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  1. #37

    Re: Will Washington and Dallas get their cap money back?



    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    If your boss warns you 6 times not to do something, you do it anyway with the notion "hey, it's not a written rule", you're going to find out the hard way just how much weight a verbal directive really has.
    This is a little off-the-mark as well. The league is not, properly speaking, the "boss" in these matters. The collective bargaining agreement controls the conditions of employment between teams and players. The league is a central clearing house for player contracts, in the sense that they keep track of who is a free agent and who is under contract. And they monitor salary cap compliance.

    In the absence of a salary cap, the league has (had) no legitimate say in cap compliance. Any direction they gave to the teams in terms of conducting an orderly free agency, would be a "suggestion" not an "order". However, it's in everyone's interest to have an orderly free agency period, so of course those "suggestions" were heeded.

    But if they suggested any kind of cost control, or price fixing for free agents, that is blatant collusion. It's illegal in a labor market. Let alone that the agreement specifically called for an "uncapped year", so capping salaries is a violation of that agreement -- also illegal. (That's the "deceitful" part of the collusion definition. The teams deceived the union into thinking there was no salary cap, while secretly behaving as if a cap were in place.)

    So to recap:
    • The Skins and Cowboys did not break any "written" rules by exceeding the cap, because there was no cap.
    • Any "unwritten" cap that the league tried to get teams to abide by, was blatantly illegal, and have no force to be obeyed.

    And the league might get away with it, because they bought off the union by bumping up the cap for the other teams.

    Let's not pretend that punishing Washington & Dallas is anything like legally or morally acceptable behavior. This whole thing stinks. I'm getting angrier the more I write about it.




  2. #38
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    Re: Will Washington and Dallas get their cap money back?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimZipCode View Post
    It was reported before the uncapped year that the NFL was instituting "guidelines" for teams to deal with the uncapped year. The guidelines themselves were not publicized, so those can be construed as secret.
    Secrecy is not a requirement. Even if it did, it's not secrecy from the public. The secrecy issues is of the colluding parties keep a secret amongst themselves, not the public.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimZipCode View Post
    The NFL teams gained an unfair advantage over the players during the uncapped year, with whom they are negotiating, by behaving as if a salary cap was still in place when it was not. The unfair advantage they gained was the artificial restraint in player prices. They kept free agent contracts down.
    Wow, that's quite a stretch. So by warning owners not to back load contracts (something that benefits the players because they can be paid any amount during an uncapped year), they committed a conspiracy against the players by creating a system for one year that pays them more money in an uncapped year?

    This is a dispute amongst the owners. Not with the NFLPA. The owners can enforce sanctions amongst themselves and not even sniff any labor law. That's the larger issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimZipCode View Post
    The collusion we are discussing is not the NFL's decision to slap Dallas & Washington. The collusion consisted in their tactics of keeping salaries down in the uncapped year. Textbook collusion.
    Except it was an uncapped year and no CBA governing salaries. No CBA = No Collusion. And as you accurately point out, the NFLPA agreed to everything.
    WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.




  3. #39

    Re: Will Washington and Dallas get their cap money back?

    Dallas, Washington... two of the most idiot owners in the league. I don't see a problem dropping the hammer on them. They were warned. I even recall seeing it somewhere that said if you broke the cap that year you would be pro-rated against the cap when it came back.




  4. #40

    Re: Will Washington and Dallas get their cap money back?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    Wow, that's quite a stretch. So by warning owners not to back load contracts (something that benefits the players because they can be paid any amount during an uncapped year), they committed a conspiracy against the players by creating a system for one year that pays them more money in an uncapped year?
    You almost have it. Rephrase it this way:

    "By warning owners not to back load contracts (something that benefits the players because they can be paid any amount during an uncapped year), they committed a conspiracy against the players." Full stop here. The owners conspired to deny benefits to players, that they might have been able to negotiate for themselves. We usually say "colluded" instead of "conspired", but same thing.

    The second part of your sentence above is where the deceit comes in. The owners negotiated with the players and agreed to "a system for one year that pays them more money in an uncapped year". But then they deceitfully reneged on that agreement, by secretly agreeing not to pay the players more money. The team owners behaved as if there were a salary cap, thus artificially keeping player prices down. The money over and above the cap that teams would have paid to players if the market were operating freely, was kept by the owners.

    There should have been outrageous bidding wars for players. There weren't.

    The players union signed on for "a system for one year that pays them more money in an uncapped year," but they didn't get it. That's because of owner collusion.


    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    Except it was an uncapped year and no CBA governing salaries. No CBA = No Collusion.
    No, that's not how it works. No CBA governing salaries = a free market for salaries. Any agreement between the owners to keep player prices down is illegal. The teams would be behaving like an illegal cartel in that situation.


    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    And as you accurately point out, the NFLPA agreed to everything.
    Yes, after the fact. That's essential for the league to be able to get away with this.

    Note that two agreements are required. The first was for the NFLPA to turn a blind eye to the collusion. The second agreement was for the NFLPA to accept the league punishing Dallas & Washington for not falling in line with the illegal behavior. That's how the cap hit got re-allocated among the other teams.



    For a basic grounding on "collusion" in labor relations in pro sports, baseball is the place to look.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_collusion




  5. #41
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    Re: Will Washington and Dallas get their cap money back?

    Lets just agree to disagree, Jim.

    BTW, the ideas in my posts were not of my own. They were from, in part, my wife who is an L&E attorney here in Houston. She sees this stuff every day.
    WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.




  6. #42

    Re: Will Washington and Dallas get their cap money back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Silver View Post
    Dallas, Washington: two of the most idiot owners in the league. I don't see a problem dropping the hammer on them.
    Yeah, it's fun to see Snyder and Jones get bitch-slapped. The pleasure of seeing them get knocked around is almost enough for me to overlook the blatant racketeering.


    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Silver View Post
    They were warned. I even recall seeing it somewhere that said if you broke the cap that year you would be pro-rated against the cap when it came back.
    That's the problem. That "gentleman's agreement" to obey the cap is illegal price fixing.




  7. #43

    Re: Will Washington and Dallas get their cap money back?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    Lets just agree to disagree, Jim.

    BTW, the ideas in my posts were not of my own. They were from, in part, my wife who is an L&E attorney here in Houston. She sees this stuff every day.
    Well, ask her for more detail here, please. It would be great to have an attorney weigh in. Not about the league's punishment of the Skins and Boyz, that's actually kind of a side issue. The question to be asked is

    IF:
    • a group of employers (the teams) enters a collective bargaining agreement with a class of workers (the players) represented by a union
    • and that agreement includes a salary cap in most years of the deal, but explicitly calls for no cap in the final year of the deal
    • and the deal then expires
    • yet the employers (teams) agree amongst themselves to act as if the cap were still in place, keeping labor (player) costs down below the cap number both in the "uncapped" year
    • and in the year after expiration of the agreement

    Is that legal?

    That's the behavior we're discussing. I'm pretty sure she's going to tell you something like "as written no, but the union might agree to overlook it in subsequent collective bargaining".

    Follow-up question:

    Is it legal for the "cartel of employers" (loaded term) to punish fellow employers who do not fall in line with the "gentleman's agreement", and instead spend more on workers than the "cartel" wants them to?




  8. #44

    Re: Will Washington and Dallas get their cap money back?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimZipCode View Post
    Yeah, it's fun to see Snyder and Jones get bitch-slapped. The pleasure of seeing them get knocked around is almost enough for me to overlook the blatant racketeering.

    That's the problem. That "gentleman's agreement" to obey the cap is illegal price fixing.
    Everything the 32 NFL corporations do as a collective (TV contracts, merchandise contracts, etc) can be considered "collusion" and "racketeering". It doesn't matter if it's an uncapped year or not. They have no antitrust exemption, so technically it is all illegal. Why should this be any different?




  9. #45

    Re: Will Washington and Dallas get their cap money back?

    Quote Originally Posted by KidSampson View Post
    Everything the 32 NFL corporations do as a collective (TV contracts, merchandise contracts, etc) can be considered "collusion" and "racketeering". It doesn't matter if it's an uncapped year or not. They have no antitrust exemption, so technically it is all illegal. Why should this be any different?
    They get a pass on stuff that is collectively-bargained, like salary caps and the draft when the agreement is in place. The agreement makes it legal.

    TV contracts might be legal too, since no one team can play a game. It takes two to tango, and it takes a "league" (of some sort) to coordinate a schedule, so it might make sense that the league is the entity that negotiates TV contracts.

    Certainly you're right that pro sports leagues behave like trusts in some situations. Many situations.




  10. #46

    Re: Will Washington and Dallas get their cap money back?

    You guys also have to remember that you can fine comb it anyway you want, but this still is an appeal. A judge isn't allowed to go back and say, "Based on the findings, this is fine, but XYZ is a better way, so we're going to do this." A judge has to find something blatently wrong in the process that would warrant intervention. Hence, burden or proof being on the one appealing. And this isn't even a courtroom proceeding, so it will be even higher. So think of it in that respect before you get too carried away.




  11. #47

    Re: Will Washington and Dallas get their cap money back?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimZipCode View Post
    TV contracts might be legal too, since no one team can play a game. It takes two to tango, and it takes a "league" (of some sort) to coordinate a schedule, so it might make sense that the league is the entity that negotiates TV contracts.
    Baseball HAS an antitrust exemption, yet each team/owner negotiates TV rights for the most part. It could be done in football, but there probably wouldn't be all the nationally televised games we've grown accustomed to.




  12. #48
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    Re: Will Washington and Dallas get their cap money back?

    I find it interesting that the NFL's arguments are that these teams have no right to be heard and/or that the league has sweeping authority to ensure competetive balance. They're not saying any rules were broken, they're trying to get the whole thing thrown out.

    If it is thrown out, would either of these owners sue?

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