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SBD/March 7, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies
NFL Labor Watch: League Says Doty Ruling Did Not Cause Extension
Published March 7, 2011
DAVID VS. GOLIATH: In N.Y., Bart Hubbuch cites league sources as saying that the owners "held off on a lockout and are much more open to a new CBA because of their certainty the dispute will eventually end up in front" of Doty, "whose rulings often favor the players." Considering a possible antitrust lawsuit from the NFLPA "would be heard by Doty and that any damages he might award would be tripled under federal law, it's no wonder the owners' tone has suddenly softened" (N.Y. POST, 3/7). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Matthew Futterman wrote, "By now one thing has become clear in the National Football League labor showdown: NFL owners want to do whatever they can to avoid having this fight land in front of an 81-year old judge in Minnesota named David Doty" (WSJ.com, 3/4). NFL player agent Ralph Cindrich: "Judge Doty knows them inside and out and he doesn't have a high opinion at all of NFL management after all these years of dealing with them" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 3/5). In Boston, Ron Borges noted the owners want Doty "out because they believe he is seldom inclined to agree with their point of view." The union "would argue that’s because Doty follows the law, yet it may have to sacrifice his protection in order to close a deal that avoids the union having to decertify and file another anti-trust suit against a league arming to lock it out." If the CBA expires "or a new one replaces it, the owners would argue Doty is no longer empowered to rule over their actions." The NFLPA "might be reluctant to allow that, but ownership is pushing hard for the change and is rumored to be willing to do what they always do in such a circumstance -- buy their way out of a troubling circumstance" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/5). ESPN.com's Michael Wilbon wrote it seems a "sense of cooperation and even fear now exists in these negotiations," after the players "unquestionably gained a measure of leverage" with Doty's ruling last week (ESPN.com, 3/5).