Blog Entry

District judge rules NFL can't keep network money

Posted on: March 1, 2011 6:58 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 8:25 pm
Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In yet another twist to the labor dispute, the NFL owners took a back-hand from U.S. District Judge David Doty today when he overruled special master Stephen Burbank and said the league could not have access to the TV network money for next season.

Doty ruled that Burbank had made several mistakes in his ruling from last month in which he said the NFL hadn’t violated the CBA with its “lockout insurance” deal with the networks, which would still pay the league about $4 billion even if there are missed games in 2011.

Instead, Doty said the league had breached the CBA and ordered a hearing to determine the damages accrued by the NFLPA. Doty also could – and probably will – keep that $4 billion from the owners if a lockout occurs. All along, the NFLPA has asked that the amount be kept in escrow.

Wrote Doty in his ruling: "The court overrules the special master's findings as to the NFL's breach of the SSA relating to its contracts with DirecTV, CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN, and holds that the NFL breached the SSA as to those contracts.”

Here’s the NFL’s statement, via Greg Aiello: "As we have frequently said, our clubs are prepared for any contingency, this decision included. Today's ruling will have no effect on our efforts to negotiate a new, balanced labor agreement."

Doty has ruled on NFL labor disputes for the past two decades, and the owners desperately want him off the case, because they think he’s pro-union. Today’s ruling certainly won’t change that opinion, but if Doty’s ruling forces the owners to get serious about negotiating, knowing they won’t get that TV money and knowing they've lost a measurable amount of leverage, NFL fans will love him forever.

Look for the owners to appeal the decision, but make no mistake: this is a sizable victory for the union.

And the NFLPA's statement: "This ruling means there is irrefutable evidence that owners had a premeditated plan to lockout players and fans for more than two years. The players want to play football. That is the only goal we are focused on."

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 8, 2012 5:00 pm

District judge rules NFL can't keep network money

Many thanks a good price just for showing such super issue mean much! Looking for into the future with seeintg reasonably priced!

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 9:16 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: March 1, 2011 11:28 pm

District judge rules NFL can't keep network money

If owners somehow win all of the concessions they're asking for, don't expect them to reduce ticket prices, concessions or parking costs. I can't imagine defending the owners in any way - they don't lose money, in fact they're doing very well. Keep complaining about the players' huge salaries, cause that makes it obvious you don't really understand where the true economic power lies in this situation.

Since: Jan 19, 2008
Posted on: March 1, 2011 11:23 pm

District judge rules NFL can't keep network money

My God!  Didn't that guy get the memo it's the owner's world and we are just living in it?

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: March 1, 2011 11:10 pm

District judge rules NFL can't keep network money

"Excellent points.  I also heard the NFLPA was going to de-certify because that would prevent the owners from locking them out?  If there's no certified union, what would the network payment be violating?"

The NFL has filed a complaint with the NLRB claiming the players are not bargaining in good faith (I read the brief...essentially it says that is the case because the players won't accept the owners offer to take $1 billion of their share and give it to the owners with nothing in return).  Clearly they owners are not bargaining in good faith (as required by the CBA) because they set this up while the current CBA is in place.  If the union decertifies, and the owners lock them out (which means no per diems or bonuses) then their special antitrust exempt status, which allows them to bargain as an entity with the tv networks goes bye bye. 

The best thing about this decision is that it forces the owners to go back and bargain on somewhat equal terms.  Remember, the owners aren't claiming that they are losing money, just that they want to make more.  They want to put the players at greater risk of injury and want to keep any money they save from a rookie wage scale.  They have offered nothing at all in return for all this, so before you make any more comments about player greed...ask yourself what you would do if you were the players in this situation. 

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: March 1, 2011 11:05 pm

District judge rules NFL can't keep network money

@wrodawalt: The "socialist" view of the NFL comes from misapphrending the market and sports industry. The NFL is one competitive entity, not 32; the Cardinals are not really competing with the Rams, rather they are both competing with the local MLB, NHL, and NCAA. What you see on the field, while it may be the only reason you turn in, is just show for the suckers fans. It might as well be staged WWF skits, for all the owners care. They're putting it there because you watch it, but those aren't the franchises competing on the field, just the teams. Thus, it behooves the Cardinals and Rams to be paddling in the same direction.

You may not care about the owners, only the players, yet that doesn't change the nature of business. The NFL owners are really only noteworthy for their celebrity. You may not care about whatever faceless owners profit from your buying Scotch tape, but rest assured they are the relevant entity, not the tape makers, who get you what you want. They hold all the risks, and therefore reap the rewards. If the tape makers quit, new ones are hired. If the owners quit, you get no tape and the tape makers have no jobs, until new owners come along and put their money on the line.

That's not to say the owners aren't being greedy. They are. But they have a right to be, agreed to by the union at the last CBA. If the union doesn't like it, they can strike (technically, refuse to agree to terms to end the lockout). But they won't, they're already caving and it was only February. You can hear it from the players mouths themselves; many of them are unwilling to miss a check. Even to my dark capitalist heart, their lack of fight and unity is disappointing. The tragedy is that the nearsighted greed of the man children is going to stop them from winning what they really need - medical protection later in life, and keeping the 16 game schedule.

Since: Feb 22, 2010
Posted on: March 1, 2011 10:42 pm

District judge rules NFL can't keep network money

To make a special deal with the TV networks indicates to me that the owners had no intention on settling this strike before next year's season.  I do hope that when cooler heads prevail, the owners and players can come up with a 10 Year CBA, so that the fans don't always have to be held hostage every 3-4 years.  Billionaires vs Millionaires....what is this world coming to?

Since: Mar 1, 2011
Posted on: March 1, 2011 10:25 pm

District judge rules NFL can't keep network money

I find it hilarious that we see all these people defending the NFL owners on the supposed basis that they operate in a free enterprise free market system.  The NFL is one of the most socialist operations in America.  They do not compete for revenue, they have revenue sharing which lets the cheap owners like Mike Brown in Cincinnati skim off all the profits because there is no economic incentive in the short run to compete.

As others have pointed out, NFL owners make huge returns on their investment when they sell the teams.  The owners seem to want to have the perfect investment in which they get huge quarterly dividend AND get huge growth on investment.

The thing that I have NOT seen addressed is that the huge contracts that you see players sign are, at least in part, a fantasy.  That is why there is a yearly ritual of teams deciding not to pick up the $9 million roster bonus due to this player or that.  We also have not discussed that most of these contracts are voidable at any time by the team.  Watch the waiver wires at the end of August.  You will see tons of veteran players dropped on Monday and resigned on Wednesday to a cheaper contract. 

And when you look at the longevity of players being an average of 3 to 4 years, and vesting in a pension at 5 years, it is only the top 30% or less who actually get all the benefits you read about.

As many have stated, the players are the game.  No one goes to the game to watch Jerry Jones chomp on a stoggie in his air conditioned sky box.  They go to see the players.  And EVERY time the NFL has had serious competition for players (SEE the AFL and even the USFL) they seem to find endless reserves of cash to keep players so they can keep skimming off the profits.

Finally, what seems to be lost on a BUNCH of the people posting here is that the contract was not supposed to end this year.  The OWNERS are opting out.  The OWNERS are creating a false "crisis" because the cost of caviar must be cutting into their private jet accounts.  What would you do if your boss came to you and told you that they wanted to reduce your salary by 20% even though you had a contract for another 2 years?

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: March 1, 2011 10:14 pm

District judge rules NFL can't keep network money

Oh, I'm sorry, we have a genius in our presence.  What would Mr. Genius do?  He'd go to an unfavorable judge and file.  Why would he do that?  Oh!  Because he's a genius!!!  It's Best To Appear Before A Judge Who Favors The Other Side!! Says Mr. Genius!!! 
Please explain why you would go before a neutral or unfavorable judge when you have one who leans toward your cause????

Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: March 1, 2011 9:38 pm

District judge rules NFL can't keep network money

"human levels"?  why would anyone play a sport that could physically harm you for the same amount of money as some clown who is sitting in his office playing farmville on his computer.  The prices of tickets are not the players fault... not one NFL team has lost money in recent history, talk to the owners.  The players are the talent... the owners are the leeches.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or