Federal court upholds workers comp payments

In the back-and-forth volley between the players and the owners, the NFLPA has claimed a victory.

The trade association that now works on the behalf of professional football players is trumpeting a victory over the 32 NFL teams in federal court. Per the announcement, NFL teams that are currently reducing worker compensation benefits must cease immediately.

The decision was made by Judge Paul Crotty in the Southern District of New York.

“While the NFLPA won an earlier ruling on this issue, teams and owners ignored the decision in workers compensation cases around the country,” the release from the NFLPA reads. “The Federal Court found this to be unlawful and has ordered teams to continue paying these former players the injury benefits to which they are entitled.

“Workers compensation is a significant benefit for former players who suffered severe injuries during their playing days. The NFLPA brought this case to protect those men and to force NFL teams and owners to live up to their obligations to the game’s greats.”

No citations to players affected were made and the NFLPA didn’t name teams that may have attempted to short-change those who were awarded claims.

UPDATED: The NFL didn't take long to respond to this, basically claiming the NFLPA was being inaccurate. Here is what the league said in response:

“The NFLPA’s statements regarding the court’s ruling are completely inaccurate. The federal court decision issued last week concerned only the question of the proper calculation of workers compensation benefits received by NFL players who also have received from their clubs injury protection payments under the recently expired CBA. The court ruled that a prior arbitration decision on how such offsets should be calculated under the NFL Player Contract should be enforced. The NFL clubs have fully abided by that decision. Contrary to the NFLPA’s statement, there was no finding by the federal court of any ‘unlawful’ conduct or any finding that an NFL club has failed to pay workers compensation benefits due to players under state law. It should also be noted that this subject was extensively discussed in the recent CBA negotiations that were abruptly terminated by the NFLPA.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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