Interpretation: This is a classic example of overlawyering. In an effort to “win” the case, the NFL’s counsel advanced an argument that exposes an unhealthy attitude toward the league’s supposed partners. Basically, the league’s lawyers argued as a fallback, “Yeah, we may have screwed the players. But they won’t feel the screwing until the CBA has expired. So we’re really not screwing them in an impermissible way.” Judge Doty didn’t buy the argument; by insisting on payments during a 2011 lockout, the league agreed to lower fees in 2009 and 2010. The players therefore were damaged by their inability to receive 59.6 cents of every extra dollar earned.
The guys over at Pro Football Talk have an excellent breakdown of Judge David Doty’s recent ruling that will have a big impact on the NFL labor negotiations. Check it out.