Tag:Judge David Doty
Posted on: May 17, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 5:41 pm

NFLPA memo details nearly 2 years of CBA talks

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFLPA's negotiations and collective bargaining with the NFL during the past four years has centered squarely around avoiding a lockout through the implementation of a "pegged cap," according to a five-page NFLPA memo obtained by CBSSports.com.

This document sheds perhaps the most light to date on the specifics of back-and-forth -- formal or otherwise -- between the two sides through the current labor negotiations.

According to the document, the NFLPA and NFL discussed -- either in a bargaining session, meeting or via telephone -- the "pegged cap" issue nine times from June 2010 through March of 2011.

A September 2010 meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL lead counsel Jeff Pash is specifically detailed, in which the pair reviewed "in writing" the pegged cap concept.

The document also notes that during a Super Bowl bargaining session the NFL stated a need to "examine the pegged cap concept in more detail" and later respond. The Super Bowl bargaining sessions were cut short; per the memo the "NFL walked out, claiming a fundamental misunderstanding."

It was later reported that the now-infamous exchange between Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and Drew Brees/Peyton Manning may have caused the split.

The document, recently distributed to players to simplify the chain of labor-related events over the past years, also focuses on the inability of the NFLPA to procure financial details from the NFL.
NFL Labor

According to the document, the NFLPA requested "audited financial statements and other financial information from the clubs and the League" at least a dozen times between May 2009 and November 2010.

The NFL responded, per the memo, by sending one page of "limited cost data" in November of 2009, and four pages of "League-wide cost information" from 2007 and 2008. In contrast, Pash said in March 2011 that the union had received unprecedented financial data from the league.

During the November 2009 session in which the NFL provided the single sheet of financial information, they also introduced the rookie wage scale and "18% rollback" of the salary cap, per the memo.

This 18% rollback was deemed necessary again at the Super Bowl negotiating meetings -- based on the document, the owners deemed such a rollback necessary to give "additional incentive" to invest in their teams.

Among all these discussions, however, the biggest issue at hand seems to be the difference in the split of revenue. The NFL repeatedly claimed a "70/30" split, while the NFLPA reiterated, according to the memo, that "it is closer to 50/50 after [the] $1 billion deduction."

It also seems that the "pegged cap" issue provided the most movement of any issue within the realm of labor negotiations. Several back-and-forths occurred, per the memo, and multiple proposals were exchanged, before the decision from Special Master Stephen Burbank that awarded the players damages in the television contracts case.

Whether or not the television contracts became the actual breaking point in negotiations can't be completely ascertained. The only thing that's clear from the document is that there was a chance -- at one point in time -- to avoid a lockout and the situation all parties, including fans, are in now: without football.
Posted on: May 17, 2011 10:50 am

Why the players won't simply cave just quite yet

Posted by Will Brinson

As the second day of court-ordered mediation is underway in Minnesota, it's presumed that the NFLPA will throw up their collective -- but un-unionized! -- hands, and take the best reasonable deal the owners will offer.

I don't see that happening just quite yet.

My colleagues Mike Freeman and Clark Judge both made excellent cases for why the leverage-less players should get to work on making a settlement happen.

And they weren't the only ones writing doom-and-gloom scenarios for the players. There was good reason for these opinions -- the language from the 8th Circuit regarding irreparable harm is a brutal blow to the players.

But just because the 8th Circuit favored the owners in this instance, it's not guaranteed that the 8th Circuit will favor the owners in the future.

This is critical, as DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA are still sitting on a pretty big, $4 billion bullet that is the TV lockout fund case.
NFL Labor

Judge David Doty will rule on that some time in the near future; the status is currently "under advisement," so there's no set timeline for the District Court Senior Judge to rule.

Presumably, he's going to hammer the owners, who he believe heavily violated their partners' trust by negotiating in a subversive manner with the networks. And, presumably, the NFL is going file an appeal with the 8th Circuit ... again.

But here's the interesting thing: the 8th Circuit, while notoriously "pro-business," isn't beholden to the NFL in this matter.

In fact, the crux of their ruling on Monday is the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which centers around whether or not a labor dispute -- i.e. a dispute arising between an employer and a union -- can be resolved by the federal courts.

What's important to remember here is that, while the Court of Appeals is concerned with fixing the game of football, they're probably a touch more concerned with not setting a precedent for any union in America to decertify (even temporarily) going forward, with the express intent of creating legal leverage.

However, the presumed appeal they'll see on Judge Doty's TV ruling doesn't involve the Norris-LaGuardia Act. At all. It's just a standard appeal.

Which makes it a lot more likely that the players can score a "win" (insomuch as these exist these days) on appeal. The players know, and the owners certainly know this.

It's why you're hearing reports that the owners are pushing for some sort of settlement while they have the most leverage firmly in hand.

And the players, I imagine, will certainly listen to any sort of settlement offer that comes their way. Just don't bank on them caving quite yet.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
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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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com