Appeals Court Reinstates 2012 Collusion Case Against NFL

Appeals Court Reinstates 2012 Collusion Case Against NFL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has overturned a decision by Judge David Doty dismissing the NFLPA’s effort to claim collusion against the NFL made in the wake of the salary-cap penalties imposed on the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins in 2012.

The case will now move into the discovery process, which will force the NFL to disclose all information about whether teams were told to treat the uncapped year of 2010 under the prior labor deal as something other than that. Meaning the league asked teams to NOT go over the cap line even though the year was said to be uncapped.

Most will remember that the penalties led to Washington being punished with a $36 million dollar cap hit (broke into two $18 million dollar hits in 2011 and 2012) as well as a $10 million dollar hit for the Dallas Cowboys (broke into two payments of $5 million in 2011 and 2012). The two teams complied with the language of the 2010 “uncapped” year rules and had each and everyone of their roster moves approved by the league.

The case originally concluded when Judge Doty stated that it was simply too late for the players to argue collusion for things happening before the signing of the current labor deal because the agreement included a settlement of all legal claims that were or could have been madeThe Eighth Circuit Court reversed that ruling.

In all likely-hood the NFL will try to make this case disappear before they have to explain the unwritten rules they had with owners heading into the “uncapped” year. Many will also remember the NFL players association (NFLPA) basically killed any collusion arguments when they agreed to the Cowboys and Redskins cap penalties in exchange for the league’s agreement to raise the 2012 salary cap with the money’s taken from the two teams salary cap.

It’s a huge win for the NFLPA. And it’s a huge setback for the NFL, which could result in an award of damages somewhere around $1 billion dollars if the case moves forward.

The league released this statement:

“As the Court emphasized, today’s decision is entirely procedural in nature. Far from validating the Union’s claim, the Court specifically highlighted the heavy burden that the NFLPA faces in establishing this claim, and we remain highly confident that the claim will be dismissed yet again.”

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