And the inability of the NFL and the players’ union to agree on anything continues.
The league believes that, when clock strikes 12 on the early morning of March 4 and the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires, the NFL will forever escape what it believes to be the biased rulings of Judge David Doty.
As to any lingering claims or issues, such as collusion and “lockout insurance,” the expiration of the labor deal doesn’t provide the league a silver bullet. Beyond that, however, we’re told that the union believes the mere expiration of the agreement won’t terminate Doty’s role when it comes to interpreting the next deal.
It’s yet another attempted pressure point for an organization that doesn’t currently have much leverage. And it’s not clear how this skirmish will play out.
The current labor deal actually was the settlement agreement of the antitrust lawsuit filed by the players after the failed 1987 strike and decertification of the union. With the league sufficiently chagrined by Doty’s rulings to try to have him removed for leaning too far toward the players’ interests, it’s no surprise that the league believes/hopes that with the agreement expiring they’ll be able to finally get him off the case. But the union easily can claim that the settlement agreement governs the relationship between the parties not until any one version of the agreement expires, but until the two sides agree that the settlement agreement no longer governs the relationship.
So, basically, it’s yet another area on which the two sides will agree to disagree.