As expected, Arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled in favor of the National Football League in the grievance filed by the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys. I would think most analysts and fans who have followed the salary cap penalty story anticipated this result. All Burbank did was dismiss the grievance filed under the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. The main issue likely revolves around the expired 2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
So what is next?
Pro Football Talk noted in the 12 page opinion that Burbank provided distinct language about where the Redskins and Cowboys real remedy may lie. But Burbank hints at what could come next. Near the conclusion of his ruling, Burbank says that, “if the Clubs ‘are dissatisfied with the representation of [their] multi-employer association,’ they retain whatever ‘remedies [they may have] against the association under contract and agency law.’” So what does that mean? It means precisely what many of us have written about prior to the filing of the grievance. If the Redskins and Cowboy truly want justice from the illegal action of the NFL and NFLPA, they will have to resort to the Courts. It is deemed by many to be the 'nuclear' option. Agency and contract issues surrounding the 2006 CBA may be the asserted legal conclusions, but the issue for the Court would ultimately be collusion. Looking at the facts of the approval and the fact the NFLPA was muscled into approval of an action from an expired CBA years later,a finding on collusion seems more likely than likely not. If the Court indeed does find Collusion, there would be significant ramifications against the NFL, NFLPA and the future CBA.
Then again, we all knew this. All the grievance filing did was put that decision off until, well, now. Now comes the real decisions. Will the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys move forward on civil action against the NFL? How far will Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones go?