NEW YORK -- A special master is hearing complaints from the players union that the NFL improperly re-negotiated network TV contracts.
Stephen Burbank is expected to rule on the issue this month, with both sides allowed to appeal.
The complaint alleges the NFL structured the contracts so it would be guaranteed money even if there were a lockout in 2011 -- while not maximizing revenue from other seasons when the league would have to share that income with players.
The union says that violates a 17-year-old agreement between the sides that stipulates the league must make good-faith efforts to maximize revenue for players.
Although the NFLPA says the league will receive $4 billion in TV revenue this year even if no games are played, the NFL argues that its TV contracts normally "have protected the league against the possibility that games might be lost."