Skip to content

Judge Doty sides with players in “lockout insurance” case

doty1

The NFLPA previously had little or no leverage in labor negotiations with the union.

Key word:  Previously.

Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Judge David Doty has ruled that the NFL violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement by striking deals with television networks that require ongoing payments to the league during a work stoppage.

Judge Doty has ordered another hearing to determine whether the players’ remedy will be financial damages or an injunction preventing the league from pocketing the money during a lockout.

The ruling comes the night before a full day of mediation in Washington, D.C., little more than two days before the expiration of the current labor deal.  Though the league surely will balk at the ruling and vow to appeal the decision to a higher court, the possible inability of men like Jerry Jones to pay the mortgage on places like the Jerry Dome suddenly makes it much harder for the league to withstand a lockout.

And while this will do nothing to soften the league’s insistence that the next labor deal should be Doty-free, we think Doty made the right ruling.  Once the league agreed to pay the players 59.6 cents of every dollar made (after $1 billion comes off the top), the league assumed a duty to maximize revenues.

At a minimum, the league assumed a duty not to trade the ability to generate more revenue for a contractual term that benefits the owners — and that hurts the players.

That said, the impact of the ruling on the talks is unknown.  It will be important for the league to make concessions in light of the decision, and for the union not to overreach.

Murphy has forwarded a copy of Judge Doty’s 28-page ruling, from which we’ll be lifting any interesting quotes.

Permalink 36 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, Top Stories, Union
36 Responses to “Judge Doty sides with players in “lockout insurance” case”
  1. hobartbaker says: Mar 1, 2011 6:45 PM

    “Dotty” is shown in this 1985 photograph when he first became a judge.

  2. 7370355q says: Mar 1, 2011 6:51 PM

    Could I get a copy of the 28-page ruling? I need something to help me get to sleep. However I really hope this leads to an increased possibility of a new cba being agreed upon sooner rather than later.

  3. skoobyfl says: Mar 1, 2011 6:52 PM

    Jammed.

  4. brooklynniner19 says: Mar 1, 2011 6:53 PM

    Well .. I guess we can all look forward to basketball and baseball season to feed our sports hunger. =/

  5. cappa662 says: Mar 1, 2011 6:54 PM

    If there is no televised football, why should anyone get paid. Thumbs up for Judge Doty.

  6. cdjones34 says: Mar 1, 2011 6:59 PM

    I really hope this gives the NFLPA enough balancing leverage to really get some groundwork done for a new CBA. Please do not ruin this great sport!! Be realistic and GET ER DONE

  7. Spoonthis says: Mar 1, 2011 6:59 PM

    Anyone else get the impression that Jerry Jones ran over this guys dog years ago?

  8. nickynick04 says: Mar 1, 2011 7:01 PM

    Doty has ruled that the NFL violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement by striking deals with television networks that require ongoing payments to the league during a work stoppage……………………………

    A No brainer !
    Now Jerry Buck Up !
    The owners are SOOO Greedy !

  9. stataddict says: Mar 1, 2011 7:08 PM

    Once the union decertifies later this week, this ruling won’t make any difference as a remedy won’t be available because the unit seeking the remedy no longer exists.

  10. 1pjw says: Mar 1, 2011 7:10 PM

    The idea of “maximizing revenues” is not the wisest course to take. Overall long term health should be the goal but lawyers love to espouse the “duty” to get every cent possible. This “duty” to both sides is a great excuse to promote both sides greed without taking any responsibilty. Sickening

  11. wtfru2 says: Mar 1, 2011 7:11 PM

    What if the league appeals the ruling and the current CBA expires? Doty is no longer a burr in their saddle after the 4th and it will take months for an appeal.

  12. FoozieGrooler says: Mar 1, 2011 7:11 PM

    Good.
    That was a slimy move by the owners…

  13. wellthatsaloadofcrap says: Mar 1, 2011 7:12 PM

    I agree it’s the right ruling, big blow to the owners. Hope this makes them work out a deal.

  14. sudzy11 says: Mar 1, 2011 7:17 PM

    I would love it if Doty said that the NFL can have the money but they have to give the players 59.6% of it.

  15. dbnit84 says: Mar 1, 2011 7:20 PM

    Winning!

  16. pluvlaw says: Mar 1, 2011 7:27 PM

    So what you’re telling is that the NFL is basically Allstate?

    Bad faith? Wait…we can’t ever be in bad faith. So what you’ve got $100k in specials and there was only $25k in liability. $8000 is our evaluation of your claim…

    I agree with you, willfully negotiating down your contract partner’s revenue in an effort to protect your own sure seems like bad faith to me. But what do I know, I believe UIM carriers have to actually offer what they believe a claim to be worth.

  17. scytherius says: Mar 1, 2011 7:30 PM

    Excellent. This gives the Union options. They can stay a union and let this drain the owners OR they can decertify and sue under the anti-trust law.

    Wonderful ruling.

  18. pluvlaw says: Mar 1, 2011 7:35 PM

    BTW, this is the difference between the NFLPA having someone like Gene Upshaw in charge and having a trial lawyer like Smith in charge. Smith knows the law and is using it to the players advantage.

  19. randolph32 says: Mar 1, 2011 7:51 PM

    If this doesn’t get the owners moving toward the middle nothing will….

  20. thegreenviking says: Mar 1, 2011 7:57 PM

    Jerry has to hate Minnesota so much. First he hates us due to our old stadium and profit sharing and now this. Kinda funny. (He did give us Herschel so he owes us)

  21. fmwarner says: Mar 1, 2011 7:58 PM

    Something about “maximizing revenues” leaves a poor taste in my mouth, too.

    Lost in the battle over all this money is that everyone involved is so greedy that they don’t have enough even when the price of tickets, concessions, and merchandise have increased exponentially in the last 25 years to the point where the average fan can’t afford to do anything but watch on TV. How much more maximized can these revenues GET?

    The $200 outdoor seats for the recent Super Bowl were the last evidence we needed of the greed involved. McDonald’s is the most popular restaurant chain in the world. I wonder what would happen if they started charging $10 for a cheeseburger.

  22. grimsleeper78 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:35 PM

    I just unfriended the NFL on Facebook!!

  23. lmw18 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:38 PM

    I hope the season gets cancelled

  24. mayfieldroadboy says: Mar 1, 2011 9:08 PM

    I seem to remember when the USSteel workers had “strike insurance”. And if there is a strike, why don’t the football players have insurance; and to insure the payments of debt owed by the NFL owners, insurance is certainly possible. It’s like the optional insurance on your credit cards: your payments will be made when you become unemployed or become too ill to work. You also can have insurance that will pay-off the debt in case of death. What is Doty thinking when he rules that the NFL cannot have strike insurance? Did he consider the possibility of a player having strike insurance…and would he rule that player to be in violation of labor law?

  25. tomcous says: Mar 1, 2011 9:22 PM

    I want to sue the NFL on behalf of all the fans … any chance I could get Doty to preside ?!?

    Let’s get it so we can just play the D@MN Game! …

  26. joerevs300 says: Mar 1, 2011 10:06 PM

    2011-2012 NFL season just went R.I.P.

    And fantasy football degenerates everywhere will have to find something to do with their life.

    Along with Matthew Berry :)

  27. bchampeau says: Mar 1, 2011 10:07 PM

    I have a great idea in this whole ordeal…how about the owners and players decide collectively to SHRINK the pie and pass some of the savings on to the fans. Every year the owners make more, the players make more, and now they’re both fighting for ways to continue to make more in the future. What do the fans get in all of this? We get higher ticket prices every year. We get higher concession costs every year. I remember buying jerseys 10 years ago for $40, now a replica is $75. For the most part fans will continue paying higher prices because we just want to watch football every fall, but I’m pretty sick and tired of hearing how owners and players are agonizing over how to share $9,000,000,000 of revenue. That’s a nine with nine zeros after it. How about giving something back to the people that make this “problem” even exist for both the owners and the players. Listening to a bunch of billionaires argue with a bunch of millionaires on how to divide more money than 99.9% of the population can even fathom is sickening, and despite all this we’ll still show up every Sunday next fall and cheer on both of these groups. I hope they really keep this in mind while they “figure things out.”

  28. Chris Guest says: Mar 1, 2011 10:07 PM

    I’m going to take a wild stab at this but I am going to almost guarantee Judge Doty is not going to be the abritrator between the NFL and the NFLPA after this CBA.

  29. gugurich says: Mar 1, 2011 10:11 PM

    This is great news. The owners were going to play extreme hardball because they had a freaking 4 billion dollar warchest. They probably thought they were so clever too. Hopefully this will upset their plans for a lockout and an agreement can be reached.

  30. dolphan343 says: Mar 1, 2011 10:49 PM

    When did the owners negotiate this television deal that is in question? Last year there was no cap, no ceiling , and no floor. So thereby no guaranteed 60% for the players correct?

  31. alphaq2 says: Mar 1, 2011 11:23 PM

    pluvlaw says:
    Mar 1, 2011 7:35 PM
    BTW, this is the difference between the NFLPA having someone like Gene Upshaw in charge and having a trial lawyer like Smith in charge. Smith knows the law and is using it to the players advantage.

    ==========

    Kevin Mawae said that the deal that Upshaw set up was very good for the players.
    I actually think that the head of the NFLPA, or even just a figure head should be an ex-player. The union will allways have access to plenty of lawyers. When the players voted on a lawyer to head everything, the billionare owners were licking their chops. 32 owners can afford a lot more lawyers than the NFLPA. At least Upshaw demanded respect and the owners were afraid to get “ear wholed” if they got out of line.

    That being said, I hope you’re right and this makes a deal more likely to get done. To me this ruling seems like a way for the owners to sit, wait for the union to expire, and if a law suit comes; who knows when we’ll have football

  32. vikinghooper says: Mar 1, 2011 11:56 PM

    The owners didn’t negotiate lockout insurance.
    The owners pressured the TV networks to front them money during a lockout as a loan.
    The networks didn’t want to do this but were forced to or the NFL would shut them out.
    This is basically hardball, playing to win negotiating and that’s why owners are owners. They play rough, they play hard, and they play to win.
    The players have an amazing opportunity now to form their own league and start fresh without any of theses owners.
    Why the players don’ start their own league as a counter threat amazes me in it’s simplicity as baragaining power.

  33. thartnine says: Mar 2, 2011 7:19 AM

    So how long before the NFL owners go out and buy their own judge? Seems that Doty has been bought and paid for by the NFLPA.

  34. stanklepoot says: Mar 2, 2011 7:49 AM

    mayfieldroadboy says: Mar 1, 2011 9:08 PM

    I seem to remember when the USSteel workers had “strike insurance”. And if there is a strike, why don’t the football players have insurance; and to insure the payments of debt owed by the NFL owners, insurance is certainly possible. It’s like the optional insurance on your credit cards: your payments will be made when you become unemployed or become too ill to work. You also can have insurance that will pay-off the debt in case of death. What is Doty thinking when he rules that the NFL cannot have strike insurance? Did he consider the possibility of a player having strike insurance…and would he rule that player to be in violation of labor law?
    __________________
    You miss the point. It’s not a violation of the CBA to have lockout insurance. It’s a violation because they negotiated a deal with the players to split the revenue that the NFL generated with them. Then the league, as the sole negotiator with the networks, made another deal that sacrificed potential shared revenue to guarantee that the owners alone would receiver $4 Billion in what amounts to guaranteed loans from the networks in the case of a lockout. So, instead of working in the shared financial interest of both parties with a legitimate claim to the revenue, they made a special deal that would benefit them and put the players at a serious disadvantage. In essence, they made a deal with the players and then defrauded them so that they could force a new deal with the players that favored the owners to a greater degree.

  35. stanklepoot says: Mar 2, 2011 7:58 AM

    vikinghooper says: Mar 1, 2011 11:56 PM

    The owners didn’t negotiate lockout insurance.
    The owners pressured the TV networks to front them money during a lockout as a loan.
    The networks didn’t want to do this but were forced to or the NFL would shut them out.
    This is basically hardball, playing to win negotiating and that’s why owners are owners. They play rough, they play hard, and they play to win.
    The players have an amazing opportunity now to form their own league and start fresh without any of theses owners.
    Why the players don’ start their own league as a counter threat amazes me in it’s simplicity as baragaining power.
    ____________________
    For the same reason that the NFL loses every anti-trust case that goes as far as an actual ruling…the NFL is a monopoly. As economists put it, there are significant barriers to entering the Market. Above and beyond the physical infrastructure such as stadiums, the NFL has a stranglehold on tv contracts. In fact, I’ve only seen the CFL and the Arena league broadcast on the NFLN after they sold the NFL the right to air their games during the downtime in the NFL season. Without those lucrative contracts, no new league could compete with the NFL…and the networks don’t want to anger the biggest source of viewers in the country.

  36. edgy says: Mar 2, 2011 4:44 PM

    If they lose the appeal, I wonder if the owners would prefer to get their money AND pay the players damages OR take nothing and give the players nothing. I think that the latter is probably what they’d prefer.

    Again, Mike, why the whole folly about Jones? Even before they played a game, it was established that they had sold 85% of their PSL before they got serious about selling the rest and that would more than pay for his share of the stadium costs and with the rest that he’s getting from the events that he’s hosted, he’s well past paying anything for the stadium (and I overstated what he was paying to the city. It turns out that it’s only $2 million in rent and $500k for the youth programs. ALSO, he not only gets credit for the rent when the 30 years is up BUT he also gets credit for any money spent for stadium upkeep AND if his heirs decline to buy the stadium, the city gets 2 10-year options at — get this — $1 MILLION PER YEAR. By that time, it’ll be like get $45,000 today. Seriously, where’s the risk to those who keep talking about it). Any money that he’s paying for financing the stadium would have to be for tax purposes because he’s more than made the revenue needed to pay off the $700+ mil that he owed as part of his share of the costs.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!