Report: Ruling from Judge Nelson expected on Monday


With mediation over for nearly a month, the next labor domino to fall should be a ruling from Judge Susan Nelson on the pending motion to lift the lockout.

Gary Myers of the New York Daily News reports we won’t have to wait much longer.  Myers hears that a ruling is expected Monday, just three days before the first round of the NFL Draft.

“The players are the heavy favorites to win this round,” Myers writes.

A ruling in favor of the players wouldn’t simply re-open the NFL for business again.  A stay on the ruling is expected pending appeal, which will take another indefinite amount of time to settle.

We’re reminded here of what Florio has said more than a few times during this process.  No one really knows what’s going to happen next; it’s all just guesswork.

Still, we are pretty sure that fans will have to continue to deal with this ridiculous legal wrangling over a work stoppage without real justification for a while longer.

43 responses to “Report: Ruling from Judge Nelson expected on Monday

  1. What about the owners winning here on monday? If that happens it really forces the players to get back to mediation because they are the owners are also favorites on the next stage. The lockout won’t really be lifted after that ruling anyway, so it might just be the best for us fans to hope the owners win!

    Players win monday: More stories from the court room.

    Owners win monday: More stories of mediation!

  2. I’m tellin ya…….Nothing of any importance happens until the players miss game checks….And the owners know this…..

  3. Maybe the Judge will show some cajones and not only rule the lock out illegal (which it is) but also DENY a stay because she feels the plaintiffs will likely win on appeal.

    Now THAT would make for some serious negotiating by the owners!

  4. Nelson had already said that she had spent a lot of time on this issue, then she takes forever to make a ruling. Why is she dragging her feet…and how long will it take at the next level?

  5. Here is hoping that Susan grants the injunction without a stay, which would open the league for business immediately. It would also force the owners to come to the table with open books and a fair negotiating position, including not making deals that place firm dollar limits on the total player compensation. Once the owners back off that ridiculous position, the deal would get done relatively quickly. In the meantime, we would have the football offseason again.

  6. It’d be nice if players were able to be traded before/during the draft… but that isn’t happening. I think that’s the biggest letdown with this year’s draft.

  7. @ isaeus

    How would that force the owners to open their books. Their is no legal precedent or loophole that would force them to do so. If the players lose then they are forced back to the negotiating table to come to an agreement that doesn’t allow the courts to mandate one. Your view on what the outcome will be is slightly skewed. I blame ESPN or other media outlets.. cough, cough.

  8. Heavy favorites? I agree that Judge Nelson is likely to rule in favor of granting the injunction, but it is far from heavy favorites. If that were true we wouldn’t have waited this long for a ruling. She is certainly conflicted about this ruling whichever way it goes. And she will certainly grant a stay if she does grant the injunction, there is no reason for her not to. Everyone knows this will be appealed either way and the 8th circuit is certainly already paying attention. To not grant the stay pending appeal would just give the 8th circuit more ground to reverse her decision. And not granting the stay would serve no point as the 8th circuit could still grant the stay themselves pending their review, so don’t expect Judge Nelson to expose herself to additional scrutiny by not granting a stay on a ruling she knows will be appealed and reviewed. Judges don’t like to have their decisions reversed and not granting a stay would be begging for her ruling to be reversed.

  9. pwall,

    A stay would keep the status quo which would mean no business at all involving players which would include free agency.


    You nailed it.


    You are correct the implications of this case are far greater than just the NFL and in fact probably affect other sports leagues more than the NFL. This is why I think if the league does lose at the trial level, the Supreme Court would take the case.

  10. this is what the player backers want. anything to get their favorite player in the world as rich as he can possibly get. who cares about the game of football. as long as your favorite player gets filthy rich. owner backers dont care if the owners get rich, we care that football stays the best sport in the world and the only way to do that is to have the owners make money and keep the players in check

    i want free agency really bad so my team can make a trade that we desperatley need to make b4 the draft. but i know its better for football in the long run if owners win this battle

  11. Seems to me there will not be a full season this year. And that sux. I remember the 2 other times we had strikes which resulted in an abreviated season each time. Thanks to “know-nothing” Goodell and the Billionaire owners. You could take a poll and 99 percent of all fans would agree that the owners and knumbnuts-Goodell screwed the pooch on this one. I usually look forward to the draft like crazy and have a huge draft party. My heart is not in it this year. I’m going to the lake and camp and water-ski all weekend long instead of watching the draft. Maybe i can enjoy the draft next year if we have a normal season. But i don’t have alot of support for the players part in this mess either. My daddy told me one time “son, never, ever, feel sorry for a millionaire”. Most players fall in or close enough to the millionaire scocioeconomic status. So suck it up rich boys. I’m still getting my paychecks. Ha Ha. Geaux Saints!

  12. hail2tharedksins,
    if kessler has his way, the union is dead which in the bigger of things, beyond sports is another nail in the coffin of unions, and I would be fine with…..So what happen if kessler wins, but the union re-organizes?
    the only way kessler to my way of thinking, wins, is if the players dont want a union and want to try kesslers way. But that means all of the wrangling is pointless….
    and why is smith not fighting kessler….which again makes me wonder if kesslers vision is a gun full of blanks.

  13. airraid77,

    I don’t think Kessler will ultimately get his way. While Kessler may genuinely believe in the merits of the anti-trust case filed against the league, the players certainly do not. The players only went along with this course of action because it was sold to them as their best maneuver to gain leverage. Also there are reports that “mid-tier” players are trying to intervene in the lawsuit and the assumption is that while they don’t want to derail the lawsuit (and the leverage it might garner) they want to ensure that Kessler does not get his way. What would make this entire case even more interesting than it already is if the players win and the owners don’t agree to a settlement like they did before and the players are stuck with Kessler’s view and no rules governing player movement. And then the question becomes do the players reform the union and end up right back where they were at the beginning of March? The owners keep saying that the only way this gets resolved is through negotiations not in the courtroom, the message whether they follow through or not is that no matter how the courts rule we are not going to settle this case like we did before and you will have to come back to the negotiating table unless you want Kessler’s NFL with no rules (meaning no salary floor, no minimum salaries, and no guaranteed percentage of revenues). However, it is doubtful it comes to that because I don’t think either side is interested in a long legal battle, both sides view this as a short-term leverage play. Furthermore, the Supreme Court has already said that sports leagues can act as one entity and coordinate certain activities to ensure competitive balance which would not violate anti-trust laws, so if this were to play out fully in the courts I don’t think Kessler would get his way, maybe some of what he wants but based on the language in American Needle case the Supreme Court does not share Kessler’s view of what sports leagues should look like.

  14. So if the lockout is lifted, does it mean it’s back to business even if the decision is appealed? In other words does it stay status quo until the appeals decision is ruled upon. It would suck if we have to stay locked up while the appeals process completes.

  15. The upcoming season is already royally screwed up…no matter WHAT happens, FA will not open..therefore no trades, no signings and no draft “action”….for this year. Teams will not be able to make crucial moves (ie- Eagles trading Kolb for a pick) that would help them THIS season. No matter if week 1 goes off with or without a hitch, this season will always have an asterisks next to it because the normal function of business is not taking place…..which leads me to believe the Eagles will finally win the big one and for decades that discussion will always be followed by…”yeah…but that was the 2011 lockout year and…..”.

    Oh well.

  16. @chapnastier:

    The granting of an injunction without a stay would not legally “force” the owners to open their books, so perhaps I could have phrased it differently. What it would do, though, is significantly weaken the owners negotiating position, leaving them with little recourse other then to play ball and come to the table looking to make a fair deal.

    The league and the owners have been in this situation before in the early 90’s. They actually had 3 seasons where there was no CBA in place. The rules that were in place from the previous CBA year were enforced until a new labor agreement was reached. That was enacted following a ruling in favor of the players. A similar ruling here from judge Nelson would mean business could continue as usual.

    This is the only outcome right now that would save both the offseason and the entire regular season. I do agree it is unlikely, but one can hope.

    Given the growth of the league over the last few years, it is hard to imagine that anyone would not agree that the last CBA was “fair” for both sides, or that there could possibly be rational justification for more “investment” capital to accelerate growth, no less justification to limit one side’s total take rather then maintaining a percentage split of revenues. Remember, the players would take the last CBA again right now.

  17. salmen76,

    I think there will be a full season this year. The players have no interest in missing any game checks! And several have confirmed. The lawsuit and injunction request are aimed at allowing the players to resist agreeing to the owners’ terms in a new CBA while still collecting paychecks. So, if this lockout is still in place in July and the regular season and thus game checks are at risk, expect the players to abandon the legal strategy and sign a new CBA to prevent them from actual missing any game checks. And of course if an injunction is granted to lift the lockout before July then no games are ever in jeopardy. I am 99% confident that players are committed to not missing any games, either the courts will give them what they want or they will go back to the NFL hat-in-hand and make what ever concessions are necessary to get a deal done before any regular season games are missed.

  18. Considering the lack of urgency that the owners and players have shown during both mediation sessions, I wonder of Judge Nelson decides to rule that an injunction is not warranted at this time. Basically saying you two need to seriously negotiate and not look for leverage from the courts in a labor dispute. Advising that if and when actual games are at risk, she will revisit whether or not an injunction is warranted. I think this would actually be the best ruling she could make at this time! Neither side would gain any leverage and both sides would have incentive to reach a negotiated settlement (the players would still be faced with a lockout and owners would still be faced with a lockout being ended by an injunction at any moment). Meanwhile both sides would be up against the clock on how much time they actually have to prepare for the season.

  19. hail2tharedskins,
    if the supreme has already said the league can act as one entity, than kessler has no grounds for suit, correct?
    the players dont need kessler, just dont re constitute the union and the players can sign with whomever they want…..with no guarantee of anything.

  20. nfl25 says:
    Apr 21, 2011 10:27 AM
    this is what the player backers want. anything to get their favorite player in the world as rich as he can possibly get. who cares about the game of football. as long as your favorite player gets filthy rich. owner backers dont care if the owners get rich, we care that football stays the best sport in the world and the only way to do that is to have the owners make money and keep the players in check

    i want free agency really bad so my team can make a trade that we desperatley need to make b4 the draft. but i know its better for football in the long run if owners win this battle
    You owner backers are really pathetic. Really really pathetic. Every team in this league is making millions of dollars. Truth of the matter is this is not the NBA where by some estimates as much as 30-50% of the teams are losing money annually. The NFL makes money hand over fist. This horrible system that the NFL operates some how produced multiple teams worth over a billion dollars. A small market team such as Green Bay has been able to turn a profit in one of the worse economic periods in decades. The Giants/Jets and Cowboys have built multi-billion dollar stadiums (Partially subsidized by the tax payers of course)…….Who the invests a billion dollars in something that they claim is losing money year after year?

    You owner backers who like to go on these boards and somehow think you’re supporting your team by licking the owners boots. I really don’t understand it. The union’s job is to look after the players because as we’ve already seen the owners don’t care about anything but profits and some fans don’t care about their financial/physical well being just as long as they get their precious football game so I 100% understand why this union (or any union) would balk at giving up $1billion.

    I guess as long as your favorite owner gets even more filthy rich then he already is you somehow will remain happy.

  21. The problem as I see it with the players is that they want to screw up a good thing. that is smith’s goal. No restricted free agency, no draft, no salary cap. The players, as i see it, are going to ruin a good thing. That has always been de smith’s goal.

  22. afraid,

    The Supreme Court said that the NFL is NOT one entity for all circumstances. However, in that ruling which was the an apparel licensing case the Supreme Court apparently were anticipating this situation and added language in their ruling which had no relevance to the American Needle case and stated that while they denied the league’s claim that they are universally one business they noted that there are instances that sports leagues would need to function as one business (as I am almost certain they cited rules to ensure competitive balance). The language of that ruling has been published here more than once. But the question is to what extent would the NFL be able to function as one business while dealing players? Certainly they don’t agree 100% with Kessler, but unless and until this case gets in front of the Justices there is no way of knowing if the agree 10% or 90% (do they rule a salary cap legal and transistion tags illegal?)

  23. I vote for hail2tharedskins to go visit both sides & sort this mess out! Nice job with all your reason and logic.

  24. If the players win and the owners refuse to settle can the owners be forced into arbitration? I hope players win and no stay is given. We want free agency & trades before and during the draft.

  25. I really don’t give a hoot whether the players or the owners “win”. I just want the lockout ended so the fans win. Whatever it takes to make that happen is what I’m rooting for.

  26. Myers’ “The players are the heavy favorites to win this round,” comment is unsupported by any rationale but they have to print something. This whole dispute is about how much money we will have to pay to enjoy football. This is free enterprise – the owners can raise prices anytime they want and no one could stop them. I think that’s less likely to happen if the players lose. If not, we’re headed toward $1,000 tickets and the NFL Premium Channel.

  27. Question gang:
    Could owners delay making the appeal until right after the draft? Would they have to appeal right away? Some owners clearly benefit from being able to have even a small window of FA.


  28. This might be a bit late but FINALLY someone is making a decision. I am tired of BOTH sides!! Its a fricken sport, one I enjoy watching but we arent talking surrender terms here!!

    Why couldnt both sides have agreed to extend the last CBA for another YEAR while these lawsuits continue?? Like DUH, it was working and we could have football like we’ve had for 20 plus years. This crap is like listening to your twin boys fight about who gets the remote first. Let’s Play some FOOTBALL!!

  29. Nothing is going to happen with a possible new CBA until the parties get back to mediation, and that won’t happen in any serious way until the players lose with Judge Nelson on Monday, OR the owners win/lose the appeal after losing to Nelson.

    So I’m hoping for the players to lose this Monday. Seems to be the fastest way back to the bargaining table. If the players win, then I hope the appeals process moves quickly regardless of the result.

    The only real worry is that the players pursue Kessling’s vision of an NFL with no free agency rules, no draft, no salary cap, no revenue sharing, no deals with TV, no etc… That will diminish the product, just like it did with other leagues that are no longer as popular as they once were.

  30. nodecafplz1,

    No the owners do not have to appeal right away. In fact any appeal would automatically be delayed until lawyers have time to review Judge Nelson’s ruling and draft their appeal motion. It will take at minimum a few days and could be even longer depending on specific circumstances. However, in this particular case a stay is almost certain to be granted which would prevent the lockout from being lifted on a temporary basis, which is one of the reasons stays are generally granted in cases like this. It serves nobody’s interests to have the lockout lifted for a few a days or weeks only to be shut down again, it would create chaos. So to answer your question, no the league does not have to appeal right away but expect them to immediately ask for a stay pending the appeal.

  31. I really can’t understand those of you that think the PLAYERS are trying to ruin the league. We all understand the NFL is wildly successful and has experienced extraordinary growth in a horrible economic climate, right?

    That said, consider the following:
    – the owners opted out of the current CBA, creating this situation
    – the owners have locked out the players; this is not a strike
    – the owners are asking for more money, and more importantly than that, are attempting to change the system from a revenue split by % to a fixed amount of total money for the players
    – the players would take the last CBA right now and would be happy playing under it

    So, who is really behind the current situation? It’s not hard to understand.

  32. There is no doubt that neither side really cares about the fans in this whole debacle. I am normally not one to take any sides in these types of situations. I am against both sides but I can’t see why there is any support for the owners here. They take the brunt of the blame for this lockout. The owners are solely responsible for this lockout and for this mess. What they are doing right now is a disgrace. It is the ultimate sign of greed. The NFL has never been a more viable or stronger financial entity. NFL owners are making more than they have ever made. They just want a bigger piece of the pie. They want more bang for their buck. They are not stupid. The NFL stands to expand and even make more money that it already was making. The pie stands to get much bigger and the owners know it. Thanks in part to the potential future earnings with digital media etc. This is a battle of the filthy rich vs the rich. The haves vs The have alot mores. I don’t want to defend the players but they are truthfully the lesser of two evils here. Greed is good only for those that are greedy.

  33. isaeus,
    The players litigated, and then THE LOCK OUT.
    AGAIN, if the players want the money, assume the some of the risk……50-50? fine 50 pct of your salary go back to cost to run the league.

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