NFL players union sues organization for collusion

NFL players union chief DeMaurice Smith

NFL players union chief DeMaurice Smith believes the group’s lawsuit against the NFL will ultimately prove victorious in court. The NFL Players Association claims in filings before the U.S. District Court in Minnesota the teams concocted and implemented a secret salary cap during what should have bee the uncapped 2010 season. The collusion is alleged to have cost players at least $1 billion in lost wages. Smith said that the facts will show that “Cartels do what cartels will do when left unchecked.”

After the action was filed the NFL issued a statement of its own saying “the union’s claims have absolutely no merit and we fully expect them to be dismissed.” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello was clear that, “There was no collusion. There was no agreement. These claims are totally unfounded.”

The Players Association claims that the conspiracy resulted in a set $123 million salary cap for the 2010 season, something that owners did not have the authority to do. The lawsuit was filed just a day after it was revealed that the Washington Redskins are losing $36 million and the Dallas Cowboys $10 million from their current salary caps for overspending during the uncapped season. In its complaint, the Union says the League estimated that the Redskins spent $225.8 million on players in 2010, or nearly $103 million above the alleged secret salary cap, and the Cowboys spent $175.9 million. The two teams’ salary cap space will now be redistributed to 28 other teams in an agreement signed by the union. (The league found the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders had used similar tactics but to a lesser degree. They weren’t punished by they also will not receive extra cap space.)

This revelation helped prompt the union’s lawsuit for collusion. Smith said, “The 32 teams are defendants of the action right now. If there is evidence that is developed later on that would demonstrate that any one of those teams did not abide by the conspiracy, then my guess is those teams will make the appropriate assertions, and we’ll see where we end up.”

The NFL claims that the agreement they signed with the League last August to end the recent lockout had a clause that specifically prevented the Union from filing such a complaint. Smith disputes that point and says that such a response from the League indicates that they are guilty as charged yet trying to avoid paying for their actions.

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Read: “NFL players union leader: Facts prove collusion claim,” by The Associated Press, published at


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