The National Football League Players Association has sued the NFL, the NFL Players Association, and two NFL clubs, alleging that the NFL’s competitive sports rules violate the antitrust laws.
The league’s rules for the NFLPA’s annual “NFLPA Salary Survey” are among the most stringent in the league’s history.
The survey is administered annually to determine players’ annual compensation.
The guidelines also require a player to receive a $50,000 check if he is awarded a championship ring, $50 for every year he’s been an All-Pro, and a minimum of $150,000 for the “per game” award.
The NFLPA is asking the courts to rule that the league does not have the authority to limit player compensation by requiring that only “contest” awards be given out, and that the maximum amount awarded to an individual is $1 million.
The NFLPA argues that the $50 million cap is not an amount the league can realistically afford.
Instead, it argues that it would be unreasonable to require a franchise to pay players more than the league currently does, and is asking for the court to determine whether the “contests” were a legitimate business venture.
The lawsuit seeks a declaration that the cap is unreasonable and the league must pay compensation for “incompetition, unfairness, and excessive compensation.”
The NFL responded to the lawsuit on Tuesday.
“The salary survey, which is administered by the NFL to determine a franchise’s maximum amount of guaranteed annual salary, is a non-compete agreement, and has never been construed to violate antitrust laws,” NFL spokesperson Josh Ainsworth said in a statement.
“We will vigorously defend this matter, which we believe is in the best interest of the league and its players.”
The lawsuit follows a lawsuit last week filed by the American Football Coaches Association, the National Football Foundation, the Professional Football Writers Association, Major League Baseball, the Association of Black Journalists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The suits accuse the league of “permitting an employer-sponsored salary survey to be conducted by a self-selected, outside group of employers without the consent of the players’ union, union, or other bargaining representative.”
“This is not the way our game is played,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a news conference on Tuesday announcing the lawsuit.
“It’s not how our sport is run.
It’s not what we want to see in our game.”
The league is a joint venture between the NFL and CBS Sports, and CBS will continue to televise its regular season games.
Goodell said the lawsuit was the result of a lack of communication with the players, who are representing themselves in the case.
The new lawsuit is expected to be filed by early next week.