Antitrust, Football, Labor / Employment, Sports

Collusion And The Latest Attempt To See If The NFL Is Subject To Laws

The National Football League seems to be an unstoppable force of nature, led by a commissioner, Roger Goodell, who has managed to collectively bargain his way into being judge, jury, and executioner of league policy. NFL players often have to go outside of league offices and to United States courts to have their grievances heard, except that the NFL is just as indomitable in court as it is everywhere else.

But if you are going to defeat the NFL in court, claiming collusion is a better bet than most. The NFL has been busted for it before. And it’s really not that hard to infer when 32 or so owners get together to make a market crushing deal….

Today, the NFL Players Association filed collusion charges against the NFL. The NFLPA claims that the owners colluded to construct a $123 million salary cap back in 2010, which was supposed to be an uncapped year.

Their best evidence is the recently upheld ruling where the NFL fined the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys franchises for excessive contracts during the uncapped season. How can a team be fined for spending too much during a season that wasn’t supposed to have a salary cap?

Yeah, while you puzzle over that, the NFL would like for you to look at the monkey. From NBC Sports:

The NFL says the lawsuit, which is being filed in the court of Judge David Doty, is prohibited by the current Collective Bargaining Agreement — the owners’ argument is that when the union accepted the current deal last year, the players were waiving their right to file this kind of lawsuit.

They’re not really saying that collusion didn’t happen, just that they paid off the players in the last CBA to look the other way. But the players claim they did not even learn of the collusive behavior until March 12, when the league announced it was punishing the Redskins and Cowboys for violations in that 2010 season.

There are a couple of Biglaw firms representing the players in this suit, including Latham & Watkins, Weil Gotshal, and Winston & Strawn.

I’m guessing partners at those firms don’t want us to ask too many questions about how we’ve gotten to the point that $160K is the starting salary for almost every Biglaw associate in New York.

Union sues NFL, claims collusion during uncapped year [NBC Sports]

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