The NFL Players Association filed a lawsuit on Wednesday that accused NFL owners and the league of collusion during the 2010 NFL season.
The complaint describes a conspiracy in which teams "imposed a secret $123 million per-club salary cap for that uncapped 2010 season. Filed in in the United States District Court of Minnesota, it alleges that the league and owners "acted illegally and solely by self-interest, unconstrained by their clear and unambiguous SSA obligations."
"When the rules are broken in a way that hurts the game, we have an obligation to act. We cannot standby when we now know that the owners conspired to collude," NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement.
Added NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth: "Our union recently learned that there was a secret salary cap agreement in an uncapped year. The complaint today is our effort to fulfill our duty to every NFL player. They deserve to know, above all, the facts and the truth about this conspiracy."
New York Giants owner John Mara, who also serves as the Chair of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee, is cited in the complaint as publicly confirming that the league told teams to restrict players' salaries in the uncapped year.
In response to the complaint, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said: "The filing of these claims is prohibited by the Collective Bargaining Agreement and separately, by an agreement signed by the players' attorneys last August. The claims have absolutely no merit and we fully expect them to be dismissed.
"We continue to look forward to focusing on the future of the game rather than grievances of a prior era that have already been resolved."