The NFL Players Association conceded yesterday that it can't stop the Washington Redskins who have refused to pay their dues from playing against the Dallas Cowboys tomorrow, but is now attempting to get them suspended for Friday's season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.
Doug Allen, assistant executive director of the NFLPA, announced yesterday that the union has filed a non-injury grievance against the Redskins with arbitrator Herbert Fishgold.
The grievance was a response to the Redskins' announcement Thursday that they won't suspend players for not paying their $5,000 annual dues because the team is located in Virginia, which has a right-to-work law.
Allen contends the team is located in the District of Columbia because the Redskins play their games there.
Allen also announced that the 37 Redskins who have refused to pay their dues are the only players around the league in non-right-to-work states who refused to pay their dues. That means no players will be suspended this weekend.
Allen said the expedited hearing will be held Tuesday and he expects a decision before Friday's game.
If the arbitrator rules in the NFLPA's favor, the Redskins players would be forced to pay their dues or be suspended.
If all 37 players refused to pay and were suspended, the Redskins would presumably not have enough players left to play the game, and it could be forfeited.
Allen was confident the union will win the arbitration because the U.S. District Court of Appeals has ruled in workmen's compensation cases that the Redskins are a D.C. team. The Redskins contended in those cases that they're a Virginia team because Virginia workmen's compensation laws aren't as generous as D.C. laws.
"They get paid for playing the game, and the games are played in the District of Columbia," Allen said.
General manager Charley Casserly said the Redskins have received notice of the grievance and will maintain the stance that they are located in Virginia. He declined to speculate on the possibility that they could forfeit the Vikings game.
Allen said he doesn't expect the team to prevail, but he said if it did, it could jeopardize future workmen's compensation hearings D.C. for Redskins players. He said former quarterback Doug Williams was awarded $1 million in one hearing.
"It's crazy for the players to be siding with the club on this issue," Allen said.
The Redskins are refusing to pay their dues as a protest against the collective bargaining agreement that was implemented earlier this year.
The Redskins don't like the salary cap because it'll force them to cut back on their spending, but Allen contends the cap will help the players have more opportunities because some of the low-paying teams will be forced to spend more. The league must spend 58 percent of its gross revenue on the players, and each team must spend at least 50 percent, according to the agreement.
* In another matter, Casserly said that Ricky Sanders hasn't signed his contract for a two-year extension after the two sides had reached a verbal deal. Sanders must sign it by Jan. 3 if his 1993 salary increase isn't to be counted against the cap. Sanders, who negotiated the contract himself, is still going over some of the details of the contract.