As expected, a ruling on the players’ motion to lift the lockout came Monday.
As expected, the ruling favors the players.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that Judge Nelson has issued a ruling in favor of the players. The NFL reportedly will seek an immediate stay of the implementation of the decision.
If the stay is granted, the lockout would not be lifted until, at the earliest, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issues a ruling in the case. The players surely would request expedited consideration of the appeal.
If Judge Nelson refuses to grant the stay, the NFL surely would seek a stay from the appeals court.
If neither court gives the league the stay, the doors will be forced open, soon.
In the short term, it’s good news for the fans. If the ruling stands, the season will occur as scheduled. And maybe folks will even give a crap about the draft.
Meanwhile, if the ruling stands the NFL will at some point have to come up with rules for 2011 regarding free agency and the salary cap, if any. Those rules likely would then be challenged by the players as antitrust violations.
All that said, there could be important exceptions and details and nuances in Judge Nelson’s written ruling. We’re in the process of getting our hands on it. We’ll then break it all down in order to best understand why the decision was reached, whether it will be susceptible to appeal, and what it all means to you (and us), the fans of football.