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Time to strike a deal is before, not after, Eighth Circuit rules

Goodell_Smith AP

We’ve seen somewhere today a suggestion that the renewed talks between the NFL and the NFLPA* will continue until the Eighth Circuit issues a ruling on the appeal of Judge Nelson’s order lifting the lockout, and that after the ruling the shift in the leverage will help nail down a final deal.

That’s precisely what shouldn’t happen.

On multiple occasions, the NFL has said that it wants the next labor deal to be fair to both sides, so that neither the owners nor the players will feel compelled in two or three years to pull the plug and take a stand.  The best way to craft a win-win agreement comes not after one side “wins” this critical phase of the legal proceedings, but before.

If they wait until there’s a clear winner and a clear loser on the question of whether the lockout will be lifted (and, despite Judge Kermit Bye’s admonition that neither side will like the ruling, there likely will be a clear winner and a clear loser), a win-win outcome will happen only if the clear winner decides to be uncharacteristically magnanimous.  So the time to do a lasting deal is now, before the Eighth Circuit rules.

Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com mentioned on Twitter earlier today that “multiple sources” tell him a deal “could” be reached before the Eighth Circuit rules.  Without question, it should be.

And to the extent that anyone fears the two sides are playing beat the clock, with a game-changing ruling from the Eighth Circuit springing up just as the parties close in on an accord, it’s safe to assume that the folks in St. Louis will be keeping tabs on the mediation process that has been coordinated by Judge Nelson.  The court system always prefers the parties finding their own justice to imposing justice upon them, especially in high-profile cases like this one.

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43 Responses to “Time to strike a deal is before, not after, Eighth Circuit rules”
  1. scott8nj says: Jun 4, 2011 8:37 PM

    This is why no one understands the reason to be in this position. There is so much room to compromise and everyone wind up rich. Owners and players alike will be hated if games are missed.

  2. descendency says: Jun 4, 2011 8:40 PM

    The only way the fans should consider this a victory is if it is a 4+ year deal, that has the union reform, and both sides have lots of talking points on how they “won.”

    Anything else is just going to end us up in the same situation in 4 years time.

  3. duanethomas says: Jun 4, 2011 8:45 PM

    Cue the pro-owner shills…..”The owners have made two offers the players haven’t countered”

    “The players walked away for the negotiating table”

    “DeMaurice Smith is only piling up fees”

    “DeMaurice Smith is a shyster and moron”

    Question? Why are the players and owners close to striking a deal, if there has been no counter offer?

    When there is a CBA why will it be a win..win for both parties?

    You shills want to the players crushed, that’s not going to happen. Those two partners will work a deal that is satisfactory to both sides.

    As long as the owners keep making concessions there will be a deal. Remember…No deal. No Football in 2011.

  4. toiletking says: Jun 4, 2011 8:54 PM

    No chance of this. The owners already know the outcome of this–half of them likely belong to the same country club/masonic lodge/puppy-torturing-satanic cult as the two bush-appointed judges.

    You’re going to have a couple more months at least of trying to fill these increasingly empty pages.

  5. oldbrowndawg says: Jun 4, 2011 9:07 PM

    I agree. The best time to get the lawyers out of the process is always NOW. The best time to avoid ever getting them involved again is a day ending in the letter “y”

  6. GG Eden says: Jun 4, 2011 9:13 PM

    So what was the point of the NFL opting out of the last CBA and forcing a lockout….and what was the point of the NFLPA decertifiying and starting multiple suits…..if they end up just agreeing to a win-win deal now? Before the Eighth Circuit rules? A ‘win-win’ deal that would be pretty much exactly like the old CBA was.

    Imo, the players (and their lawyers), and the NFL (and their lawyers) have gone too far in their plans and bunkered down in their war rooms for their bigger picture, that we won’t see a CBA agreed to soon. Otherwise, again, it was all pointless.

  7. 1phd says: Jun 4, 2011 9:13 PM

    The outcome is pretty much a given anyway, considering the make up of the court and their past ruling and comments.

    If both sides dig in and wait, then the likelihood of missing games or even the season becomes greater and greater.

    Last chance romance guys.

  8. commandercornpone says: Jun 4, 2011 9:14 PM

    courts are NOT always like that.

    the union* WILL appeal further if they dont like the result shortly.

  9. dempsey63 says: Jun 4, 2011 9:29 PM

    Maybe the pressure should come from the general managers. They’re the ones that have the most to gain/lose when the bell sounds for free agency to resume and an Oklahoma land rush ensues regarding the signing of undrafted prospects.

  10. vahawker says: Jun 4, 2011 9:39 PM

    Cue DeMoronthomas to say cue the pro-owner shills. Boring, predictable, and more than a little stupid.

    The time to get a deal done was before it ever went to court.

  11. sml1950 says: Jun 4, 2011 9:40 PM

    Smith should be fired for incompetence if he let’s this go to decision. The players will lose any future ability to avert lockouts even with more favorable courts. Allowing this precedent to be set now would be incomprehensible and negotiation is the only avenue available.

  12. trbowman says: Jun 4, 2011 9:50 PM

    Thumps up if you think there’ll be a regular season

    Thumbs down if you think there won’t be (or a reduce amount of games)

  13. hobartbaker says: Jun 4, 2011 9:53 PM

    Get it done before those old guys in the black bathrobes pass away peacefully in their sleep, or get the urge to hole up in their basements to take shelter from the Blitz, or something.

  14. thekingdave says: Jun 4, 2011 9:55 PM

    @duanethomas

    First bishes!! My how you’ve grown up.

  15. hobartbaker says: Jun 4, 2011 10:11 PM

    “Strike while the iron is hot”, or as they say in legal circles, “Strike while those withered old bodies up there are still warm”.

  16. j0esixpack says: Jun 4, 2011 10:15 PM

    I favor letting Howie Mandell and 24 beautiful women in slinky dresses help the parties settle this.

  17. terminatorlikesmaids says: Jun 4, 2011 10:19 PM

    Hey… is that the same Duane Thomas that played for the Cowboys and Redskins. No wonder he is on here eryday riding the players horse. Hey, the ultimate bipolar career….Cowboys and Redskins. HTTR.

  18. ytownie says: Jun 4, 2011 10:24 PM

    1phd is right. Republicans are anti-union. Look at recent events in Wisconsin and Ohio and remember that Reagan fired all the air traffic controllers when they went on strike. With two Bushies on this court, it doesn’t look good for the NFLPA. Get a deal done or face a busted union.

  19. firemarshal1 says: Jun 4, 2011 10:27 PM

    Mike:

    I agree. It’s time for a deal to get done. For one, Owners and players can’t afford to miss any games. Remember, most if not all the NFL stadiums have been partially/fully/half funded by the USA taxpayers. As a taxpayer, we should demand payment for our shared investment. Please include the public funded roads as part of the stadium financing. Nobody gets a free pass. That’s includes the OWNERS.

  20. nahcouldntbethat says: Jun 4, 2011 10:33 PM

    The next level of appeal is to the Supreme Court. The SC is most likely to just decline to hear the appeal. End of story on the lockout issue.

    Assuming the court did hear the appeal the decision would be 5-4 one way or the other and Anthony Kennedy is much likelier to rule to not end the lockout than to uphold the Minnesota court’s decision.

    In case nobody has noticed lately, the only thing that is important in major cases in the federal courts is who appointed the judges making the rulings.

    The day when justice was the primary function of the federal appellate system is over. Now it’s just a political football, like everything else in America’s public space.

  21. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: Jun 4, 2011 10:40 PM

    Why is it that some folks ALWAYS expect the owners to be “uncharacteristically magnanimous?” Is it simply because the owners have “deep pockets”?

    The time to strike a deal is AFTER the Eighth Circuit rules. The upcoming ruling here will, I suspect, level the legal “playing field” somewhat and provide some desperately needed case law for potential future litigation in the sports world and beyond. I expect the Court will hold that Judge Nelson did not have jurisdiction to enjoin the lockout, and that the non-statutory labor exemption bars the players’ antitrust lawsuit. I think Clement made a persuasive argument that the implied antitrust immunity conferred by the non-statutory labor exemption lasts at least a “business cycle” (e.g., one year), if not longer. Whether Circuit Judges Colloton and Benton agree, or impose another (shorter) end point, remains to be seen. I don’t see the Court imposing an end point per se on the lockout. That means both parties will have incentive to fashion a new CBA to end the lockout.

  22. jacksaysfu says: Jun 4, 2011 10:43 PM

    .As a philly fan this lockout is killin me. Split it 50/50 and every1 will still pull crazy profit . I know the franchises pay all the bills but most players contracts are not guaranted and we pay to see the athletes who on average last only 3yrs. The owners chose this lockout , but the union better smarten up &counter b/c the owners are gonna win in court… ….. Once.the NFL comes back
    heres my dream (never gonna happen) trade .Eagles send kolb and 2012 2rd pick for (cb) peterson,2012 4th rd pick and philly can swap 1st rounders wit AZ next year… Just a fantasy.

  23. terminatorlikesmaids says: Jun 4, 2011 10:46 PM

    I say, just let Dan Snyder, Jerry Jones, Arthur Blank, and Robert Kraft get in the octagon vs Rodney Harrison and Shaun Suisham. Winner gets the extra billion off of the top.

  24. bangyourhead4 says: Jun 4, 2011 10:47 PM

    There’s a lesson to be learned here.
    Never wait until the last minute to get something done. If both sides would of started talking during last years season, then maybe none of this would remotely be happening.

  25. GG Eden says: Jun 4, 2011 10:59 PM

    If you think about the dynamic at play, “fans” (and i’m one of them) are kinda stupid.

    We shell out our money via taxes to get taj mahal stadiums built, easing the load off billionaire owners by half the cost. Then we willingly pay exorbitant prices to attend these buildings we helped build, and the increased food/beverages/merchandise prices, to make these billionaires richer.

    If we’re paying for a lot of it, the prices for everything associated with them should be lowered.

  26. mvottop19 says: Jun 4, 2011 11:04 PM

    Who cares!!! The NFL is gonna break the lockout and were gonna have a season!!!

  27. GG Eden says: Jun 4, 2011 11:07 PM

    That’s like a businessman saying to a community:-

    Im gonna renovate the mill/factory in your town that I own, give it better equipment/etc to increase production and company profit, add a new cafeteria, add a gym/play room, etc…all by using half of your money to build it. And as part of that package, I will pay you less than you earned before, and prices for meals etc will be doubled.

  28. chatham10 says: Jun 4, 2011 11:07 PM

    I read these posts about two of the judges in St. Louis who voted for the owners were appointed by Bush and how one sided that is but I never heard or read these same posters say a word about Judge Nelson who voted for the players in Mpls was appointed by Obama.

  29. jacksaysfu says: Jun 4, 2011 11:09 PM

    Please make a deal !!!! I wanna see the kolb sqeepstakes begin(if there is one) and happily watch my eagles try to overpay for asoughma (sp?) .Him and asante would be deadly. FA signings , trades , position battles. God , please sign a CBA !! I miss reading about real nfl news . Oh and to mike williams , you will always be fat to me !

  30. realfann says: Jun 4, 2011 11:14 PM

    I think an excellent case can be made looking at the long painful history of NFL labor relations that CBAs do not lead to long lasting labor peace

    And that we, the fans, would be better off with no unions, no CBA and no anti-trust exemption.

    My industry hasn’t had a strike, lockout or any other kind of industrial action for 100 years.

    We don’t go to court, we don’t spend millions on lawyer fees and we all makes money, employers & employees alike.

    We don’t have a CBA.

  31. GG Eden says: Jun 4, 2011 11:19 PM

    Especially too with all these new soft rules coming in that spoil the integrity of the physical contest and spectacle for the fans themselves.

    Some players have talked before about how the players should be part of the Rules Committee. I would be 100% for a CBA (even if it’s just delaying the inevitable again in future) if they negotiated part of that CBA was the players having a 50% representation in the Rules Committee.

  32. blackdb says: Jun 4, 2011 11:45 PM

    not gonna happen

  33. southmo says: Jun 4, 2011 11:47 PM

    I can’t wait until a deal is reached and all the political slams and name-calling is replaced by NFL smack talk and name-calling.

    Although, I am looking forward to realfann being upset that the draft still exists.

  34. hardcorevikesfan says: Jun 4, 2011 11:58 PM

    Hell, it was time to get a deal done months ago. However at this point I will take any kind of deal. I want free agency to start. I want to be able to watch the NFL this year.

  35. duanethomas says: Jun 5, 2011 12:48 AM

    thekingdave says:
    Jun 4, 2011 9:55

    I’m censored. I am first all the time but they delay the post and put me where they want. Very petty….so for old time sake……FIRST BISHES!!!!!!

  36. angrytna says: Jun 5, 2011 12:54 AM

    Thank You for those words “Captain Obvious”.

  37. richsaint says: Jun 5, 2011 1:19 AM

    I have been absolutely glued to my pc about all this, its fascinates me, dont get me wrong I hope its over tomorrow, or the next day or basically in the damn near future, with no time missed.
    But the one thing that dawned on me the other day, this whole thing, it isnt about $1b its about $600m. You say, how is that? We’ve been told this is about $1b?!?!
    Weeeelllll.
    The owners and players split at a 60/40 rate all revenues minus $1b off the top so for 2010 (had the cba been in place with a cap) that would have been a split of 4.8 billion going to the players.
    Now if you take 1 more billion off the top, the owners with the previous split would have gotten $400m of that money anyway the players would have received $4.2b At that point the owners are receiving $4.8b so its almost an exact flip.
    That being said, why dont they just agree to working out a slightly less lopsided deal? one that in the future will be less short sited for both of them? They talk about the 50/50 split the players want, right now they are getting more than that with the 60/40 after the first billion is taken off and if I had to hazard a guess that is what they are trying to preserve, because once the NFL hits above $10b in revenue they will automatically be making more with “only” a billion off the top than a 50/50 split, Demaurice is not nearly as dumb as people on here try to portray him as, he knows this.
    Personally if I were the owners I would either try to work out a deal with $1b off the top then 50/50 from then on out (which will benefit the players GREATLY again once the NFL Revenues climb toward 20b) If I were the players I would say, yeah go ahead, take 2b off the top, but preserve out 60/40 after that because they will see a substantial growth in the almost immediate future if they go that route.

  38. grantgoodman93 says: Jun 5, 2011 2:00 AM

    I think that NFL fans at opening day should make a damn point. Boo every player that comes out, every owner introduced, etc. Boo who you feel is in the wrong, i dont want them to get away thinking all is well. I want backlash for these ridiculous last couple of months.

  39. bonniebengal says: Jun 5, 2011 7:43 AM

    Toiletking says: ” No chance of this. The owners already know the outcome of this–half of them likely belong to the same country club/masonic lodge/puppy-torturing-satanic cult as the two bush-appointed judges.”

    I can see why your name is Toilet King. Just sayin.

  40. 1mge says: Jun 5, 2011 11:10 AM

    Why would an employee get/demand any % of revenue is mind boggling! Use a fixed salary cap with a yearly cost of living increase… unless the employees will sign personally liable for any & all debt/loans obtained by the their employer & take a weekly reduced pay for empty seats!

    FYI for the stupid Lib postings… Reps don’t hate all unions, just public sector(state employee) unions as there not bargaining with a fat cigar smoking CEO…there bargaining against us the tax payers hence the fights in WI & OH etc..!

    You want a separation of Church & State… how about a separation of Union & State!!!!

    Now lets get back to football & leave the politics for another web!

  41. GG Eden says: Jun 5, 2011 11:17 AM

    Further on my first post (about what was the point if they agree to a win-win now)…..they’ll BOTH come out very bad to the fans because the whole ordeal only alienated fans, it was a massive waste of time, effort, resources, and ‘internet trees’ to just end up spit-roasting the same CBA.

    Fans love football and will forget etc, but really they shouldn’t. They should make the players and owners feel ashamed and booed for doing all this for nothing in the end.

    The only ones who come out good in this are the coaches. They don’t get enough love. Everyone fawns over the players, they players making tens of millions, the owners rolling in money, but it’s the coaches who are the true employees and very close to where the fans are in this too.

    Love your coaches more!

  42. nmeagle33 says: Jun 5, 2011 12:07 PM

    Get rid of the lawyers, might get a new CBA then.

  43. patsandsox says: Jun 5, 2011 1:35 PM

    without the star players non of us would watch. without the owners there wouldnt be pro football.

    I dont know about some of the people that want replacement players, I saw that the last time and it sucked.

    Even the owners are smarter than that, they dont want replacements.

    People pay to see Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady not scabs.

    So split the friggin thing 50 50 and get back to real football, its the only smart thing to do.

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