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NFL players ask judge for $707M

this is a discussion within the NFL Community Forum; MINNEAPOLIS -- Seeking more clout in their fight with the NFL, locked-out players asked a federal judge Thursday to make $4 billion in disputed broadcast revenue off limits to the league and to award them at least $707 million in ...

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Old 05-12-2011, 05:32 PM   #1
 
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NFL players ask judge for $707M

MINNEAPOLIS -- Seeking more clout in their fight with the NFL, locked-out players asked a federal judge Thursday to make $4 billion in disputed broadcast revenue off limits to the league and to award them at least $707 million in damages, too.

U.S. District Judge David Doty took the request under advisement after a two-hour hearing that included arguments from attorneys for the league and the players.

Jeffrey Kessler, an attorney for the players, urged Doty to rule quickly on the request to put the $4 billion "war chest" in escrow because of the ongoing lockout. The players have argued that the league can make it through the work stoppage in part because it illegally secured that money by renegotiating TV contracts for 2011 that allows the NFL to get paid even if there are no games to televise.

Gregg Levy, an attorney for the league, said the players have no right to damages, and he accused them of "sandbagging and ambush."

Levy told reporters afterward the league never intended to finance a work stoppage with money from the networks. He said the players don't have the right to access the money, however, and balked at the proposal for an escrow arrangement.

"It would in effect give the players some entitlement to that money which we don't believe they are entitled to," Levy said.

The damages award alone could amount to a huge piece of leverage for the players in their fight with the NFL over the next collective bargaining agreement. And so could making the broadcast money off limits.

"I think that the owners predicated a lot of their strategy in having a revenue stream for 2011," said Marc Greenbaum, a labor law professor at Suffolk University Law School in Boston who is following the case. "If Judge Doty grants the players' request, an important part of their strategy is undermined."

None of the team owners or high-ranking league officials attended the hearing. Players Ben Leber, Chester Pitts and Steve Smith were present, as was the head of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith.

NFL lockout 2011: NFLPA wants $707M in damages from TV case - ESPN

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