Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Super Court: NFL vs NFLPA

Roger Goodell, left, and DeMaurice Smith, right, are once again in a legal battle. (Photo: sportstvjobs.com)
Welcome to Super Court! In today's case, we have the NFL Players Association versus the NFL!
The NFLPA is claiming that the NFL and the owners went behind their back in 2010 and created a secret salary cap during an uncapped year.

Let's do a little recap...shall we?

Back in March, the Redskins and the Cowboys were both handed salary cap reductions that added up to be $46 million for overloading contracts during the 2010 uncapped NFL year. The Redskins lost $36 million over the next two years and the Cowboys have lost $10 million over the same period.

Yesterday, the Redskins and Cowboys appeals were heard by an arbitrator that went on to throw out both claims and in doing so let the ruling and the penalties stand.

Today, the NFLPA filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the owners stating that they had a secret salary cap in place for the 2010 NFL season. Originally, that year is believed to been an uncapped year. Today, however, the NFLPA claims that the owners and the NFL had a secret cap of $123 million.

The biggest problem with this is the fact the owners and the NFL went beyond the restrictions with the NFLPA. 2010 was supposed to be an uncapped year. Instead, without letting the NFLPA know, the NFL and the owners instituted a salary cap of $123 million.

The lawsuit is for collusion and conspiracy against the NFL and the owners for the secret cap of 2010. The NFLPA is looking for $1-3 billion in damages.

The timing of this directly correlates to the decision to uphold to rulings to the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys. If 2010 was truly an uncapped year, there should have been no penalties handed down to them due to a salary cap violation.

When the violations were first issued back in March, the two franchises were essentially cited for spending too much money. If there was no limit on the money they could spend...how did they spend too much?

At the time when the NFL handed down the violations, the NFLPA first learned that there might have been something fishy with the salary cap of the 2010 year. They waited and once the NFL upheld their ruling yesterday, they attacked.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello threw another loop in this already tangled mess with the following statement.
"The filing of these claims is prohibited by the Collective Bargaining Agreement and separately by an agreement signed by the players' attorneys last August. The claims have absolutely no merit and we fully expect them to be dismissed."
I'm no CBA expert, but if what he said is true, the NFLPA has no leg to stand on. Aiello basically told the NFLPA that, even if these claims are true, filing a lawsuit about them is against the CBA.

There are a lot of signs that point to the NFLPA actually making a case for a secret 2010 salary cap. The NFL tipped it's hand when the NFL...and the owners...cited the Redskins and the Cowboys for overspending during the 2010 "uncapped" year. If it was uncapped, the Redskins and Cowboys never should have gotten in trouble.

However, after hearing Aiello's statement, I see no reason how the NFLPA can come out on top in this one. There are two written documents stating that what they are doing is against the CBA and will be dismissed shortly.