NFL Players’ Bid to Reopen Revenue Suit Weighed by Judge

A bid by National Football League players to reopen a 2011 settlement of a lawsuit over revenue is being considered by a federal judge following arguments in the case in Minneapolis.

U.S. District Judge David S. Doty is weighing a request by the players to revisit last year’s settlement of claims over the way the league shared revenue with athletes. The players, claiming the league hid a $123 million per-club salary cap for the 2010 season, want $3 billion in damages.

“We are here because of a startling, astonishing revelation,” Jeffrey Kessler, a lawyer for the players, told the judge today at the start of a 90-minute hearing. “It never occurred to us that there was collusion over a secret salary cap.”

Gregg Levy of Covington & Burling, a lawyer for the league, told the judge that players are seeking to reinterpret the terms of a settlement that has turned out to disappoint them. Doty said he would take the players’ request under advisement.

The broader lawsuit was brought by the late Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Famer Reggie White. The suit initially resulted in a 1992 settlement and later in a 2011 settlement, which headed off a threatened lockout.

The players claim that the owners violated an earlier agreement that required uncapped salaries for the 2010 season.

The case is White v. National Football League, 92-cv-00906, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (Minneapolis).

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