Maryland Can’t Pass the Buck on Redskins Claim

     (CN) – A former Washington Redskins football player can collect workers’ compensation in Maryland though his team practices in Virginia, an appeals court ruled.
     Darnerian McCants played wide receiver for the Redskins from 2002 in 2004. He was hurt six times in the latter two years with the team. Four injuries occurred during games in 2003, and two occurred during practice in 2004.
     Despite their name, the Redskins have a minimal presence in Washington, D.C. The NFL outfit is incorporated in Maryland, and home games are played at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. But the Redskins maintain corporate offices in Ashburn, Va., and also have a practice facility there.
     McCants brought six claims before the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission, but that entity green-lit just one claim pertaining to a home-game injury.
     A Prince George’s County judge affirmed the commission’s decision, but the Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversed Thursday.
     “The purpose of a football player’s employment with a professional football team is to play in professional football games,” Judge Mary Ellen Barbera wrote for a seven-member panel. “It is not, as petitioner seemingly contends, to practice.”
     “Put another way, professional football organizations do not sign ‘skilled football players’ so those players can lift weights and watch game film,” she added. “The players are signed, and required to attend practice in Virginia, so they can perform well in games to achieve wins and earn revenue for the team.”
     In a related opinion, the court also upheld the workers’ compensation claim of former Redskins punter Tom Tupa, who was hurt during a pregame warm-up at FedEx Field. The Maryland Appeals Court declared void a forum-selection clause that would have moved Tupa’s case to Virginia.

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