The Washington, Redskins have filed a legal response in D.C. Superior Court to a claim by former cornerback Mike Bass that the club is in breach of his contract and owes him pay for the 1976 season. The Redskins' response was a denial of the claim.
The club further denied that the court has jurisdiction over the complaint. The law firm of Williams, Connolly and Califano, representing the Redskins, suggested that the National Football League standed contract binds a player who signs it to "complete and final jurisdiction and authority to arbitrate" any dispute by commissioner Pete Rozelle.
Bass suffered a severe neck injury in late 1975 but played the final six games despite continued pain. He reported to Carlisle, Pa., for 1976 training camp, but was injured two weeks later in a scrimmage against the Baltimore Colts. Four days later, Bass announced he was quitting the game.
Bass claimed in his suit that the Redskins owe him $78,000 in salary for 1976 plus expenses totaling more than $6,000.
The Redskins acknowledge in their legal response filed in Superior Court Jan. 10 that team physician Dr. Stanford Lavine advised Bass that further physical contact would be bad for his health, but they argue that Bass left the game by retiring and announced that fact July 17, 1976.
According to the NFL contract, a player "shall not be entitled to any compensation, expenses or other payments under this contract" if he retires for any reason, even injury.
Bass claims he signed a three-year, no-trade contract with the Redskins in June, 1974. The final year of that agreement would have been 1976.But the Redskins claim that Bass signed three seperate one-year contracts and he did not perform any services for the club under the 1976 contract.
Ed Berkowitz, attorney for Bass. said, "Our contention is that he did not retire." Berkowitz said Bass stopped playing football because the 1975 injury left him vulnerable to permanent disability and that Bass was warned of this by the team physician during training camp.