The hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6 in Doty’s courtroom in Minneapolis.
The NFL Players Association filed the appeal on behalf of Peterson when the league imposed a suspension on Peterson following his appeal to get off the Commissioner’s Exempt List and return to active duty with the Vikings. The league ruled that Peterson would be suspended without pay for the final six games of the season, as well as being suspended until at least April 15 for his role in child abuse charges that were brought in Texas.
Having Doty as the judge could be good news for Peterson and the NFLPA. Doty has a history of ruling against the NFL and Minneapolis has become the go-to destination to file cases against the NFL for antitrust cases for the last 40 years.
Minneapolis’ role in antitrust actions began in the 1970s when John Mackey, the Hall of Fame tight end for the Baltimore Colts, was the players union president was looking for legal relief and was recommended to hire the Minneapolis firm of Lindquist & Vennum. Edward Glennon, one of the firm’s partners, became the union’s chief litigator. He came up with the idea of fighting anti-trust lawsuits and, when the case was filed in Minneapolis district court, the Rozelle Rule was shot down. The rule at the time said that a team that signed a player as a free agent had to compensate the former team with players, draft picks or both – which effectively eliminated free agency. If teams couldn’t decide on the exchange price, Commissioner Pete Rozelle would decide through arbitration what the signing compensation would be.
The players union won the case and Minneapolis became a flashpoint for legal issues between the NFL and NFLPA. Doty was appointed by President Reagan in 1987 and has been the point man on several cases, including the elimination of the Plan B free-agent system in 1992 and the Reggie White case that created free and open free agency.
When the NFL opted to decertify its union in 2011, that case also was sent to the same court in Minneapolis.
Peterson and the NFLPA’s contention is that the punishment handed down to Peterson violates league policy and rules of collective bargaining between an employer and a union will once again put Minnesota center stage in the legal battles between the two sides.
It’s unclear how the legal system will fall on the case, but the last thing the NFL wants is another case in Minnesota because historically they haven’t had much success there.