The NFL is trying to make a statement this offseason by making it easier for players to report domestic violence, but the league is also facing the threat of a federal lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed by the National Football League Players Association on Monday, accuses the league of engaging in a scheme to protect players by keeping players in the dark about the extent of the violence that takes place in their communities.
The NFLPA claims the league has failed to protect player privacy in the wake of recent allegations of domestic violence.
It also alleges that the league’s decision to reward players who beat their partners is a violation of their constitutional rights to due process and equal protection under the law.
In addition to the NFLPA, former players have also sued the league, accusing it of a pattern of retaliation against former players who spoke out against its behavior.
NFLPA president DeMaurice Smith, the team’s general counsel, and the NFL have vehemently denied the allegations and have argued that they were handled appropriately by the league office.
But the suit seeks to overturn the league and put a stop to what the players call an “attempt to cover up the truth.”
“We are seeking justice and transparency in this matter,” the players said in a statement.
“The NFL is an organization whose players are our family, and our players have been subjected to the most horrific abuse that this industry can provide, and it is time for the NFL to stand up to its own players, not its own league.”
The suit also cites multiple former players’ reports that the NFL has failed its players by not holding players accountable for the conduct of their teammates, coaches, or front office employees who have been implicated in domestic violence incidents.
“We know that the current system of retaliation is an unacceptable failure and that the conduct that took place at the heart of the lawsuit should not have occurred,” Smith said in the statement.
The players have called for the league to be held accountable for what they say are unfair and punitive measures taken by the NFL against players who have reported domestic violence to police, such as the suspensions and fines that the union claims have been imposed on players who did not file a report.
The suit comes at a time when the NFL is already under fire for its handling of domestic abuse.
In May, the league issued a memo to all employees stating that players were to report their domestic violence experiences to police.
The memo was quickly followed by a public relations campaign that was widely seen as a way to try to deflect attention from the allegations of violence against players.
But that attempt backfired, as the memo prompted a wave of backlash from players who were left wondering why they weren’t receiving the same treatment.
The letter also suggested that players who report their assaults to police should be considered “victims.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was also the league executive vice president of football operations, said the league will continue to support and protect its players.
“In order to protect our players, we will continue our efforts to provide support and support programs for players who need help in dealing with domestic violence,” Goodell said in May.
“While the NFL was not responsible for the decisions made by individual players to file a complaint, we were aware of those decisions and were fully supportive of them.”
The league also responded to the lawsuit, saying that the complaint is “completely without merit” and that it is “premature to conclude” whether the players’ allegations are true.
The union has also accused the NFL of retaliating against former athletes who have spoken out about domestic violence issues.
The team, in its statement, also said that it has taken action to prevent and address issues that arise from the actions of other players.
The league did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.