As the NFL owners and the NFLPA prepare to return to the negotiating table after the three-day weekend, it seems their lives are doomed to become more complicated. That’s because the The New York Times is reporting that the group of retired players involved in the Brady v. NFL case is set to prepare a complaint against the players and owners.
From the Times:
The class-action complaint, to be filed in Federal District Court in Minneapolis against the teams, the league, the players named in the Brady v. N.F.L. lawsuit and DeMaurice Smith, the head of the N.F.L. Players Association, asserted that the sides were violating antitrust laws by negotiating settlement terms that improperly encompassed the rights of retired players in the time since the N.F.L.P.A. renounced its union status.The complaint will ask Judge Susan Nelson to issue an injunction to halt the talks between the owners and players regarding retired players’ benefits, and it asks for a declaration that the NFLPA cannot represent those retired players in a new CBA settlement or for other litigation.
The complaint says that the current players and the association, along with the N.F.L., “are conspiring to depress the amounts of pension and disability benefits to be paid to former N.F.L. players in order to maximize the salaries and benefits to current N.F.L. players.”
And it says that while the N.F.L. is willing to commit additional money to retirees from within and outside the league’s salary cap, the union “has insisted that the sum within the salary cap be given to current players instead.”
Basically, the alumni want to represent themselves in these talks.
“We feel we have a seat at the table, but we’re having the chair pulled out from under us,” Michael Hausfeld, the lawyer representing retired players, told the paper. “Both sides are saying, ‘We’ll decide what’s in your best interests.’”
As the Times points out, though, Nelson might be reluctant to add a third party to the mix so late in the negotiations, partially because it seems like the two sides might be closing in on a solution and partially because bringing somebody else to the table might make matters much more complicated.
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