On Thursday, the NFL players asked Judge David Doty to award them monetary damages after the Court ruled last month that the NFL violated the CBA by entering into deals with television networks that would pay them $4 billion if there was no football.
In June of this year, the NFLPA filed a complaint alleging that the NFL structured its contracts with broadcast partners, such as CBS and FOX, to ensure that fees would be paid even if there were no games played in 2011.
Why is this a big deal? In the event that football is not played in 2011, the NFL won’t be sharing television revenue with the players, and in securing a payout for not having a season in 2011, the Union is arguing that the NFL did not seek to maximize revenue in other seasons when the league would need to share that money with players. So for the Union, the deal violates an agreement between the parties that the NFL must negotiate in good faith with a view to maximizing revenue for players. The NFL took less in years it had to share revenue to guarantee that it gets paid if there is no football.
The NFL initially beat the NFLPA, but on appeal Judge Doty sided with the players. The next step is a hearing to determine the award of monetary damages. That is set for May 12. The players filed their brief on Thursday in advance of the hearing.
What are the Players Asking For?
The players have asked for revenue "left on the table" in 2009 and 2010 when the NFL re-negotiated broadcast contracts. The players have also asked for 3 times the total amount of compensation awarded by the Court. They argue that the NFL's attempt to tilt the balance of labor talks by rigging the TV deals was "unconscionable", and that the breach of its obligation to bargain in good faith was "deliberate, contemplated and willful."
The players also asked for the lockout to be lifted. However, the players did acknowledge that Judge Susan Nelson has the authority to do that in the player's other lawsuit filed by the Brady Bunch, where they are trying to get the lockout lifted.
While the amount of money the players are asking for has not been disclosed, some have estimated that the number may be in hundreds of millions of dollars.