(AP) — The players union claimed Wednesday that the NFL imposed a secret salary cap during the uncapped 2010 season that cost the players at least $1 billion.
The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, which oversees the Reggie White settlement covering NFL labor matters.
The complaint claims a “conspiracy” to set a $123 million salary cap for the 2010 season, when owners did not have the authority to do so. The Cowboys and Redskins have had their future salary caps lowered for overspending in 2010, Dallas by $10 million over two seasons, Washington by a whopping $36 million.
Both teams lost a grievance against those reductions on Tuesday.
“When the rules are broken in a way that hurts the game, we have an obligation to act. We cannot stand by when we now know that the owners conspired to collude,” union chief DeMaurice Smith said Wednesday.
In response to the reopening of the Reggie White lawsuit, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said, “There was no collusion. There was no agreement. These claims are totally unfounded.”
A league statement said the collective bargaining agreement signed last August to end the 4 1/2-month lockout prohibited the filing of these claims, and that players’ attorneys signed a separate agreement agreeing to the terms.
“The claims have absolutely no merit and we fully expect them to be dismissed,” a statement from the NFL said. “On multiple occasions, the players and their representatives specifically dismissed all claims, known or unknown, whether pending or not, regarding alleged violations of the 2006 CBA and the related settlement agreement. We continue to look forward to focusing on the future of the game rather than grievances of a prior era that have already been resolved.”
In other words, the NFL has considered the 2010 uncapped season a closed matter ever since the new labor deal was signed last summer. Clearly, the players do not.