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NFL Seeks to Dismiss Hedge Fund Lawsuit

Date: Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Author: HFN Daily Report

The National Football League and the National Football League Player's Association are asking that the lawsuit filed against them by a few current and former NFL players be dismissed on the grounds that the players are responsible for their own finances.

In June, a group of professional football players including Steve Atwater and Blaine Bishop filed a suit claiming the NFLPA's financial adviser program recommended they invest in Kirk Wright's ill-fated International Management Associates (IMA). Regulators have accused Wright of raising up to $185 million, hiding losses and losing nearly the whole amount. The players lost a collective $20 million in the hedge fund.

In the suit, the players said they want to fix the problem and make sure it never happens again. Other current and former NFL players who handed money over to Wright include Rod Smith, Terrell Davis and Ray Crockett.

Players contend they asked an NFL official to perform a background check on Wright, and they were told there were no red flags that would raise any concerns. Wright currently faces five counts of fraud and is also being sued by the fund's investors.

The NFL and NFLPA filed papers last week in an Atlanta federal court seeking to dismiss the lawsuit. The NFL claims that the players' collective bargaining agreement, which they all signed, indicates that the players alone are responsible for their financial decisions.