Appeals court reinstates NFL collusion case

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A federal appeals court has reinstated the NFL Players Association collusion case where they accused the NFL and teams of utilizing a secret salary cap during the uncapped 2010 league year.

This overturns a complaint dismissed by Judge David S. Doty in 2012 where he said the players' union had already agreed in 2011 to not file that action during the NFL lockout. The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the case in a ruling Friday.

"Our union will always pursue and protect the rights of its players," the NFLPA said in a statement. "We are pleased that the Eighth Circuit ruled that players have the opportunity to proceed with their claims. Through discovery and a hearing, we can understand how collusion took place. We have notified the NFL of its obligations to preserve all relevant documents and communications.”

The NFL issued a statement of its own.

“As the Court emphasized, today’s decision is entirely procedural in nature,” the league stated. “Far from validating the Union’s claim, the Court specifically highlighted the heavy burden that the NFLPA faces in establishing this claim, and we remain highly confident that the claim will be dismissed yet again.”

The union has accused the NFL of using a $123 million salary cap per team during a supposedly uncapped year. The league has denied those c laims.

The NFL did punish the Washington Redskins ($36 million salary-cap reduction over a two-year span) and the Dallas Cowboys ($10 million salary-cap reduction over two years), saying they gained an unfair competitive advantage while not technically violating the salary cap.

The case was dismissed in arbitration.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

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