Tag:David Doty
Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:51 pm

TV execs weren't sweating lockout

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Even if you were sweating the question of whether the NFL and the NFLPA would get a new CBA complete before the start of the regular season, the TV executives apparently weren’t.

They just figured there was too much money to lose for the NFL not to play games and have them shown on TV.

“There’s so many benefits to so many people that I was always relatively confident they’d get the deal done,” Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports, told the New York Post.

So, the fact that a deal actually WAS consummated is a pretty good feeling for CBS, NBC, ESPN and DirecTV (especially since the NFL was supposed to have received money from the latter anyway, even if there was no season (although we never did get a ruling from Judge David Doty in how much of that cash the owners would have to give the owners after bargaining with the networks in what amounted to lockout insurance).

CNBC reporter Darren Rovell explains why football is so important to the networks and why the end of the lockout is such a big boost.

“The NFL is the most popular sport in the history of sport,” CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell said. “No sport at any time has been as popular as the NFL is now based on the percentage of people who watch in this country and the amount of time people spend consuming just the NFL.”

And also this: “Sports is the only thing on television that is not TIVO-able meaning it’s either live or it’s garbage,” Rovell said. “That’s really the value of sports and that’s what makes the advertising so valuable. Whether you go to the bathroom or not for the most part the ads are going to be on because you are watching live. … We’ve seen a tremendous amount of TV rights deal with sports go 10, 12, 14 years because no matter how we consume we know it’s going to be consumed live. So, no matter how the networks sell it, it is going to be of greater value.”

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Posted on: May 12, 2011 12:12 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 2:21 pm

No ruling on TV damages yet, players want $707M

Posted by Will Brinson

UPDATE (1:00 PM): According to attorney Tom Heiden, the players are seeking $707 million in damages ... as a starting point. That doesn't include treble damages or their maximum request.

Additionally, per Albert Breer of the NFL Network, Judge Doty began the hearing none too happy about actually having the hearing, as he expected a settlement by now.

"To be honest, I didn't think we'd have this hearing," Doty said."And I'm a bit disappointed we're having it."
Thursday was supposed to bring some sort of resolution regarding the current state of the NFL, as Judge David Doty was set to hear arguments from both the players and owners sides on the "TV money case" and then rule on what sort, if any, of damages to award the players.

Lest you forget, Doty recently ruled that the NFL couldn't keep the money from TV contracts negotiated in a manner that would have gotten them paid during a locked-out season.
NFL Labor

Alas, Doty, after hearing the arguments, will simply take them "under advisement" for now, meaning no ruling on the TV damages will come Thursday.

It's believed that Doty will rule some time next week -- it's also believed that Doty will rule in favor of the players, as is his modus operandi.

That doesn't make it guaranteed that he'll favor the players, and getting a ruling by next week isn't guaranteed either.

In fact, the only guarantee might be that, once Doty rules, the NFL will appeal to the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals, where the fate of the lockout currently resides. 

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Posted on: March 28, 2011 9:53 am

In new CBA, players don't want courts involved

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If there’s anything on which the NFL owners won’t compromise during labor negotiations, assuming they and the NFLPA actually get back to the bargaining table, it’s the agreement in past CBAs for federal court oversight. Basically, the owners want that provision stricken from any future CBAs.

NFL Labor
This, according to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback column.

It’s been well-documented that the owners have a problem with U.S. Circuit Court Judge David Doty. Though Doty – who the owners believe has favored the players for the past two decades whenever he’s heard appeals from the two sides – won’t be the one hearing the April 6 injunction hearing in the Brady v NFL case, the owners want to get away from the courts altogether.

You hear that just about every day when commissioner Roger Goodell or some other owner says the only way to end the NFL lockout is to return to the negotiating table and forgo litigating. Now, the owners want to make it a reality.

Said one of King’s sources: "They don't want to leave their fate in the hands of a judge, period. After having the last two decades, basically, with federal oversight in the Eighth Circuit, their attitude basically is this: No other leagues have the courts lording over them. Why should we?''

According to King, the players might be OK with letting go of that provision in the next CBA, because the issue so rarely comes into play.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 14, 2011 5:02 pm

Other important points from NFLPA conference call

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We've already discussed the main points from the 50-minute teleconference held this afternoon by the NFL players, but there were a few interesting sidebars that need to be addressed.

Let’s go point-by-point:

-Former union president Kevin Mawae on the possibilities of an 18-game schedule.

“Eighteen games is not going to happen through the NFL Players Association. We can’t justify it for the players’ health and safety. The 18-game schedule was taken off the table as soon as they proposed it. It never will be.”

NFL Labor
-Saints QB Drew Brees on why he’s one of the lead plaintiffs in the Brady v NFL case.

“Because it’s important to me. By doing that, I represent not only the 1,900 players in the league now, but the guys who played before us, whose shoulders we stand on. They’re the ones who created what we have. And we’re representing the guys who will come after us. I feel very strongly about our case and very strongly about the law.”

-Brees on Judge David Doty – seen widely by the owners as pro-NFL players – not presiding over the April 6 preliminary injunction hearing.

“To us, that’s not an issue. That was something the owners seemed very focused on. For us, it’s about the facts and the law. We believe those are on our side. We’re not concerned about that.”

-Colts C Jeff Saturday on the reports that he had dinner with commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday and what that was about.

“I did not meet Roger after Friday’s negotiations. I met him Thursday after our negotiations. It wasn’t for dinner. It was just a meeting later in the evening after we finished our work. The entire meeting was about trying to get an agreement in place. Everybody from DeMaurice (Smith) and everybody I ate dinner with, including some of the heads of the entire NFL Players Association, knew what I was doing. There was nothing secretive about what I did.”

-CBSSports.com's own Mike Freeman has confirmed today that the NFLPA is putting a plan into place that would force the players to boycott the upcoming NFL draft. The NFL still will invite the top 15 or 20 college players who are expected to be drafted early, and for now, it’s unclear whether those players will attend (though Freeman points out that the momentum of the boycott is building).

Ex-NFLPA spokesman George Atallah would not comment on the report.

“We’re here focusing on the players being locked out,” Atallah said.

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Posted on: March 14, 2011 10:20 am
Edited on: March 14, 2011 12:44 pm

Once again, Doty not on lockout case

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

UPDATED (12:40 p.m.): Multiple outlets are reporting that a motion for preliminary injuction in the Brady v NFL case will be heard at 9:30 a.m. April 6 in front of Judge Susan "Not David Doty" Nelson.

That's a scant 23 days from now. Which is decidedly not awesome.


There’s been plenty of talk recently about Judge David Doty and about how much the owners, well, would like to see him nowhere near the litigation that will emanate from the NFLPA’s decision to decertify and the owners’ decision to lock out the players.

It must have been a relief to the owners, then, when Judge Richard H. Kyle originally was assigned the Brady v NFL case. But when Kyle recused himself from the case because of a personal conflict with one of the firms involved, there was a chance Doty would take over the case after all.

NFL Labor
Even though the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota told Will Brinson that Doty doesn’t hear many cases any more because of his “senior status,” the Kyle recusal must have accelerated the owners’ heartbeat.

Not to worry, though.

According to Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal, the case has been assigned to Judge Susan Nelson and not Doty.

As Kaplan writes, the NFLPA surely will file a motion to move the case to Doty’s courtroom, but for now, the owners can savor a minor victory in the case that very well could determine the outcome of this lockout.

In this case, the uncertainty of Nelson has to be better for the owners than the expected outcome of what Doty would do.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 12, 2011 10:53 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 11:04 pm

Doty not yet assigned to Brady v. NFL case

Posted by Will Brinson

Earlier Saturday, we tweeted that Judge Richard H. Kyle, the originally assigned judge to the Brady v. NFL case, was no longer assigned to the case, and that Judge Patrick J. Schlitz had been assigned to oversee the players' antitrust action against the NFL.

As it turns out, Kyle recused himself from the case because of a personal conflict with one of the firms involved. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Kyle cited 28 U.S.C. § 455 as the reason for leaving the case, which would involve him having some sort of conflict with the matter. The logical conclusion here is that Kyle practiced with the firm of Briggs & Morgan, who are representing the players in Brady v. NFL.

The case has, per legal documents, been reassigned to Schlitz. But the question everyone wants to know is, where's Judge David Doty? (If you missed it, he's the judge who ruled in favor of the NFLPA in the TV contract case.)

We inquired into that very subject earlier and were told that it's possible Doty could be given the case based on his prior NFL case work, but that it wasn't necessarily guaranteed.
NFL Labor

"Often times, though, if a new case is related to an older case, the judge from the initial case will be assigned to the current case too," Jeanne F. Cooney of the US Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota, told CBSSports.com. "However, Judge Doty is now on senior status and doesn’t get many cases. Moreover, even if he got those types of cases in the past, the court wouldn't necessarily assign them to him now because it does not assign cases based on subject matter."

The logical move is that Doty will be given the case, regardless of his senior status -- his extensive work with the NFL prior makes him a natural fit to take over the newest NFL-related litigation.

One point worth noting as well, too, is that Schlitz was appointed by George W. Bush. Presumably, that makes him a preferred judge for the league (as Florio noted when pointing this out, "he's likely not a liberal"). However, Doty himself is a Ronald Reagan appointee from 1987 -- he was nominated by a Republican senator. As Matt Jones and I previously discussed, his reputation as a "liberal" stems more from his rulings for the players than his political affiliation.

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Posted on: March 12, 2011 7:35 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 7:38 pm

NFL lawyers on decertification: 'A sham'

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL made a news splash Saturday when it announced the hiring of two high-powered lawyers to represent the league in the antitrust suit filed by the no-longer-unionized players.

But the league's long-time outside council, Gregg Levy, also made some noise over the weekend calling, as we predicted yesterday, the NFLPA's decertification "a sham."

"The union only pretended to decertify in 1990," Levy said in a statement posted on NFLLabor.com. "As history has confirmed, that purported decertification was a sham. In an effort to protect its ability to repeat the fraud a second time, the union tried in the White settlement to limit the NFL's ability to challenge in an antitrust court any future attempt by the union to pull off a similar sham. But that limitation could have applied only if the purported decertification occurred after expiration of the Stipulation and Settlement Agreement. The union was in such a rush to get to court that it did not wait until SSA expiration. The league is therefore free to show that this 'decertification' is also a sham."

The "sham defense" is best explained by referencing another not-so-legalese term: the "duck defense." That's a reference to an old idiom -- "if it walks like a duck, and it talks like a duck, then it is a duck" -- because the NFL is going to attempt and claim that the union is, as Levy said, only decertifying in order to prevent the league from locking players out, and that it remains a union, despite the small technicality of not actually being a union.

Here's the thing: this point of contention is going to make or break the 2011 NFL season, not whatever PR directives the NFLPA and NFL will be rapid-firing over the next few months.

Because, as I mentioned on Friday night, the Minnesota District Court system is going to decide at some point whether or not the decertification was a sham.

The issue for the NFL is that in the CBA and the White v. NFL Settlement Agreement they "waive any rights" to claim decertification is "a sham, pretext, ineffective, requires additional steps, or in fact has not occurred" ... as long as said decertification occurs "after the expiration of the express term of the CBA."

As we all know, the union decertified before the CBA expired. The reason they did so is they were in a Catch-22, because the CBA language required the players, if they wanted to sue the league, to either do so before the CBA expired, or to wait until six months after the expiration of the CBA.

So the players could have avoided any issue with the "sham defense" at all by waiting to sue, but of course they couldn't sue until they decertified, and waiting six months to do would have coincided with the start of actual football.

Long story short is that the District Court could still decide that the union's decertification is not a sham, and lift the league's lockout, but the Levy makes a pretty compelling case as to why the court shouldn't.

Now the only question is whether or not it will be more compelling than what the players' attorneys offer up in opposition.

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Posted on: March 12, 2011 2:30 pm

Players filed lockout injunction against NFL

Posted by Will Brinson

It might be Saturday, but the public relations machine for both the NFL owners and the trade association formerly known as the NFLPA is in full swing. And so is the legal maneuvering, as the players have already filed an injunction to prevent the NFL from locking them out.

CBSSports.com has obtained a copy of the "Motion for Preliminary Injunction" filed by plaintiffs Tom Brady, et al, and the basis is pretty simple: the plaintiffs/players want to stop a lockout before it happens.

Of course, the lockout happened anyway, because the NFL feels it's within legal rights to lock out the players. (The NFL feels this way because it believes that the NFLPA's decision to decertify was a "sham.")

The players' claim is that "a group boycott and price-fixing agreement" amongst the 32 NFL teams (aka a "lockout") violates the Sherman Antitrust Act in that it results in the "restraint of trade or commerce among the several States."

That means some time next week, a clerk in the Minnesota District Court will likely schedule a hearing (likely in front of Judge David Doty) to determine whether or not to grant the players' injunction.
NFL Labor

If Doty grants the injunction, the lockout will be lifted and we'll be en route to having football in 2011. However, the NFL, if they lose, is all but guaranteed to appeal, so there's no need to get too excited. If the NFL wins in front of Doty, the players are also all but guaranteed to appeal.

But that's all got to play out in the courts. In the meantime, we're sure to hear plenty of rhetoric from both sides about who's fault it is that we're even discussing a court case involving football. But the fact that a) the players prepared this motion in the first place and b) they did in fact need it because the NFL locked them out should remind everyone that this process isn't completely unexpected in the least by either party.

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