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Cincinnati Bengals v. Bergey

United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
453 F.Supp. 129 (1974)


Bill Bergey (defendant) was a professional football player who played for the National Football League’s (NFL) Cincinnati Bengals (plaintiff) under a non-guaranteed contract in 1974 for slightly less than $40,000 per year. The Bengals had an option for Bergey’s services for the 1975 season. In April 1974, Bergey signed a no-cut, three-year contract with the newly-formed Virginia Ambassadors (defendant) of the World Football League (WFL) (defendant) for $125,000 per year plus a $150,000 signing bonus. The Ambassadors contract was set to begin with the 1976 football season, but would be accelerated if the Bengals released Bergey for any reason. After learning of the Ambassadors’ contract with Bergey, the Bengals offered him a new five-year contract for a total of $400,000. Bergey declined and the Bengals sued Bergey, the Ambassadors, and the WFL on the grounds that Bergey’s future services agreement with the WFL team undermined and interfered with the Bengals’ rights under their existing contract with Bergey and sought an injunction to enjoin enforcement of the Ambassadors contract.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Porter, J.)

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