NFL Withheld From Players: “Arbitrator” Concludes NFL Withheld $120 Million from Players Over Last Three Seasons – Details

Updated: February 24, 2016
NFL Withheld From Players: Arbitrator Concludes NFL Withheld $120 Million from Players Over Last Three Seasons - Details

NFL Reportedly Withheld Millions in Shared Revenue from Players.

The NFL will return the $120 million it withheld from its players over the course of three years, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Matthew Futterman.

Last week, arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled that the NFL’s owners were not forthcoming about how much money, taken from the league’s ticket revenue, was to be put into a pool distributed amongst players over the last three years, an error that “had the effect of keeping about $50 million in salary out of players’ pockets.”

“The NFL Players’ Association, which discovered the discrepancy during an ongoing audit of league finances, filed a grievance on the matter in January,” the Journal reports.

According to the most recent collective bargaining agreement, the players receive 40 percent of all local revenues from ticket sales, 45 percent of sponsorship money and other income from and NFL Network, and 55 percent of monies from the league’s generous media arrangements.

The union, through their lawyers and accountants, found the NFL had created a new category of incoming revenues which they claimed were exempt from their revenue-sharing deal, a category they alleged, and arbitrator Burbank agreed, is not included in their CBA.

“Burbank ordered the NFL to return the money to the shared revenue pool immediately, which, if the union’s calculations are correct, should increase the salary cap for the 2016 season by about $1.5 million per team,” the Journal adds.

Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the NFL, responded to the decision in an email to the Journal, saying Burbank’s ruling was the resolution of a “technical accounting issue under the CBA involving the funding of stadium construction and renovation projects.”