The league apparently has decided to wait for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to rule on the NFL’s request for a stay pending appeal of the order lifting the lockout. The players believe that the league has no reason to delay starting the 2011 league year.
“Last night, Judge Nelson issued a 20 page decision denying the NFL’s request to stay (delay) the injunction she issued on Monday in the Brady v. NFL litigation that the NFL must stop the lockout,” lawyers Jim Quinn and Jeffrey Kessler wrote in a memo to all players and agents, a copy of which PFT has obtained. “The decision denying the stay is once again very strong, and rejected all of the NFL’s arguments. Accordingly, the order ending the lockout is in full, immediate force.
“The NFL has filed for an emergency stay with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, while the Eighth Circuit considers the NFL’s stay request. Unless and until such a request is granted, however, we believe the 2011 League Year now has to begin; the Clubs must open their facilities to allow players to work out, meet with coaches and otherwise perform their jobs; and the NFL and the Clubs cannot collectively continue to refuse to deal with players. It is our view that the NFL and the Clubs will be in contempt of court if they do not comply with the order unless and until they hear differently from the Eighth Circuit.
“We will let you know later today what the NFL is going to do to comply with this order, and what the specific schedule will be going forward.”
We agree with everything they’ve said. The orders are clear — and the league’s effort to delay the lifting of the lockout have served only to make the situation clearer. The lockout is over. Turning players away, as at least three of the teams have done, constitutes contempt of court.
The next question very well could be if — and when — the days without an arrest meter is re-set to zero based on the incarceration of an owner for failing to comply with the multiple federal court orders.