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No ruling in players suit against NFL in TV deal dispute

Judge David DotyJudge David DotyThe hearing with Judge David Doty (pictured) on Thursday to determine what damages (if any) the NFL must pay its players for violating the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) while negotiating the last round of television contracts did not end with a decision.

“To be honest, I didn’t think we’d have this hearing. And I’m a bit disappointed we’re having it,” said Doty to start the hearing, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com.

Doty is expected to rule next week, but a specific date and time for his decision was not set.

Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com reports via Twitter that the players are seeking $707 million in TV money as well as unspecified damages.

Gabe Feldman, Director of the Tulane Sports Law Program, states that the NFL is likely to challenge a large damage award to the players via the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and the "underlying finding that they breached duty to the players" in the CBA.

The union charges that the NFL reworked its TV contracts to buy lockout insurance for the 2011 season at the expense of the players. The benefit to the league, according to the complaint, is that the NFL would have taken nearly $4 billion from the TV contracts, even if no games are played in the 2011 season. The figure is close to half of total league revenues (roughly $9 billion) that was split with the players each season under the last CBA.

NFLPA counsel Jeffrey Kessler initially charged that the NFL “knowingly left money on the table…at the expense of players.”

If the deal were to have been implimented without legal intervention, the NFL teams would have saved about $4.4 billion in player salaries and benefits during the lockout. The players charged that the team owners would still turn a profit.

 

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