After nearly two decades of overseeing the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, Judge David Doty thought that came to an end when Judge Susan Nelson took the baton with the settlement of Tom Brady v. NFL and the new CBA last year. But that might not be the case.
The union wants to reopen the Reggie White v. NFL antitrust case because the union alleges that the NFL owners engaged in collusion under the old CBA, and that means Doty may not be done yet.
“I thought it was all done and it had moved down the street with the Brady case. Judge Nelson did a hell of a job,” Doty told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “There’s still a question about whether I should be able to sit on it or if Judge Nelson should sit on it, a new generation kind of thing. I’m not sure because I don’t know what the NFL’s going to do. . . . I thought it was all over and I was going to be able to tell all the stories I’d love to tell.”
Reading the 83-year-old Doty’s comments, you get the sense that he feels like Roger Murtaugh, saying, “I’m too old for this [stuff].” And you also get the sense that, after all these years of closely monitoring the business of professional football, he’s not as high on its future as most league observers are.
“I’m wondering if at some point the bubble theory will overtake sports,” Doty said. “I thought it would happen long before but this bubble seems to get bigger. I’m wondering if something is going to happen that will burst the bubble of sports and huge salaries and huge stadiums that are subsidized by taxpayers.”
The NFLPA’s accusation of collusion in the wake of the NFL-imposed penalties on the Redskins and Cowboys for exceeding a salary cap that didn’t exist in 2010 is a new wrinkle in the ongoing battle between the owners and the union, and a case that has Doty lamenting that just when he thought he was out, they’re pulling him back in.