The NFL Players Association dropped a bomb yesterday when it sued league owners for allegedly colluding to limit player salaries in 2010, when there was no salary cap. The union’s lawsuit seeks as much as $3 billion in damages for what it called an owner conspiracy to impose a “secret $123 million per club salary cap” that season.
The NFL apparently believes it is immune to lawsuits of this nature, based on language in the new collective bargaining agreement reached last year. That section of the deal now seems very peculiar in hindsight. What’s even stranger is that the NFL felt comfortable enough to punish four teams for not playing by the so called honor system. I’d think common sense would dictate not making any waves about cap issues in a year that had no salary cap.
Either it’s pure arrogance, or maybe just stupidity, for the NFL to place itself in a compromising position by punishing four owners and clubs.
One of the factors in my own contract dispute was that a contract can’t be created in deception. I was the little fish in that situation and lost in arbitration. The Redskins and Cowboys were told on Tuesday they have no right to bring a complaint to an arbitrator.
Now that this can of worms has been opened, there seems to be no other course of action but for the union to take it to court.
If the NFLPA finds a way to get into a courtroom, it doesn’t seem like a case the NFL could win. The evidence of collusion already is pretty clear. That makes these arbitration efforts look like a joke.
I’m sure most people could care less about these issues as long as they don’t affect the season, but I would suggest that you do pay attention because you can learn a lot about how things are handled by the NFL, which has built the strongest brand in sports.
If the team owners truly are colluding to rip off the players and then punishing any of their own who don’t cooperate, how might the NFL be ripping off the consumer? I’m just asking a fair question.
Of course this bothers me, because I was a direct victim of this type of move. I can tell you it’s no fun being picked on by the big dog. I’m not surprised so much by the secret cap as I am by the actions taken against the Redskins and Cowboys.
Is it crazy to now suspect foul play in how the New Orleans Saints bounty situation was handled? All kinds of conspiracies will soon surface around how hard the NFL brought the hammer down on the Saints.
Stay tuned. I’m sure this is far from over.