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Hall of Fame sweetens the pot for customers who attended canceled game

In another twist in the lawsuit against the NFL for the Hall of Fame game cancellation, Roger Goodell may have to submit cell phone to show whether or not he had knowledge of everything.

The NFL apparently won’t be accepting the offer to settle the pending lawsuit over the cancellation of the Hall of Fame Game.

On Thursday, the Hall of Fame -- undoubtedly spurred by the litigation filed a week ago -- announced an enhanced refund policy, which gives ticketholders more than the face value of their tickets.

The press release, which gratuitously points out that the Hall of Fame is a “501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation” (so was the league office until recently), says that ticketholders will receive the face value of their tickets along with “all processing, shipping and handling fees, pre-paid parking purchased through the Hall of Fame, pre-sale reservation fees, and one night of hotel accommodations to eligible fans, subject to appropriate review, approval, and verification.”

The Hall of Fame also is offering four admission tickets to the museum to be used once any time during the next five years; a commemorative photo of the Hall of Fame Class of 2016 along with their fellow Hall of Fame members taken on the front steps of the museum; a copy of the 2016-17 Pro Football Hall of Fame Yearbook; the right, before the general public, to purchase a ticket for a future Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony or Pro Football Hall of Fame Game for one year in any of the next five years; and a 30-percent discount for the purchase of any merchandise from the museum’s online store.

Here’s the catch -- and of course there’s a catch. Although not mentioned in the press release, anyone who accepts the new offer will sacrifice his or her potential claims under the pending lawsuit. “If you accept the Reimbursement Plan the HOF has extended to you, you will be releasing all of the claims asserted or which could be asserted in the lawsuit and will not be permitted to participate in any way or receive anything that might be obtained in the lawsuit,” the new refund policy states at its online home page.

So, like it did with the Super Bowl XLV ticket fiasco, the Hall of Fame/NFL has opted to make a direct settlement pitch to ticketholders after the filing of a lawsuit, even though at this point any settlement offer should be made to the lawyer representing the class.

On one hand, it’s good that the Hall of Fame/NFL has tried to make things right. (And if you think the Hall of Fame and not the NFL came up with this plan, I’ve got some beachfront land in Canton you may want to buy.) On the other hand, it happened only after suit was filed -- and the offer still won’t make some fans truly whole. On the third hand (I didn’t specify the type of animal I was using for this), it still may end up costing the league a lot more than the $450-per-ticketholder offer made earlier this week by Michael Avenatti, especially when considering the legal fees to be expended by the league and the eventual settlement/judgment paid to those who don’t accept the offer.