WASHINGTON—The class counsel under the Reggie White settlement agreement and the NFL Players Association, on behalf of the NFL players, filed a collusion complaint against the National Football League and the team owners.
Click here to read the complete filing.
The written claim was filed with the United States District Court of Minnesota after the union notified the league on Tuesday of its intention to file the complaint. The NFLPA claims, in part, that each of the 32 NFL clubs conspired to suppress player salaries.
Pursuant to the Reggie White Settlement Stipulation Agreement (SSA) from 1993, NFL owners agreed that the 2010 season would not be subject to a salary cap and that they would not circumvent the SSA. According to the union’s complaint, however, NFL owners “engaged in a secret, recently-revealed collusive and circumventing agreement, whereby each of the 32 clubs agreed to suppress player salaries—including by imposing a secret $123 million per-club salary cap for that uncapped 2010 season.”
Pro Player Insiders obtained a document highlighting the NFLPA’s collusion claim on Wednesday morning. The union learned about what it deems a “conspiracy” on March 12, 2012, when media reports revealed that four NFL clubs—the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints—chose not to fully abide by “secret NFL rules to suppress player salaries in 2010.” In the document, the union refers to the league’s “secret $123 million salary cap” for the uncapped 2010 season that was designed to restrain player compensation. The NFLPA claims that at least 28 of the 32 NFL clubs fully or materially complied with the collusive salary cap during the 2010 league year.
Had the Redskins and Cowboys not challenged their salary-cap penalties, according to the document, the conspiracy might have never been revealed. The document also specifically cites public comments made by New York Giants owner John Mara, Chair of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
In its filing, the NFLPA claims that pursuant to the SSA, “the players are entitled to compensatory damages and an additional amount equal to two times such compensatory damages, which would result in SSA damages of up to $3 billion or more.” The complaint alleges a violation of the SSA, not of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth commented on the filing:
“When the rules are broken in a way that hurts the game, we have an obligation to act. We cannot standby when we now know that the owners conspired to collude,” said DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA Executive Director.
“Our union recently learned that there was a secret salary cap agreement in an uncapped year. The complaint today is our effort to fulfill our duty to every NFL player. They deserve to know, above all, the facts and the truth about this conspiracy,” said Domonique Foxworth, NFLPA President.
The NFLPA clarified the details of their position in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.