Judge’s ruling on owners’ ‘lockout insurance’ a win for NFLPA
|03.01.11 at 8:30 pm ET|
The NFL players won a major victory on Tuesday, as a federal judge backed the NFLPA in a dispute over the release of television revenue.
U.S. District Judge David Doty said that the league’s decision to carve out $4 billion in additional TV revenue — referred to some as “lockout insurance” — violated its agreement with the union, which had argued that the league was effectively stockpiling money to prepare for a lockout.
The union had asked that the TV money be placed in escrow until the end of any lockout.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello downplayed the significance of the ruling, telling The Associated Press in an e-mail that clubs were “prepared for any contingency.”
“Today’s ruling will have no effect on our efforts to negotiate a new, balanced labor agreement,” Aiello wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the players were clearly heartened by the ruling.
“This ruling means there’s irrefutable evidence that owners had a premeditated plan to lockout players and fans,” the NFLPA said in a statement. “The players want to play football. That is the only goal we are focused on.”
The league’s agreement with players expires at midnight Thursday night, and owners have said they would institute a lockout if no new agreement is reached.
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