Article 14, Section 1 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the National Football League (NFL) and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) does not apply to players providing or offering to provide financial incentives to injure opponents. In this case, the NFL Commissioner suspended four New Orleans Saints players for allegedly receiving monetary rewards from a player-funded pool when in-game opponents were injured. The NFLPA challenged the authority of the Commissioner to impose this discipline and demanded arbitration pursuant to Article 14, Section 1 of the CBA, which mandates arbitration for any alleged undisclosed agreements concerning player compensation. The arbitrator found that it lacked jurisdiction because Article 14, Section 1 does not extend to agreements among players to reward on-field conduct but only applies to undisclosed compensation agreements between players and Club personnel.
See NFL Players Ass’n v. NFL (June 4, 2012), https://images.nflplayers.com/mediaResources/files/Burbank_Opinion_6_4_12.pdf; see also NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, Art. 14 § 1 (stating that “A Club and a player may not, at any time, enter into undisclosed agreements of any kind”).
(Development authored by Mike Fallings)