NFL Lockout Update: Where we stand right now

We’ll take a break from the fast breaking (not really) Miami Dolphins news to give you an update on the NFL Lockout.  We’re going to keep this simple, because the we’ve had enough legal jargon for one offseason.  We’re football fans.  We want to talk about offseason trades, free agent signings, zone blitz schemes, and cheerleaders.  If you the legal jargon version of today’s proceedings, you can check here.

Earlier today, the former NFLPA’s lawyers took on the NFL’s lawyers in the 8th Circuit Court.  Lawyers from both sides made 30 minute arguments to the 3 judge panel, hoping to persuade the judges to give them the leverage needed to negotiate the deal that they want.  Essentially, the NFL is saying that the earlier decision by a lower court to lift the injunction is invalid…They say that the lower court ruled on a labor matter, which they aren’t supposed to do….Thus, the Lockout can continue for up to 1 year; which would make us cry like a 4 year old who doesn’t get the toy he/she wants from the toy store.

The NFLPA’s lawyers argued that the lower court’s ruling is valid because their case against the NFL is valid.  The NFLPA decertified (meaning they are no longer a union) and has filed anti-trust lawsuits against the NFL.  Whoa, got a little too much into the legal mumbo jumbo for a second….sorry!  The NFLPA is basically arguing that the lower court’s ruling should stand, ending the lockout.

The court session has ended and now we have to wait for their decision.  If it’s in favor of the Owners, the Lockout will continue.  The only hope the players would have then is that Judge Doty (who’s favored the players in the past) rules that the TV right’s deal should be shared with the players.  You see, the Owners negotiated the TV contracts so they are guaranteed in the event of a Lockout.  Meaning the Owners would have money coming in from TV partners, even if football isn’t played.  Judge Doty could rule that the Owners must share that money with the players.  If he does that, we’re probably back to square 1!

If the 8th Circuit Court rules in favor of the Players, the Owners would likely appeal again, but the Lockout would most likely be lifted, giving us a 2011 football season.  There is a 3rd possibility, which was actually mentioned by the lead judge at the end of the session.  The lead judge (Judge Bye) said that the court wouldn’t be ‘hurt’ if a settlement on a new CBA was reached before their ruling.  He actually went further to say that neither side will likely be comfortable will the ruling the court issues.  Interesting words.  The ruling is expected in anywhere from 2-6 weeks.  That gives both sides time to negotiate a new CBA with the threat of the ruling going against them, hanging over their heads.

So it seems like this offseason of courtroom football could be winding down.  We could have a settlement or a decision by the end of June….OR, we could be looking at a prolonged Lockout, which costs the NFL and all NFL fans the game that they love.  If you’d like to take part in the NFL Fan Strike, boycotting all NFL Merchandise until the CBA is done, please click here.

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