NFLPA files reply in collusion lawsuit

Updated: August 24, 2012, 1:58 PM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

The NFL Players Association has accused the league and its owners of punishing the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys for failing to "fully honor the owners' illegal conspiracy to collude during the uncapped 2010 season."

The NFLPA made that accusation in a reply brief to the NFL's motion to defeat the players' collusion case against NFL owners, the players' association announced Friday.

The accusations stem from salary-cap reductions assessed against the Cowboys and Redskins this offseason. The Redskins lost $36 million over two years, and the Cowboys were penalized $10 million over that span.

The penalties were due to heavily front-loaded contracts signed by former Washington defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and Dallas receiver Miles Austin during the uncapped season.

"The filing of these claims is prohibited by the Collective Bargaining Agreement and separately by an agreement signed by the players' attorneys last August," a statement released by the NFL later Friday read. "The claims have absolutely no merit and we fully expect them to be dismissed. On multiple occasions, the players and their representatives specifically dismissed all claims, known or unknown, whether pending or not, regarding alleged violations of the 2006 CBA and the related settlement agreement. We continue to look forward to focusing on the future of the game rather than grievances of a prior era that have already been resolved.

"And so it's crystal clear: There was no collusion. There was no agreement. These claims are totally unfounded."

An arbitrator ruled in favor of the league in May, dismissing grievances filed by the Redskins and Cowboys. The teams responded by releasing a joint statement announcing that they would abide by the arbitrator's decision to dismiss.

Oral arguments in the NFLPA's case against the NFL are scheduled to be heard Sept. 6 by Judge David Doty in Minneapolis.

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