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Judge Nelson: “The lockout is enjoined.”


We’ve obtained the 89-page ruling from Judge Nelson lifting the NFL’s lockout of the players following decertification of the union.

The decision ends with a simple yet powerful four-word sentence:  “The lockout is enjoined.”

Here’s the full text of the final portion of the written decision, under the heading “order.”

“The nation’s labor laws have always applied only where an action involves or grows out of a labor dispute.  Such a labor relationship exists only where a union exists to bargain on behalf of its members. Where those employees effectively renounce the union as their collective bargaining agent — and accept the consequences of doing so — and elect to proceed in negotiating contracts individually, any disputes between the employees and their employers are no longer governed by federal labor law. Likewise, the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which applies only to preclude some injunctions in the context of ‘labor disputes,’ also no longer applies here to preclude injunctive relief. The NFL urges this Court to expand the law beyond these traditional dictates and argues that the protections of labor law should apply for some indefinite period beyond the collapse and termination of the collective bargaining relationship. In the absence of either persuasive policy or authority, this Court takes a more conservative approach, and declines to do so.

“This Court, having found that the Union’s unequivocal disclaimer is valid and effective, concludes there is no need to defer any issue to the NLRB.  Because that disclaimer is valid and effective, the Norris-LaGuardia Act’s prohibition against injunctive relief does not preclude granting the Player’s motion for a preliminary
injunction against what the League characterizes as a ‘lockout.’

“Based on the foregoing, and all the files, records and proceedings herein, IT IS

“1. The Brady Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction [Doc. No. 2] is

“2. The Eller Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction [Doc. No. 58] is
MOOT; and

“3. The ‘lockout’ is enjoined.”

The ruling says nothing about a stay of the ruling.  Presumably, it applies immediately — unless the NFL can get Judge Nelson to modify the ruling, or unless the league can get the U.S. Court of Appeals to issue a stay pending the inevitable appeal.

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71 Responses to “Judge Nelson: “The lockout is enjoined.””
  1. captainwisdom8888 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:27 PM

    It pains me to read such an article on a football website.

  2. teflond says: Apr 25, 2011 6:27 PM

    so what about the other 88 pages…

  3. endzonezombie says: Apr 25, 2011 6:27 PM

    The NFL Network says Judge Nelson has refused to stay her order pending an appeal. YAY! We have football again!

  4. billsfan27 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:28 PM

    …and every NFL owner just ripped open their wallets to pay somebody off…

  5. jimr10 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:28 PM

    why is anyone surprised? what can you expect from a liberal left wing judge. she is not interpreting the law but making the law.

  6. ftblfan9 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:29 PM

    This outcome has been foreseen for some time. It will be interested to see if the players actually “accept the consequences” of disbanding the union – and understanding what those consequences are. The owners must have plans for this outcome.

  7. mandracchia says: Apr 25, 2011 6:29 PM

    I’m not a lawyer but does this mean the free agent players are free to sign with whoever they want? and the teams can trade at will until they file an appeal which will happen after the draft


  8. wellthatsaloadofcrap says: Apr 25, 2011 6:29 PM

    Trade Kolb this second.

  9. pppath says: Apr 25, 2011 6:31 PM

    Let the free agent signings begin!

  10. joshborden says: Apr 25, 2011 6:32 PM

    Great….I’ve been needing some false hope that we will actually have free agency and an enjoyable draft in which I can rip apart my teams front office for the choices that they make!

    Pissed off Titans Fan….

  11. mataug says: Apr 25, 2011 6:32 PM

    Brevity is optional.

  12. gasolinejt says: Apr 25, 2011 6:34 PM

    In the mean time, can players and coaches communicate freely?

  13. truvikingfan says: Apr 25, 2011 6:34 PM

    Can someone explain “enjoined”? What does that mean for John Q. Fan?

  14. PFTiswhatitis says: Apr 25, 2011 6:34 PM

    Does this also void all current player contracts?

  15. davesbeard says: Apr 25, 2011 6:35 PM

    Sooooooooo, Free Agency starts now?

  16. WanderingSophist says: Apr 25, 2011 6:36 PM

    Is it possible to publicly post the document for the legal junkies among us to page through ourselves?

  17. thephantomstranger says: Apr 25, 2011 6:36 PM

    The reason she put MOOT in all caps was to educate the commenters on this site who keep saying “mute.”

  18. chademer07 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:36 PM

    this means what exactly?

  19. pppath says: Apr 25, 2011 6:36 PM

    The Carolina Panthers trade the no. 1 pick to the Eales for Kevin Kolb and……

  20. hooky40 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:36 PM

    Honestly, I almost don’t even care. I have and will continue to support the Owners in this dispute, but I also believe that the players deserve “fair” terms. Mandated Mediation should have been ordered until a deal was reached, not a handful of nearly worthless mediation sessions that have been put off for over a month. It’s really disappointing, for me at least, that any action was taken by the courts, especially given the true path the NFLPA* is going to take in litigation.

  21. dontcallmepete says: Apr 25, 2011 6:36 PM

    Let’s see, owners lost the apparel case in U.S. Supreme Court, the supplement case in U.S. District Court, the TV rights case and now this. Owners should just sit down and make a deal.

    Just because you ask for a stay doesn’t mean you’re gonna get it.


  22. chc4 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:36 PM

    Owners knew this was coming so this doesn’t mean much. Liberal federal judges always side with the poor, enslaved workers (right AP?).

    The decert is clearly a sham. Vrabel inadvertently spilled the beans last week when he all but admitted this union still exists. Owners will appeal. And the players will moan but the real fun comes in August/Sept assuming this is still going on. “You mean I won’t get paid in 9/10?”

  23. moneymike23 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:36 PM

    what happens next??? or after the appeal?

  24. drmonkeyarmy says: Apr 25, 2011 6:37 PM

    So let me get this straight and this is a question for any lawyers out there: a union can decertify and file an anti-trust lawsuit. Upon completion of the lawsuit, they can file to recertify the union. And that is not considered a sham?

  25. jpmelon says: Apr 25, 2011 6:37 PM

    Judge: “I hereby ignore the fact that the NFLPA is the same thing as the Brady Plaintiffs’.”

  26. pixelito says: Apr 25, 2011 6:37 PM

    Is there anything better than watching 32 Billionaires get their collective as*ses kicked?

    By a Woman?

  27. sirfurproductions says: Apr 25, 2011 6:38 PM

    Win one for the little guy…

    I know it’s hard to imagine the players as little guys, but in this context, I’m referring to the hot dog guy, the ticket girl, and the beer vendors. They would be the ones to suffer without the season.

    Screw the Corporate big-wigs.

  28. truvikingfan says: Apr 25, 2011 6:39 PM

    Mike….if those words are so powerful…please explain what the hell it means

  29. beastofeden says: Apr 25, 2011 6:39 PM

    Everyone already knows the lockout won’t take away any games. Lockout or not, the NFL is dormant from spring til’ fall. Free agency, the draft, OTA’s, none of it matters. Whats matters: WEEK 1 REGULAR SEASON.

  30. pppath says: Apr 25, 2011 6:40 PM

    Hopefully the owners wait until after the draft to appeal, or just decide not to appeal at all.

  31. rcrobichaud says: Apr 25, 2011 6:40 PM

    And what you hear now is the coming of the end of professional sports as we know it. Good bye draft and the current form of free agency. After this, rich teams will get better and richer, recruite players right from college because there is no more draft and sign whoever they want, small market teams will eventually fold. This is not just an NFL ruling, you bet MLB, NBA and NHL are all watching. Soon no sport will have a draft, salary caps will be extinct and the Yankees will spend even more on players. This is the worst thing that could have happened, these talking heads can put whatever happy spin they want, within 5-7 years all major sports will undergo massive labour rule changes due to the anti trust suits brought on by greedy rich players that don’t know when enough is enough.

  32. crycal says: Apr 25, 2011 6:42 PM

    Ok, now explain to me why the owners don’t steal a page from the player’s “playbook”, excuse the pun. And do the “same” thing that the players did. Each and every owner could “sell” their respective team to the NFL. They could then be paid in stock from the new NFCO (NATIONAL FOOTBALL COORPERATION). This new corporation would then be a single entity with 32 separate divisions with the previous owners being named VP’s in charge of the their respective divisions. Now that they are a single company the antitrust laws would no longer exist. Would this be a sham? Well yes, but no more so than what the players have done through decertification.

  33. minormillikin says: Apr 25, 2011 6:42 PM

    I looked it up for us:


    verb /enˈjoin/ 
    enjoined, past participle; enjoined, past tense; enjoining, present participle; enjoins, 3rd person singular present

    1-Instruct or urge (someone) to do something
    – the code enjoined members to trade fairly

    2-Prescribe (an action or attitude) to be performed or adopted
    – the charitable deeds enjoined on him by religion

    3-Prohibit someone from performing (a particular action) by issuing an injunction


  34. zoxitic says: Apr 25, 2011 6:43 PM

    Millionaires 1
    Billionaires 0

  35. RussianBreadMaker says: Apr 25, 2011 6:43 PM

    Wish I could understand this, but I no speaky “Lawyer.”

  36. cappa662 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:44 PM

    Hopefully now, David Boies can do better things than fight for billionaire rights.

  37. upperdecker19 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:44 PM

    Can she “enjoin” the negotiators of both sides with the unemployment line?

  38. seabreezes51 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:45 PM

    Trading time!!
    What am I bid for QB, Kevin Kolb?
    Work fast, give us your very best offer, you don’t know how long the window will stay open!!

    P.S. Welcome Mr Asomugha…………

  39. kingjoe1 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:45 PM

    All I want to know is whether this mean the Eagles can quickly trade Kevin Kolb before the draft?

  40. dldavidlong says: Apr 25, 2011 6:45 PM


  41. gatorsrock says: Apr 25, 2011 6:46 PM


  42. daboltfan says: Apr 25, 2011 6:47 PM

    So what would be a realistic timetable of possible outcomes?

  43. wallyhorse says: Apr 25, 2011 6:48 PM

    It’s widely expected the NFL will appeal this, and a stay may very well be granted at some point, but for now, it appears everything is back to where it would normally be at this point.

    That said, I’ve been wondering if the reason the owners have been pushing for this lockout is because they were well aware of a situation like the one currently happening in Los Angeles with Jamie and Frank McCourt (with Major League Baseball having taken over the day-to-day operations of the Dodgers) could happen in the NFL if there turns out to be an owner who is in a situation where s/he had to do everything his/her spouse/significant other wants or that spouse/significant other turns around and creates major problems for that team. That to me is what could be more than anything behind this rather than the greed many people think the owners have.

  44. b7p19 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:49 PM

    OK, so what happens now?

  45. jkd198 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:50 PM

    This just means the “lockout,” is going to last longer. Sigh…

  46. lanjoith says: Apr 25, 2011 6:50 PM

    Mike, Does this mean free agency has started and will teams now be able to trade players, in addition to draft picks, during the draft?

  47. johnpa315 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:54 PM

    She is the ONLY one with any balls in this whole mess. The players, the owners and least of all the lawyers could care less about the fans. The players would rather trust their fate to the courts instead of negotiate and the 32 owners want as much money as they can squeeze out of us as they can. They keep raising ticket prices, food and drink, etc just to see how far they can push it. The mediators previously assigned were totally ineffective and accomplished nothing. This is the first real act of courage by anyone so far.

  48. smacklayer says: Apr 25, 2011 6:54 PM

    The player got what they wanted, NFL chaos. Time for Denver to make a play for Peyton Manning because there are no rules now – each and every player for himself.

    So there will be about 20 players making millions of dollars and about 1900 players making $40k.

    File this under becareful what you wish for.

  49. tomcous says: Apr 25, 2011 6:55 PM

    Does this now allow players to be traded for the draft?

  50. huskersrock1 says: Apr 25, 2011 6:55 PM

    You knew she was in the players pockets all along. The league will win on appeal.

  51. bobbyhoying says: Apr 25, 2011 6:57 PM

    The owners had to know this liberal would rule for the players. Obviously they will get her decision stayed by an appellate court. I still contend we’ll have replacement players, just like 87.

  52. mistrezzrachael says: Apr 25, 2011 6:58 PM

    Hate to say this…but NOW am hoping that the owners are successful in appeal…delay/eliminate free agency…and starve the players into submission.

    No way a union should be able to decertify, then start back up again, once they get what they manipulation of the labor laws, though legal.

    Get ready for the $300 per week waiver pick ups.

  53. jsratx says: Apr 25, 2011 7:06 PM

    I think I speak for football fans everywhere when I say – I really don’t care.

    Until I read the words, “there is a deal, games start on this date”, I could really care less. It’s much-ado about nothing none of us can control.

    Wake me up when there’s a deal.

  54. chapnastier says: Apr 25, 2011 7:12 PM

    Another liberal judge trying to litigate from the bench. What a sad day in sports.

  55. blackshirtz says: Apr 25, 2011 7:16 PM

    It looks like our fair and unbiased <> justice system has screwed the owners again.

    Though the words “the lockout is lifted” makes me happy, I still side with the owners; and I am still sick of the overpaid players and their egos.

  56. promin1 says: Apr 25, 2011 7:17 PM

    Ruining the game and the interest of the fans. I personally could give a flying F*ck about the NFL now because of all this. And Ive been a diehard fan for 30 years. Complete Bullsh*t.

  57. stanklepoot says: Apr 25, 2011 7:18 PM

    I really don’t get the impression that Nelson will grant a stay, but the league has to officially ask her first otherwise the appellate court will most likely kick it back to Nelson anyway. Appellate courts tend to be sticklers for making sure the proper process is followed, and have a habit of refusing to hear a motion if they feel that a necessary step has been skipped.

  58. lionsfan14 says: Apr 25, 2011 7:19 PM

    Well you dont speak for every NFL fan because with the lift of the lockout, then free agency can begin and REAL nfl fans take strong interest in free-agency IMO. idk thats just me tho

  59. nysports831 says: Apr 25, 2011 7:22 PM

    You COULDN’T care less…if you could, then you aren’t quite making a clear point on how little you care about the situation.

  60. dryheaveone says: Apr 25, 2011 7:24 PM

    jsratx says: “I really don’t care”…”I could really care less”….”Wake me up when there’s a deal”

    LMAO….yet you came to this site and just read that post with all the legal mumbo-jumbo.

  61. beastofeden says: Apr 25, 2011 7:25 PM

    @ JSRATX
    “I could really care less.”

    So, you do care? And you currently care enough that it can be dropped down a peg or two.

  62. prmpft says: Apr 25, 2011 7:28 PM

    …I think I speak for 80’s movie fans everywhere when I say – I really liked him in Breakfast Club…

  63. scytherius says: Apr 25, 2011 7:32 PM

    Is it possible for the people that always say, “the judge was in (fill in the blank)’s pocket” that we prohibit them from voting or breeding? Such stupidity has gotten old over the decades.

    This was an easy decision. Every lawyer on the planet (and I’m one of them) knew this would be the ruling.

  64. jrfrom508 says: Apr 25, 2011 7:34 PM

    this is sweet. speak for yourselves you pessimists, I pitched a tent in my jeans when I got this news. I’m very confident the circuit of appeals (albeit conservative) realize the thousands of jobs that are at stake. This ruling is a good sign, things will begin to progress. Life as I know it will be back on track within 48 hours. OHHHH YEAHHH KOOOOOOL AIDDDDD

  65. endzonezombie says: Apr 25, 2011 8:04 PM

    Isn’t it amazing how most of the league and owner shills have now left this site? I guess they were all called back to their stadium and training facility janitorial jobs in anticipation to the doors opening again soon. Now they have to be retrained all over again.

  66. stupadassle says: Apr 25, 2011 8:23 PM

    When the players realize they are cutting off their own heads they will cry a different story. Do they realize that the nfl can now offer players say $5k per game with no floor and no minimum. You can watch any of the current players that are middle of the road not offered more than $50k per year to play and they will be screaming. How foolish. I see more siding with owners everyday and it will only get worse.

  67. istateyourname says: Apr 25, 2011 8:27 PM

    Man is she stupid, the word is “enjoyed”.
    -Wes Welker

  68. skippynj says: Apr 25, 2011 8:37 PM

    Greedy f-ing owners. No different than the psls. Just a cynical money grab by the big market a-holes (that’s you jimma) trying their best to kill the goose. 9.5 bil just not enough. Can’t get it from the small market teams cuz they’re my partners so I’ll get it from the players end. Mafia bitches all.

  69. jebdamone says: Apr 25, 2011 9:10 PM

    gee…what a surprise…oh wait, no its not at all a surprise cause that’s what the precedent was and that’s what the laws define. also another reason why i wondered from the beginning how anyone was on the side of the owners.

  70. getweird4u says: Apr 25, 2011 10:53 PM

    Carson Palmer for a bucket of chicken wings…anyone?anyone….?

  71. fflnick says: Apr 26, 2011 4:45 AM

    NFL has to prove Judge Nelson acted improperly in appeals court.

    Their best argument…
    Judge Nelson ordered mediation.
    Mediation is for a dispute.
    In this case, a labor dispute.
    Judge ruled that labor law did not apply this was not a labor dispute.

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