SBD/March 3, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Labor Watch: Owners Unified Against Doty, Believe They Can't Get Fair Shake

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NFL has not yet made a decision on whether to appeal Judge Doty's ruling
About the "only thing that NFL owners seem unified by is that they don't want to deal with federal judge David Doty anymore," according to Jason Cole of YAHOO SPORTS. Doty's ruling Tuesday, which "took away the owners' ability to get 'lockout insurance' in the form of advanced payments on the NFL television contracts, was unilaterally seen by owners as a sign that they will never get a fair shake in Doty's court, which oversees labor issues for the NFL." One owner said yesterday, "Unless you see some kind of significant shift, I think you're going to see us play this out. You think we were surprised by what Doty did? We expected that. That's how everything has gone with him. We never win a decision with him. Enough is enough." Cole writes of the CBA talks, "Any way you examine the situation, the immediate future is going to be run by lawyers, not by players and owners." A source said, "You're going to have an appeal on Doty's latest decision, a fight over the union's ability to decertify and lawsuits. It's the kind of stuff that drives everybody crazy because you have no idea when things are going to be decided or what the decisions could look like" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/3). NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello said that the league "had not made a decision on whether to appeal" Doty's ruling. Aiello said the ruling "doesn't impact the clubs' plans for 2011, and so just move on" (USA TODAY, 3/3).

MAN IN THE MIDDLE: The AP's Krawczynski & Campbell offer a profile of Doty, who "for more than two decades ... has been at the forefront of collective bargaining for the nation's biggest and most popular sport, making him arguably as influential" as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Patriots Owner Robert Kraft or Colts QB Peyton Manning. Doty's rulings "have rankled the owners," but "attorneys and others who know him well say Doty is one of the fairest judges around" (AP, 3/3).
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