Former Vikings receiver Koren Robinson has filed a grievance against the team seeking a significant portion of the three-year, $12.7 million contract he signed in March.
Attorney David Cornwell of DNK Cornwell said he and the NFL Players Association filed the non-injury grievance last week and are awaiting a response from the NFL.
Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, the NFL has seven days from the date the grievance was filed to respond.
An NFL spokesman declined comment, but an NFLPA spokesman confirmed the grievance was filed Sept. 27. If the rules stipulate seven business days, the NFL's response should come today.
"There are a collection of reasons," Cornwell said when asked why Robinson filed the grievance. "But the thrust of it was, his release was a punitive act, undertaken in violation of the collective bargaining agreement. The team punished him by waiving him for his arrest, and Koren's conduct is subject to discipline, if appropriate, under the NFL's personal conduct penalty.
"So the Vikings invaded the exclusive jurisdiction of the commissioner."
A Vikings spokesman declined comment.
In early March, Robinson signed a unique three-year, $12.7 million contract. Robinson received an immediate $1 million roster bonus, as well as a $100,000 workout bonus. Then, in addition to his $600,000 base salary, Robinson could earn an additional $81,250 for every game he was on the roster, even if he was injured.
The Vikings structured Robinson's deal to protect themselves given his previous track record with substance abuse-related incidents and suspensions.
Robinson was arrested Aug. 15 after a high-speed car chase that ended near the Minnesota State University Mankato campus, where the team holds training camp, and he was charged the next day with a felony count of fleeing a police officer, two misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree driving while impaired, and misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, careless driving and driving after his North Carolina license was suspended.
The Vikings released him 11 days later.
Cornwell said the Vikings cited two reasons in the notice of termination: "In the judgment of the club, your skill or performance has been unsatisfactory as compared with that of other players competing for positions on the club's roster." And, "You have engaged in personal conduct which, in the reasonable judgment of the club, adversely affects or reflects on the club."
"We believe it's a difficult decision to justify even on skill and conduct, based on comments the club made on Koren's significance to the team," Cornwell said. "Our view is, they simply were punishing him."
Cornwell would not comment on how much of the remaining $11.6 million Robinson is seeking.
But when asked if Robinson was seeking a significant portion, Cornwell said, "Yes."
He declined further comment.
Cornwell said if they cannot meet and resolve the matter with the NFL, then an arbitrator will make a decision. Given the timing of the grievance, the matter might not be resolved until the spring.
Hmmmmm. . .I'm curious to see if leading police from 3 or 4 different jurisdictions on a 100+ MPH car chase. . .while intoxicated, mind you. . .falls under the heading of "conduct which adversely affects or reflects on the club."
I'd be willing to guess that it does.