The NFL long ago made efforts to pull U.S. District Court Judge David Doty of Minnesota off a class-action settlement from 1993 that cleared the way for unrestricted free agency as we know it, but when Doty offered to recuse himself from an upcoming hearing on collusion charges leveled by the NFL Players Association, the league declined his offer and forced him to stay on the case. Here is what NFL attorney Gregg Levy said about Doty staying on the collusion case (via TwinCities.com):
"We have great respect for the judge," Levy said outside court. "He has been very gracious and courteous to us, and we think he is going to be very fair in resolving this issue, which is quite straightforward."
What a difference a few decades make, right? Levy and NFLPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler have plenty of experience arguing cases in front of Doty, so comfort and familiarity with league matters may factor into the endorsement as well. Doty's rulings have perhaps favored unions during his tenure on the bench, but the NFL seems comfortable with him presiding over NFLPA charges that league owners colluded to enforce a secret $123 million salary cap during 2010 -- a year where there was no formal cap in place.
For more NFL news, be sure to check out SB Nation's dedicated NFL hub.