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Commissioner’s testimony on NFL relocation policy creates another problem for NFL in Rams case

Fans might have forgotten about Matthew Stafford amid the Lions' dysfunction, but now that he's on a contender, Chris Simms thinks he's ready for big things -- and has him at No. 8 on Simms' Top 40 QB Countdown.

Earlier, we pointed out Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners must surrender their personal financial information as part of the lawsuit regarding the relocation of the Rams. That decision, and the reasons for it, are not good for the NFL.

Also not good for the NFL is the fact that, at a time when the league hopes to get the case thrown out of court based on the argument that its relocation policy is voluntary, the plaintiffs in the relocation litigation introduced testimony from Goodell that clearly and directly contradicts the league’s position.

Last month, the league filed a motion for summary judgment based in part on the argument that the relocation policy represents a voluntary set of guidelines. On Monday (via Randy Karraker of 101 ESPN), the lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit pointed out that Commissioner Roger Goodell has testified otherwise.

Via Karraker, the lawyers representing the plaintiffs asked Goodell if the relocation policy is “mandatory.” Goodell said in response, “Counselor, it says right here” that they are.

From the perspective of a corporate defendant, civil cases routinely get over-lawyered. The firm charging by the hour for the efforts of the entire team of lawyers assigned to the case have no incentive to be brief or incisive. Also, the fact that they’ll receive a passive-aggressive “did you argue this?” and “did you argue that?” grilling from colleagues at their law firms provides another reason to argue anything and everything that can be argued.

That said, it’s important that the arguments made find some plausible support in the facts. If the NFL claims the relocation policy is voluntary and the Commissioner of the NFL has admitted under oath that it’s not, that’s a problem. A big problem. The kind of problem that undermines the credibility of every claim the NFL is making in the case.

Indeed, if the league can’t be taken at its word on such a basic and clear question, what if anything that it says in that case can be believed?