NFLPA, league still at odds over 2010 cap penalties - Sports Illustrated

NFLPA, league still at odds over 2010 cap penalties

Publish date:

The NFL Players Association filed a reply to the league's motion to defeat the players' collusion case against owners on Thursday.

The basis of the case is that owners conspired to use a salary cap threshold during the "uncapped year" in 2010, and is a response to the Cowboys and Redskins being docked salary cap space for adjusting contracts to avoid future cap violations.

"In its filing, the NFLPA informed the Court that in March 2012, once the NFL and Owners believed they were in the clear, they imposed punishments on two teams -- the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys --that failed to fully honor the owners' illegal conspiracy to collude during the uncapped 2010 season," the NFLPA said in a release Friday. "Public comments by Owners in March 2012 about those punishments exposed what had been, until then, a carefully concealed agreement to violate the White Stipulation and Settlement Agreement (SSA). But now, confronted with a damages claim for their admitted conspiracy, the Owners desperately seek to find some legal argument to shield them from redress for the willful violations of the anti-collusion provisions of the Reggie White antitrust settlement agreement."

"The NFLPA's filing makes clear that each of the NFL's arguments fails, and the Players have the right to continue to vigorously pursue full legal remedies for the NFL's egregious violations. Oral arguments on the case will be heard by Judge David Doty on Sept. 6, 2012 in Minneapolis."

The special master who heard the appeal of the Cowboys and Redskins granted the NFL's motion to dismiss a grievance on May 22, upholding two-year penalties structured to dissolve $36 million of cap space for Washington with Dallas losing $10 million.

The NFL released a response to the NFL filing on Friday.

"So it's crystal clear: There was no collusion. There was no agreement. These claims are totally unfounded," the statement read.

The Cowboys and Redskins initially opposed the punishment and reduction in cap space, but relented following the May ruling.

"We pursued our salary cap claim pursuant to the CBA and we respect and will abide by the arbitrator's decision to dismiss," the team's said in a joint statement in May.

The arbitration hearing in which the Cowboys and Redskins separately made appeals on their salary-cap penalties was heard May 10.

League system arbitrator Stephen Burbank, who heard the arguments earlier in the month, made the call to dismiss the appeal according to NFL counsel Jeff Pash.

Each team was docked for using the uncapped 2010 year to create what was characterized as an unfair competitive advantage going forward, putting large base salary numbers into 2010 on player contracts. Dallas did it in the contract of wide receiver Miles Austin, while Washington structured contracts with extra money in 2010 for cornerback DeAngelo Hall and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.

-- The Sports Xchange