The NFL took a loss this weekend.
Specifically, the Miami Dolphins management.
Which, in essence, means it a loss for the league brass.
NFL Special Master Stephen Burbank, the University of Pennsylvania law professor, ruled that the Miami Dolphins can't regain signing bonuses of $8,000 and $7,000 given to former undrafted free agent tight end Jared Bronson and offensive tackle SirVincent Rogers.
The two players quit shortly after being signed as undrafted rookie free agents.
The league made its highly opinionated announcement on its labor website.
Burbank found that the forfeiture provisions in the collective bargaining agreement prevented the NFL from "enforcement of contract promises by two rookie free agents in 2008 to repay their signing bonuses if they failed to perform."
As noted by the league, Bronson, a former Central Washington player, and Rogers, a former University of Houston player, quit after signing their deals. And Bronson didn't report to camp with Rogers quitting after five days.
"The CBA provisions on which the union relied are essentially the same as those involved in the Michael Vick and Plaxico Burress cases," the league said. "Professor Burbank ruled in favor of the NFL in the Vick case, but Judge David Doty overturned the decision. Judge Doty maintains oversight under the terms of the 1993 settlement that resulted in the current CBA system. In this most recent case, the Special Master ruled for the union based on prior interpretations of the CBA, refusing to enforce the players’ contract promises that they freely negotiated."
Here's what NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash said about the victory for the players.
“The CBA was never intended to allow players who violate their contracts, commit crimes, or quit on their teams to keep bonus money paid to them in good faith by the clubs, whether it’s $7,000 or much more,” Pash said. “This is money that should be available to rookies and veterans who actually perform, but the union has continually sought rulings that allow players who breach their contracts to take the money and run.
"The illogical and unintended consequences of these rulings are one of the many reasons why the current CBA needs to be changed. We are committed to addressing this issue in our negotiations with the NFLPA and reaching a CBA that prevents these kinds of results in the future.”
Regardless of Pash's opinion, though, the ruling is expected to stand.