The NFL has been hit with several allegations of cheating over the years.
Last year, the league settled with former players who alleged the league paid them for nothing, and the league has since fired more than 50 players in the wake of the Wells Report.
While the league’s response to the investigation has been swift, the NFLPA’s latest allegations are far more serious.
The league is alleging that its employees were paid in cash and that the NFL “took advantage of its position” by concealing the nature of the payments.
According to the NFL, it’s the first time the league is accusing employees of wrongdoing, and is “the first time a major league sports franchise has taken this position.”
As The Verge points out, this isn’t the first such allegation the NFL has made.
In 2012, the New York Times reported that the league was “the world’s largest sports retailer” and that it “was the first major sports organization to pay athletes in cash for performance-enhancing drugs.”
The NFLPA told reporters that it had filed the charges in response to “an alleged fraudulent scheme in which the NFL used its position as the largest sports retail retailer to defraud the public.”
The lawsuit alleges that the alleged scheme was implemented in 2010 and that in 2014, the union had “been paid approximately $1.4 million for performance enhancement services and $2.6 million in performance-based compensation to players and coaches.”
The lawsuit also alleges that in 2015, the club “used its position of power to pay out performance-related compensation and benefits to players who participated in the NFL’s ‘Performance Enhancing Substances’ program.”
The league has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, but has also been accused of misleading consumers and even taking advantage of players with disabilities to promote its products.
In 2018, the organization was also criticized for the practice of “sorting out” players by race, with players being grouped by “red,” “black” and “Asian” players.
While the NFL claims that the union has already paid back some of its players, this latest allegation seems to be a further sign of the league continuing to pay its employees more money.
As Bleacher Nation reported in March, the players union has made a series of claims about the NFL that range from improper payments to “dodgy practices.”
In March, for example, the AFL-CIO alleged that the owners of NFL teams used “dubious means” to make payments to players.
The AFL-CE, which represents the NFL and the NFL players, said the payments “were made in order to protect the integrity of the NFL.”
The AFL-CCI claimed that the payment scheme was “designed to increase the earnings of the owners and the salaries of the players,” and that “the owners and NFL executives knew of the illegal scheme.”
The union has also made claims about players who were suspended for violating the league-sanctioned substance-abuse policy.
The NFL is also suing the NFL Players Association, claiming that it violated the collective bargaining agreement in 2014 by attempting to interfere with a settlement over players’ claims of improper payouts.