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Ruling on stay expected Wednesday or Thursday

Oak Tree Reopens AP

With the temporary stay nearly five days old and the briefing and hearing schedule in place for the appeal of Judge Susan Nelson’s order lifting the lockout, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is expected to decide within the next two days whether to stay Judge Nelson’s ruling until the appeal is resolved.

Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that a ruling on the motion for a stay is expected to be issued on Wednesday or Thursday.

If the stay isn’t granted, the doors will re-open once again, and they’ll stay open for at least a month.  Which means that free agency will start and trades will be permitted and offseason workouts will commence.

If the stay is granted, well, I may have to break out the golf clubs for the first time since opening this 24/7/365 mom-and-pop operation.

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44 Responses to “Ruling on stay expected Wednesday or Thursday”
  1. kingjoe1 says: May 4, 2011 9:47 AM

    Well if the stay is granted, they still have the negotiation sessions in the middle of may. Perhaps, sense will prevail and and these two groups can hammer out a fair deal.

  2. rayvens11 says: May 4, 2011 9:51 AM

    while I think I side with the players on this lockout, considering the owners locked them out, i think they have done a terrible job representing the players to the media.

    Players calling everyone liars and comparing the draft to Slavery! really Slavery? I think the representation of the players is losing some credibility and the owners side has showed more class.

    Anyway lets play football.

  3. eagleswin says: May 4, 2011 9:51 AM

    If the stay is lifted, I predict they will still not sign any players. If they do, the league would need to institute new rules which would subject to antitrust (ie.. no franchise tag, etc). I don’t think they could even sign draft picks as the draft potentially violates the antitrust.

    Anyone who is signed would be able to practice but i don’t see teams adding new players unless they are ufa with no restrictions.

  4. grizzfire says: May 4, 2011 10:00 AM

    Bin Laden dead and the lockout ending in the same week?

    Ain’t gonna happen.

  5. micronin127 says: May 4, 2011 10:01 AM

    Please lift the lockout.

    Also, please issue an opinion on a set of rules that would not violate antitrust laws so that we don’t have to deal with another handful of lawsuits.

    I hate lawyers.

  6. laeaglefan says: May 4, 2011 10:16 AM

    They’ll no doubt decide that its easier to just keep the lockout in place until the appeal is decided….rather than the “on again, off again” approach.

  7. chapnastier says: May 4, 2011 10:16 AM

    We are already seeing the affects of the NFL situation on the NBA. The players have again denied an offer from the owners in that sport too. If the players win this battle, it may not only end football as we know it, but basketball and other sports as well. This is not good for the sports fans.

  8. alewatcher says: May 4, 2011 10:28 AM

    Maybe you can golf with Romo?

  9. geo1113 says: May 4, 2011 10:33 AM

    “If the stay is granted, well, I may have to break out the golf clubs for the first time since opening this 24/7/365 mom-and-pop operation.”
    ___________________________

    You got me. I am now in favor of the stay!!!!!!

  10. airraid77 says: May 4, 2011 10:41 AM

    hope your golf game is better than your attempts at acting like you are fair in your reporting.

  11. bronco1st says: May 4, 2011 10:45 AM

    Here’s hoping for the stay!

  12. touchdownroddywhite says: May 4, 2011 10:54 AM

    Just hire me and you can break out the clubs anyway.

    What’s your handicap? I’ll play you 18 holes. I win, you give me a job. I lose, I’ll stop asking!

    I’m kidding, I can’t golf.

  13. randolph32 says: May 4, 2011 10:59 AM

    Dust the cobwebs off your clubs, I’m not real confident in the result….

  14. vahawker says: May 4, 2011 11:01 AM

    Cut the crap and get a new CBA done. Both sides need to man up do what’s right instead of all the stupid sabre rattling.

  15. endzonezombie says: May 4, 2011 11:16 AM

    “What’s your handicap? I’ll play you 18 holes. I win, you give me a job. I lose, I’ll stop asking!

    I’m kidding, I can’t golf.”

    Your golf can’t be any worse than your posts.

  16. realitypolice says: May 4, 2011 11:20 AM

    I just found out the NBC Universal is showing all 78 Rugby World Cup matches live this fall, so now I don’t even care.

  17. nineroutsider says: May 4, 2011 11:29 AM

    You better get those clubs into the local pro-shop for a little love.

    I feel bad for the people playing behind you!

    The players should see the writing on the wall after this ruling and hopefully take that 5/16 date for negotiations to begin seriously. Stop paying the lawyers and start negotiating!

  18. friendlylittletrees says: May 4, 2011 11:30 AM

    Fine… Kill the season… Kill the sport….

    I will go back to watching paint dry and grass grow.

    I hate this.

  19. laeaglefan says: May 4, 2011 11:35 AM

    I doubt if many people really care if there’s a work stoppage in the NBA. I think that basketball players are generally perceived as even more grossly overpaid than football players and in my opinion, the NBA has become terribly boring in recent years. It seems like some teams are always on top and some teams are always on the bottom. There’s something to be said for the NFL’s “parity” approach to doing business.

  20. twindaddy says: May 4, 2011 11:40 AM

    Whoever does the pictures for these articles is retarded. What does golf have to do with the freakin lockout?

  21. chatham10 says: May 4, 2011 11:46 AM

    I only read about the lock out Mike, why don’t you bring up the fact that the players walked out and ended their union? I think that is a very important part of the news.

  22. firethorn1001 says: May 4, 2011 11:58 AM

    ‘What does golf have to do with the freakin lockout?’

    This isn’t Playboy, you can’t get away with just looking at the pictures. If you read the article you’ll connect the picture easy enough.

  23. duanethomas says: May 4, 2011 12:05 PM

    I only read about the lockout Mike, why don’t you bring up the fact the owners opted out of the CBA and imposed the lockout. I think that is a very important part of the news.

  24. olcap says: May 4, 2011 12:20 PM

    This is a farce. The 8th Circuit Court of the Corporatocracy, and the corporate lap dog ex-lawyer judges of which it is comprised, won’t even show any shame for the way they will bend over backwards to try to make the owners look like they are in the right.

    And for all you owner-shill new posters on the site, the fact that pro football is in the state it’s in is due to the owners’ position that we don’t like the way it was, we want more money (and therefore, players, you get LESS money), and since you won’t just hand it over, we will do everything we can to force you to take our way or the highway. That includes our bought and paid-for judges on the 8th circuit. So, your insistence that it’s the players fault because they walked away from your offer, is as ridiculous as Roggy Goodell trying to act like a regular guy, when in fact, he’s a fortunate one, a senator’s son, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, living large off the taxpayers, and has about as much knowledge of regular guy stuff as Oprah.

    The NFL owners will suffer from this lock-out, and it is so fitting that they will lose that which is most precious in their ridiculously boring lives, and that is money. And that is something I will find great joy in, in the coming years.

  25. bunjy96 says: May 4, 2011 12:26 PM

    If the stay is lifted, the owners will be in an untenable position.

    No mater they do, Kessler will have them back in court for anti trust violations.

    Its a lose lose situation for NFL football, as we have known it, if the stay is lifted.

  26. gtfan says: May 4, 2011 12:30 PM

    micronin127,

    believe me when I tell you that having idiots hate us is one of the things we love most about being lawyers.

    A set of rules that do not violate the antitrust laws would necessarily require a CBA. Opting out of the CBA –> antitrust violations.

  27. whags334 says: May 4, 2011 12:31 PM

    The one thing we have going for us is that Judges hate to over rule other judges decisions. Apparently, Nelson specifically wrote her ruling to withstand the appeal. I am optimistic that they won’t grant the stay because my Jags are in dire need of a couple of FA’s.

    The one major thing we have going against us is that players don’t really start losing any money, at least the ones that are signed, until the real games start in September. They make decent money for the pre-season but nothing that would motivate them to compromise on a deal, so they could get out there for two-a-day’s in 100 degree temperatures. So the owners and Smith are playing a game of chicken and the fans are the only ones who will really miss out. If if drags on too long, I hope they at least miss the pre-season so I don’t have to pay full price for exhibition games.

  28. freedomispopular says: May 4, 2011 12:34 PM

    Should have pulled put the golf clubs a long time ago so we wouldn’t be subjected to so many lame posts.

  29. rocketdogsports says: May 4, 2011 12:50 PM

    There are new dynamics coming into play regarding the lockout and they mean a lot in how strongly both parties defend their positions and view the current madness:
    1. The Owners: With the draft over, the focus from the bottom up (Coaches, Scouts, Operations staff and managers, etc) are bringing pressure to bear on their organizations and the higher managers, and therefore, the owners. Why? Because they see the reality of what is happening now and how little time there is to get a properly prepared team onto the field for the season regardless of when it starts. Additionally, a lot of these folks have taken pay cuts and it’s starting to hurt. Finally, the ability to add undrafted fee agents is a necessary piece of moviing any team forward and delaying that is seen as a real problem. Remember that not every team operates efficiently and delays/deviations from the s.o.p. have real negative effects. (Miami not getting playbooks to players is a good example)
    2. The Players: No money is not funny and it weighs heavily on a majority of NFL players even now. Additionally, the prioroties get reconfigured when players size up their competition for playing time and roster status now that there are draft picks in the mix. There is a good amount of unity in the NFLPA. But the cracks driven by individual needs and personal ambition and self doubt will start to show before too long.
    In summary, there are new pressures on all participants to get a deal done, or at least get the doors open.

  30. bunjy96 says: May 4, 2011 1:08 PM

    Doors open? To do what, specifically, that won’t cause an anti trust violation?

    Please list what they can legally do.

  31. packers291 says: May 4, 2011 1:13 PM

    If the stay is lifted, and there is no longer a CBA—

    Month long training camp, starting now thru June 3rd. Full contact. Why not? The players are under contract, and there are no rules preventing this. It will get the team ready to go and in better shape than the other teams (the teams can’t do the same things as other teams anymore—that would violate antitrust laws.).

    Sign your 4th 5th 6th and 7th rounders to below what was previously the league minimum. Provide minimal insurance.

    What are they gonna do? Go to the UFL?

    The players will quickly learn just how big the gap is between the NFL pay and the next best alternative. And they will quickly learn that a CBA is the only thing that will preserve that gap.

  32. stratomaticfan says: May 4, 2011 1:22 PM

    I can see it now. The stay is lifted. Free agency is declared open. The Owners sign nobody, figuring there’s uncertainty until the final ruling. And then….the players file collusion suit.

    How does this help?

  33. stratomaticfan says: May 4, 2011 1:25 PM

    Hey olcap:

    Go into your boss and tell them you want to see their books and demand a % of revenues go to the employees….see what they say.

    As Owners, they are entitled to the lion’s share of the profits. The employees are workers. They are entitled to wages and safe working conditions.

    The Owners ARE in the right.

  34. bunjy96 says: May 4, 2011 1:26 PM

    Can the NFL legally sign any contracts?

  35. stevecmh says: May 4, 2011 2:20 PM

    The quick timing of the court’s decision on granting a permanent stay of Judge Nelson’s ruling is a blessing to those of us who want football back now.

    The question of a permanent stay seems to revolve around the narrow question of whether the players, or the owners, will incur irreparable harm if the stay remains in place, or is lifted.

    It’s clear that hundreds of undrafted college players as well as many newly-drafted players will have significantly reduced NFL career prospects if the stay remains in place for another 4-8 weeks while the court decides the merits of the owners’ appeal. To a lesser degree, the same argument is also true for current free agent players who would have less time to market their services to the 32 teams.

    The owners’ argument seems to be that they may be harmed if they are forced to end the lockout and re-open for business. Their fear is that they may lose the anti-trust case that the players filed.

    I don’t know which argument has more legal weight because I’m not an attorney. However, from my perspective, the certainty of damage to player careers which only average about four years anyway has much greater weight than the possible damage the owners mention.

    Ending the lockout will encourage the owners to be more flexible in negotiations and eventually lead to a new CBA and settlement of lawsuits. That process will probably include a settlement of both the alleged anti-trust violation damages and the owner’s violation of the previous CBA by negotiating TV payments that would continue during a lockout (which Judge Doty already decided).

    The damages part of the TV payments during a lockout case is scheduled to begin this month in Minneapolis, so that may also encourage the owners’ to be more reasonable in their negotiating stance.

  36. bradjames33160 says: May 4, 2011 2:22 PM

    Even if the stay is granted, let’s hope May 16 is a good day. Perhaps it will be because we know owners have leverage as it should be. Meanwhile, Rashard Mendenhall, if you were really a slave, especially in ancient times, you wouldn’t have the right to share your thoughts about bin Laden which infuriated the masses without threat of even more imprisonment or death, just a thought.

  37. bronco1st says: May 4, 2011 4:24 PM

    If the stay is allowed and the lockout lifted, the league will be required by Judy’s court order to resume normal league activities. Whether that entails them enacting the rules/guidelines of the old CBA (most likely) or developing a set of new rules, is yet to be seen. Under any new rules, the league would need to be certain they are not breaking any antitrust laws in them. I doubt they follow that path just because of the amount of time involved due to the complexities and because of the prompting of the court to resume normal activities immediately. Trades and other normal acquisitions of player including contracts can be made under the old CBA rules however, although those contracts would be legal in courts, for those contracts to become finalized under any new CBA they will have to conform to any new rules of the of the new CBA for final approval. Of course final contract approval must be done by BOTH the league and AND the re-formed union. Since any CBA must be between a union and the league and not individual players, the union must re-form before a new CBA can be finalized. At the time when a new CBA is reached and finalized, all contracts made under the period between when the old CBA officially ended and when the new one comes into effect, will be under scrutiny and review to make sure it complies with the terms of the new CBA. I’m certain that this clause will be written into all of the contracts made during the period in question. So for example, a team could sign a FA for whatever amount and since this would not be subject to a rookie pay scale, it would likely stand as is barring any minor details such as amount of games to be played, withholding for retirement funds, workout and OTA/TC bonuses and any other minor details arising out of the new rules. Once those are corrected in the contract and barring any other violations of the rules/guidelines, the contract will no doubt be approved by both league and union. For rookies and UDFAs, the contracts will likely be made in accordance to falling within parameters already discussed by both sides as to the rookie wage scale proposals already made. These should not be too far off base since it is generally accepted that both sides wanted a RWS prior to the lockout and that they were close in their assessed proposals for a RWS. For example, the Broncos sign Miller to a $20M, 2-4 year deal with bonus incentives. When the new RWS is determined in the new CBA, those figures will go up or down accordingly based on the new RWS. Again, this clause will be written into all new contracts between drafted and undrafted rookies. It’s a little confusing but actually simple once you think about it and all of it certainly would be legal. There’s a lot of propaganda being spread out there, mostly scare tactics, but there is no reason that things cannot continue normally once the stay is ruled to continue while both side negotiate a new CBA and that includes playing the season. The league may choose to cancel all games until a new CBA is reached but in doing so, they risk not only losing those revenues but also incurring triple damages in the existing antitrust suits and will become subject to further suits for loss of ability to earn income as well as others, by the individual players AND incoming rookies. I believe that if the stay is deemed legal by the 8th court, the owners will have no recourse but to return to negotiations with the NFLPA* and workout a new CBA that is agreed to by both parties. Once the preliminary CBA is reached, the players must vote to re-form as a union to enter into it and then vote to accept it. Once that is done, we will have football for at least the next decade or longer depending on the agreed length of the new CBA. Any fan who wants to see football resume under the basic model we have had in the past, will want the stay to be kept. Of course the owners could appeal that decision to review or in a higher court, but IMO, that would just be delaying the inevitable and exposing them to even more damages and losses. We’ll see how it plays out but I do believe it will follow the basics I’ve outlined.

  38. eagleswin says: May 4, 2011 4:28 PM

    stevecmh says:May 4, 2011 2:20 PM

    The quick timing of the court’s decision on granting a permanent stay of Judge Nelson’s ruling is a blessing to those of us who want football back now.

    The question of a permanent stay seems to revolve around the narrow question of whether the players, or the owners, will incur irreparable harm if the stay remains in place, or is lifted.

    It’s clear that hundreds of undrafted college players as well as many newly-drafted players will have significantly reduced NFL career prospects if the stay remains in place for another 4-8 weeks while the court decides the merits of the owners’ appeal. To a lesser degree, the same argument is also true for current free agent players who would have less time to market their services to the 32 teams.

    The owners’ argument seems to be that they may be harmed if they are forced to end the lockout and re-open for business. Their fear is that they may lose the anti-trust case that the players filed.

    I don’t know which argument has more legal weight because I’m not an attorney. However, from my perspective, the certainty of damage to player careers which only average about four years anyway has much greater weight than the possible damage the owners mention.

    Ending the lockout will encourage the owners to be more flexible in negotiations and eventually lead to a new CBA and settlement of lawsuits. That process will probably include a settlement of both the alleged anti-trust violation damages and the owner’s violation of the previous CBA by negotiating TV payments that would continue during a lockout (which Judge Doty already decided).

    The damages part of the TV payments during a lockout case is scheduled to begin this month in Minneapolis, so that may also encourage the owners’ to be more reasonable in their negotiating stance.
    ———————————————–

    Let me ease your mind. Each football team has 53 roster spots. Those spots will be filled either with rookies or vets. There is no 3rd choice. There’s 53 spots per team now and there will be 53 spots per team in October. You can’t predict exactly what person will fill what roster spot but I can guarantee you that the owners will chose people from your irreperably harmed pool to fill out their rosters.

    If the owners need to hire players that aren’t currently on their rosters regardless of when FA starts, please explain how it’s clear that they are being harmed? The majority of the undrafted UFAs will not have jobs when the real money starts flowing on week 1 regardless. The majority of the drafted players will and owners will try to save money by signing the cheapest vets to fill out the bottoms of their rosters. If a player currently on the roster loses his job to a drafted player is he irreperably harmed? It happens every year.

    I also question your grip on reality by suggesting that the owners need to be more flexible and reasonable while ignoring that the players have shown ZERO flexibility. How have the players shown they are flexible at all? I suppose it was because they were so reasonable that they declined to negotiate and instead litigate? The owners have moved on several issues, the players not so much.

    It’s one thing to support the players but your post reads like a love letter to them. A little objectivity please.

  39. stevecmh says: May 4, 2011 5:16 PM

    @ bronco1st

    Appreciate your detailed comments here, and the thoughtful and professional presentation of your opinions (in contrast to the comment that followed yours).

    As I understand it, the owners will have a serious anti-trust problem if the lockout injunction is restored. It doesn’t matter what the owners do regarding league rules, they will likely be in violation of anti-trust laws because separate companies cannot come together and establish common labor rules/policies/salaries, etc. without a labor contract in place.

    A labor contract gives employers immunity from anti-trust violations related to all issues that were collectively-bargained and agreed to in a CBA. [For example, it's no different than UPS and FedEx deciding together what to pay their drivers, what kind of benefits to give them, etc. In the USA, that is illegal.]

    BTW, the NFL argued it was one business entity before the Supreme Court last year, not 32 separate businesses. The Court disagreed with the NFL by a 9-0 vote, so that anti-trust defense will not work at all.

    A new CBA will need to include a settlement between the owners and players of ALL open legal issues, or the two sides will never come to terms. They will resolve it through their negotiations just as it was done in the early 90’s.

    I think the CBA put in place in the 90’s helped to increase the success of the NFL over the last 18 years. Remember, it was the result of negotiations, and judicial oversight, over an extended period of time. I am comfortable with this same process being used again to achieve similar results now.

    The courts are only involved because the owners have violated US law in the pursuit of their labor goals. The courts determined that in the 90’s, and we already have two courts that have reached the same conclusion now.

  40. flik44 says: May 4, 2011 5:49 PM

    What the hell do you do with this that’s so involved you can’t do it from the driving range with a cell phone anyway?

  41. bronco1st says: May 4, 2011 9:09 PM

    @stevecmh

    Good, well thought points by you as well however, the owners do have a few protections going for them to defend against any possible anti-trust violations.

    1) Judge Nelson has ordered them to lift the lockout and to resume “normal” business practice. Under the definition of normal, working under the old CBA/guidelines must be assumed as “normal” even though it was not specified by the judge. Those are the normal business practices they have been working under for the last 18 years under the most current CBA. To create new rules to fit their present needs would be opening themselves to the charge of implementing abnormal rules and therefore, would not only be time consuming but also foolish by the owners, as it may be indeed a violation of the antitrust laws.

    2) Although the suit filed is a antitrust suit, it arises from a labor dispute between union and owners. To continue under the old labor rules/guidelines does not create any additional instances or new instances of breaking antitrust laws. The jeopardy would be very minimal under those circumstances, especially given the fact that they were ordered to resume business as normal by court order.

    3) Creating contracts with players and even partaking in trade activity is fully allowable under even rules not governed by a CBA. A league, club, trade association or any other nonprofit organized group activity is perfectly legal along with their right to follow whatever rules they agree to as long as those rules do not breaking existing laws of discrimination, antitrust behavior or other illegal activities, etc. The NFL is a nonprofit organization so for the team owners to follow the rules adopted and passed by the league and it’s owners is not antitrust activity.

    There’s more, finer points but just the ones I have listed should quell any fear of falling afoul of any antitrust laws while doing normal business and while continuing negotiations for preliminary agreement to a CBA. As I mentioned before, any such agreed upon resolution would require the approval of a labor union which will only be re-formed once an agreement has been reached. That preliminary agreement will undoubtedly involved the withdrawal of any and all antitrust suits now being considered.

    Since it’s inception, the players union has decertified and re-formed twice during past labor disputes. Decertification therefore, does not constitute a sham anymore than a lockout does (there have been 2 lockouts in the NFL and many more in other sports).

  42. stevecmh says: May 5, 2011 2:08 AM

    @ bronco1st

    Thanks for the excellent insights. Looks like we are generally in agreement though I will readily concede that your comments definitely helped to refine and clarify my more limited understanding of anti-trust matters.

    Hopefully, the owners’ more limited anti-trust exposure will make it easier to come to an agreement with the players.

    I’d be interested in your thoughts on the alleged statement of the Clerk of the Appeals Court that the Court may simply not make a ruling on staying the injunction permanently. Does that happen often as far as you know?

    Thanks!

  43. macjacmccoy says: May 5, 2011 12:59 PM

    I had a good feeling before Judge Nelson lifted the lockout and a bad 1 before the temporary stay was granted. Right now I have a bad feeling that they are going to give them a full stay.

    I havent been wrong yet. Which blows.

  44. stevecmh says: May 5, 2011 2:45 PM

    You’re right, that does blow. ;-)

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