being busted doing so.

  29. AHHHH the love of the game, I want to play because I love the game, money who cares…RIGHT!!!!!

  30. FinFan68 says: Mar 31, 2011 11:56 AM

    Does anyone else find it ironic that a couple of the named players in the antitrust suit happen to be the highest paid players in NFL history?


    No. What would they be worth if there was another viable league out there (as in the AFL-NFL days of yore) they could shop their services to?

  31. This is yet another attempt for these players, with a sense of entitlement, to get something for nothing.

  32. if im not wrong the union put away money to pay the players for a strike. shouldt the owners get their share of that money. wait i tjought the union was disolved. how can you use uniuon dues to pay non unuion employees? what a sham

  33. What union? I don’t see a union. Is each current NFL player going to file a claim for damages? That is the only way they have standing to file because there is NO union.

  34. “If the lockout goes forward and wipes out the entire season, the players should receive 59.6 cents of the $420 million that DirecTV would pay during a lockout that wipes out the 2011 season, along with 59.6 percent of the cash value of nearly $4 billion in other loans the NFL will receive.”

    Let me guess also thinks that they shouldn’t have to pay the loans back and that the owners should pay back the loans. Its not free money, its a loan.

  35. The players are only trying to get back what the NFL should have gotten when they originally negotiated the TV deals. The networks essentially agreed to give the owners a $3.9 billion dollar loan (Less the $420 million DirectTV paid regardless) for a year in the event of a lockout.

    The players are saying that without that provision the networks would have paid more money for the TV rights. How much? At a measly 4% interest that one year loan costs $156,000,000. That is a substantial amount of money, something I’d certainly want a part of.

  36. @ smarter

    That makes no sense at all. Jerry “owns” the stadium and the team and is the employer of his employee players. Simple facts sir.

  37. Biggerballz, great point. I have no problem with them giving the players their share of the tv deals (although with no CBA, are they actually entitled to?), but when the times comes for repayment of that loan, every player is responsible for whatever they ended up with. If not, no playing until they’re paid up so that the owners don’t have to eat that-though I know they probably can.

  38. What makes me sick, being a former high and college walk on, is that everyone that has strapped those pads on for the very first time know that very second by the time they walk away from the game they will have suffered a major injury that will alter their life.

    There are thousands of Americans nation wide that have played high school and college football who are now disabled,which includes myself. I have to take Naproxen and Tramadol every day just to be able to walk a mile and I am only 31 years old.

    Myself and all these other people don’t get a single dime of help from the NFL or any other organization.

    Let’s face it, this isn’t about them and their injuries, because if it was they would have secured insurance for everyone current and former players, but it is not it is only for player from 2003 and on. (According to NFL Alumni exe dir of com Jim Morris) The fact of the matter is for players it is about maintaining their life style nothing more and nothing less.

    I can understand the owners position, because if they don’t keep their expenses in check they will go out of business no matter if they are the most popular sport in America. Also, that would lead to higher ticket prices and as the PSL’s shown fans are maxed out.

    In the end, if the players really cared about the fans they would be at the table negotiating and not in court.

  39. There are a lot of uninformed people on the owners side of this argument. The players would receive money withheld because the crime took place while they were still a union. It’s also monet that they would have received if the owners and networks hadn’t made a side deal to withhold that cash. Also, many agreed with Moth25. The reality is that the money would be paid back by networks paying less than they would have in future years of the TV deal. Which again shrinks the pot that the players get their percentage from and again increases the percentage of the owners share. So the players lose income on two occasions while the owners would get extra on two occasions. And you can add the interest saved by the owners because they would have the largest share of their income during the lockout, while not having to pay their largest expense. All of the teams have a ton of debt. That money would allow them to pay off all or most of it and save millions in interest.

  40. I don’t understand how anyone can be on either party’s “side” at this point.

    Regarding the lockout deal – the players should be entitled to compensation because the NFL violated their contractual agreement to maximize the revenue to be shared with the players, plain and simple.

    However, when taken into the larger context of this whole labor agreement, the players and the owners both come off as greedy jerko**s. The real issue from the owners’ side isn’t that the players are getting too much money, it’s that they can’t agree on how to split it up amongst themselves, so they want to take it from the players. See some of Jerry Jones’s comments about Minneapolis and Cincinnati if you don’t believe this. Under the revenue structure with the players, the small market teams are getting squeezed and the big market teams feel like they’re paying too much to subsidize them, so instead of working something out between themselves, they just decided to take it from the players.

    For the players, I think everyone here would love to have an offer like “the worst deal in the history of sports” presented to them by their boss. I started out firmly on their side, but by refusing to even counter the owners’ final offer, they have shown that they want nothing more than to try to force their way into a similar type agreement to the one that they already have by using the courts. Nevermind that states/cities have stopped funding stadiums and that their share of the pie has grown exponentially over the past several years.

    They’re both acting like greedy little children and need to get back to the bargaining table and figure this thing out – or there won’t be much of a pie left for them to fight over.

  41. @SMARTER THAN AVG.BEARFAN-i have had my own small business for 10 years and i do have a partner we share all cost & profitt as we do have a 50/50 share in our after reading about this nfl labor issue for months & months, now i feel like a real dummy because i never knew that i could have my PARTNER pay all the cost and i could could take nearly 60% of all money we brought in and still hold out for more and that i could also go and make money under our lable doing t.v./internt/magazine/radio ads ect…ect…and not have to share that with my partner. wow i guess i still have alot to learn about business.i have to go now because i gotta make sure i get signed up for next semister at bus. school

  42. @peanutbutter&jelly

    If your partner earned all the money in your business while you sat around, I’d say giving him 50% of revenue means you’re ripping him off.

  43. 1. The owners created this situation by ripping up the CBA which had been working fine.

    Apart from a rookie pay scale, fans were happy with the deal. It was working well. The NFL has been growing. Players get paid. Not one owner or franchise got into any kind of financial difficulty.

    2. The owners acted illegally in creating a lockout fund in their contracts withe networks.

    2. The owners are trying to get next seasons games cancelled by implementing a lockout.

    Nobody made the owners lockout players. They had a completely free choice. They chose the threaten the players by taking games away from the fans.

    You always have some idiot saying a girl got raped because she dressed provocatively. She invited the rape. It was her fault. No it wasn’t. She didn’t cause the rape. And no, it wasn’t the players that caused the lockout.

    3. The players individually, and collectively through their association, have offered to negotiate. That offer to talk is on the table RIGHT NOW.

    The owners are refusing to talk.


    Owners caused this situation.
    Owners broke the law to help them do a lockout.
    Owners want games cancelled.
    Owners won’t negotiate.

    All because the owners want a bigger share of the money.

  44. When the union decertified any partnership was disolved. Why don’t “smarter” people realize that?

  45. realfann,
    where do I begin.
    Both side agreed that if either side was unhappy they had a window to back out. so that argument is lousy.
    The owners never got the money and rightfully so. so that goes out the window.
    The lockout came AFTER THE UNION DECERTIFIED….which means the players if anybody wants the games cancelled.

    THE UNION SET 3 different deadline to end negotiations……ONLY THE PLAYERS didnt make a proposal.
    so start over and try again.

  46. @jw731 …

    Any word on the other 1693 players? You guys are soooo obsessed with the ones who get into trouble or stick their feet in their mouths. If you work for a large organization, I’m sure a percentage of your company’s employees are an embarrassment, too. Would you like to be blamed for everything they do?

    The owners tried to improperly funnel money from a revenue-sharing venture into a personal lockout fund. It’s called “cheating.” They deserve any penalty the court imposes.

  47. Just another cash stream the players are trying to dip into. We’ll see who Judge Nelson sides with in the end. That is if this garbage ever ends.

  48. The owners have been claiming for two years that they haven’t been making enough money under the current CBA. This much we know.

    The union took the owners to court over the lockout insurance and in the course of the trial it was found (by looking through such esoteric stuff as ‘evidence’) that the league hadn’t carried forward their legally mandated duty to maximise the revenue accrued through TV contracts by pushing for lockout insurance instead of revenue over the life of the deal. Considering that the owners’ stated reason for voiding the old CBA early and locking out the union was that they weren’t making enought money this puts quite a big hole in their argument. If they had tried to maximise the total revenues they wouldn’t have made lockout insurance the dealbreaker.

    The owners managed to secure loans of $4.3bn (although from my understanding some of this was actually not to be returned so it was really money for nothing) which must have had a fairly substantial effect on the total revenue over the period. I have never asked a business partner to agree to loan me that kind of money so I can only guess at how much it cost but I would guess that you would be talking several hundreds of millions of dollars. Of course then the owners wouldn’t be able to whine about not making enough money.

    So the league has been claiming that they can’t raise enough revenue whilst not trying to maximise the revenue. Furthermore despite it having been revealed that they haven’t been attempting to maximise revenue they have refused to offer the league relevant financial data to prove the need for the players to take a smaller cut of the revenue (unaudited profit and loss accounts would almost nothing). Instead of investigating ways in which any sensitive data could be protected or restricted they simply refused.

    In an ideal world the next labour agreement will last for a long time, there is no chance this is going to happen whilst the league refuses to share relevant data. How can the players be being greedy when they haven’t been shown the information that would prove to them that they are but it has been ruled in a court that the owners were trying to stiff them?

    If I were the players I would be asking for the 60% (or 58.7 or 59.6 or whatever) lockout fund to be given to the players as soon as it is paid to the league. It was revenue negotiated under the last CBA so it should be split like under the last CBA.

  49. @username54

    If I were the players, I’d ask for punitive damages and thus triple the amount.

    Rationale being that missing training camp and missing games has the potential for permanent damage to a players career.

  50. Maybe the owners were making enough money. But maybe the reason for the lockout is that they are so greedy that they opted out of the CBA just so that they could collect an extra 4.3 for themselves and not have to share it. Every team made a profit except two. If they each had had the money they agreed to hold back, the profits would have been far bigger.

    If 2.15 billion was held back for each of two years that the networks would have paid otherwise. 40.1% of that would have gone to the owners. Or 26 million more per team. The Dolphins were one of the two teams that lost money. 7.7 million for the 2010 season. With that additional 26 million they make a profit of over 18 million. On the high end the Cowboys would have made 169 million. And the new TV contracts are coming up. They are expected to be far more lucrative than the last ones. ESPN has been rumored to be about to pay close to double what they paid on the last contract. The other networks can expect the same.

    Under the agreement the owners opted out of guys like Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder stood to make over 200 million a year in profit. In fact, the top ten owners would have been making close to 100 million in profit each year. The next seven owners wouldn’t be far behind.

    And they say the players are greedy.

  51. Something else to think about when considering the owners greed. If they had received that 4.3 billion, it amounts to over 130 million each. Yet these guys laid off or cut the salaries of the workers in their organizations. Not players making million or hundreds of thousands. But regular Joes and Janes working regular jobs likely making well below 100,000 a year. Just so they could pocket millions more for themselves.

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