ATLANTA (AP) -- An NFL official says that an arbitrator has decided to let the league's salary cap reductions against the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins stand.
NFL executive vice president Jeffrey Pash said Tuesday at owners' meetings in Atlanta that arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled in the league's favor in the salary cap dispute.
According to a further article in the Washington Post, this means that Burbank accepted the league argument that the dispute is not suitable for arbitration because the NFLPA signed off on the cap penalties. Arbitration under the CBA was to resolve disputes between the owners and the players in the NFL, and since the dispute over the salary cap hit was between different owners, the arbitration clause did not apply. This should mean that no ruling was actually made on whether the move was a violation of labor law or other regulation, just that it was not suitable for the arbitrator to rule on.
Dallas owner Jerry Jones and Washington owner Dan Snyder now have only the "nuclear option" of suing the NFL in court. This is a potentially hazardous move, since it would open up the entire question of collusion and could lead to antitrust questions and other unintended consequences that could damage the NFL as a whole. The teams will have to decide whether the $10 million and $36 million in penalties that Dallas and Washington were assessed are worth the unknown risks that may arise from suing the NFL. A source close to the Cowboys has said it was unlikely that the team would join in a legal challenge suing the league.