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Eighth Circuit rules that lockout may continue

MootFestival-01

Five weeks ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit heard oral arguments on whether Judge Susan Nelson’s decision to end the lockout should be upheld or overturned.  At the end of the hearing, Judge Kermit Bye urged the parties to work out a resolution, hinting that neither side would like the ruling.

Throughout the past five weeks, it appeared that the Eighth Circuit was holding the ruling unless and until the negotiations fizzled out.  Given that the Eighth Circuit had agreed to expedite all aspects of the appeal, the ongoing delay seemed to confirm that suspicion.

But the clock finally has run out.  The Eighth Circuit has posted at its website a 34-page decision that strikes down Judge Nelson’s decision and allows the lockout to continue.

Specifically, the Eighth Circuit ruled that the Norris-LaGuardia Act prevents courts from issuing orders that end strikes or lockouts.  Judge Bye, to no surprise, disagreed with the ruling.

While it appears to be a big win for the NFL, it wasn’t unexpected.  And it’s far from the complete win the NFL wanted at this stage.  As to the critically important question of whether the nonstatutory labor exemption survives the decertification of the NFLPA, the Eighth Circuit made no ruling — which means that even though the lockout can continue, a chance remains that the lockout later will be found to be illegal, exposing the NFL to a potential verdict of $12 billion or more if the 2011 season is lost.

We feared all along that the Eighth Circuit would issue a ruling that dramatically changes the dynamics of the situation as the parties were close to resolving the situation.  And there’s a chance that the parties will need to tap the brakes and evaluate the ruling before continuing to talk.

In the end, they should agree that the ruling changes nothing.  As expected, the lockout may continue.  As expected, the players have the ability to pursue a gargantuan verdict if the lockout wipes out regular-season games.

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53 Responses to “Eighth Circuit rules that lockout may continue”
  1. heisthejuan says: Jul 8, 2011 10:48 AM

    These A-holes couldn’t have waited one more week for this?

  2. blakeneyj says: Jul 8, 2011 10:49 AM

    Fingers crossed they just ignore this and keep moving forward.

  3. goawayeverybody says: Jul 8, 2011 10:51 AM

    Why this ruling now? If this ruling in any way derails the progress that has been made, I’m gonna be pissed.

  4. raythestabber says: Jul 8, 2011 10:52 AM

    So can we get back to football now?

  5. twitter:Chapman_Jamie says: Jul 8, 2011 10:52 AM

    The lockout has now been ruled legal, the NFL will never be on the hook for any money should the season be canceled. Let’s hope the players realize their role as employees now and come to an agreement before its too late. It is clear that if a season is lost, it is the fault of the players as many of us knew all along.

  6. captainwisdom8888 says: Jul 8, 2011 10:52 AM

    Lets have the greed between these two parties take a back seat…the fans are driving this league anyway.

    Don’t bite the hand that feeds…

  7. imjinbrdgr says: Jul 8, 2011 10:52 AM

    If the players and owners wait for the courts to decide this it will take at least a year and wipe out this coming season. The two sides need to come to an agreement on their own. NOW

  8. irisht53 says: Jul 8, 2011 10:53 AM

    While I hope the players realize they are negotiating from a weaker position, as far as leverage is concerned, and become a little more willing to bend on certain issues (i.e. Rookie Wage scale), I REALLY hope the owners don’t view this as an oppportunity to “crush” the players and not take away anything that’s already been agreed upon, nor lower their offer (if for example, the owners last offer was up to 46% of every dollar to the players, don’t back that off to 40% of every dollar, just because they’re in a position of a little more power).

  9. ac0117 says: Jul 8, 2011 10:54 AM

    great

  10. annnann says: Jul 8, 2011 10:54 AM

    Let’s hope it doesn’t halt the ongoing talks.

  11. pkrjones says: Jul 8, 2011 10:55 AM

    This ruling basically tells the players that the lockout is legal, giving the owners slightly more leverage than they had before.

    It also leaves the door open to a possible huge verdict against the owners if the NFLPA* slams on the brakes, giving the players slightly more leverage than they had before.

    Both sides need to continue to negotiate in good faith, applying the accelerator (not tapping the brakes) so that the teams and league can return to normalcy (soon!) without any missed games/revenue. Free agents and rookies are the big losers, in addition to us fan-atics.

  12. marty2019 says: Jul 8, 2011 10:56 AM

    This ruling changes nothing. The driving force behind getting deal done is still there: the money that would be lost by both sides if games are missed.

  13. ampats says: Jul 8, 2011 10:57 AM

    Now close the deal. Lets have pre-season.

    Could be the most interesting season in years.

  14. PFTiswhatitis says: Jul 8, 2011 10:57 AM

    This ruling will have little effect. The owners want to get a deal done and they know that the clock is ticking on the season. They have a little more leverage for some of the smaller points yet to be negotiated. NOn-issue. This whole lockout/renegotiation while tiring and annoying has been blown out of proportion. The season will begin shortly. If it doesn’t then everyone loses.

  15. ampats says: Jul 8, 2011 10:57 AM

    With this news,it would be interesting to see how many hits PFT gets today.

  16. rpiotr01 says: Jul 8, 2011 10:58 AM

    I think this is what they meant when they said neither side would like the verdict.

    It really changes nothing. Basically says the owners are free to lock the players out for a year or as long as they please, but at the end of the day they’re wide open to that major anti-trust verdict.

    Says to the players that yes, you’re free to pursue those billions and change the face of the game, but at what cost? That would only come after those 1,500 guys stop playing football for a season or more.

    Get a deal done now, play football and make money.

  17. youngs79 says: Jul 8, 2011 10:59 AM

    Billionaires fighting Millionaires while fans pick up the tab.

  18. folkcrusader says: Jul 8, 2011 11:01 AM

    Link? Not seeing this ruling on the 8th circuit site.

  19. bobbyd12 says: Jul 8, 2011 11:02 AM

    And out of the left field stands comes the huge monkey wrench!!

  20. hobartbaker says: Jul 8, 2011 11:04 AM

    When the call came for dissenting votes, Kermit shouted out “Bye!……..and Bye”, hoping to create a deadlock. But he has used that tactic before and the other two judges weren’t fooled this time.

  21. elleclouds says: Jul 8, 2011 11:05 AM

    In other news, talks have broken down again due to the ruling and fans continue to be ignored and tormented.

  22. purpleman527 says: Jul 8, 2011 11:05 AM

    The only finger with any power is De “the finger” Smith.

    “The finger” is about to respond.

  23. laeaglefan says: Jul 8, 2011 11:08 AM

    The timing of this announcement is certainly questionable. Why now, when an agreement seems within reach? We can only hope that the owners are committed to continue the process and draw this fiasco to a conclusion. The players surely have motivation now to finish it up. If this announcement halts the progress that has been made, we can kiss the 2011 season goodbye.

  24. realitypolice says: Jul 8, 2011 11:11 AM

    While the timing of the ruling is curious, I don’t believe it will affect negotiations in a meaningful way since it is exactly the ruling everyone was expecting.

    Maybe they feared (or heard) that one side or the other was dragging their feet a little holding out hope that the ruling would shift the leverage and they wanted to get the ruling out of the way so that wouldn’t be the case.

    No matter- deal will done in advance of training camp opening, which is all that really matters.

  25. Kaz says: Jul 8, 2011 11:11 AM

    There’s no legal system. It’s all politics now…

  26. realitypolice says: Jul 8, 2011 11:16 AM

    twitter:Chapman_Jamie says:
    Jul 8, 2011 10:52 AM
    The lockout has now been ruled legal, the NFL will never be on the hook for any money should the season be canceled.
    ===================

    That is a strange, and completely inaccurate statement.

    If the lockout continues and the season is cancelled, their is still a possibility that the lockout can be declared illegal after the season is missed, which would leave the league open to huge damages- possibly up to 12 billion dollars.

    Which is pretty clearly spelled out in the article, which I’m not really sure you actually read past the headline.

  27. marjones45 says: Jul 8, 2011 11:19 AM

    twitter:Chapman_Jamie says:
    Jul 8, 2011 10:52 AM
    The lockout has now been ruled legal, the NFL will never be on the hook for any money should the season be canceled. Let’s hope the players realize their role as employees now and come to an agreement before its too late. It is clear that if a season is lost, it is the fault of the players as many of us knew all along.
    ____________________________________
    Not surprisingly, you are wrong and have missed the entire point.

  28. grndizzle says: Jul 8, 2011 11:21 AM

    So does this mean I should go ahead and call DirecTV and cancel my Sunday NFL ticket package. I think the $400 would be better spent getting tickets to watch My Badgers host Nebraska in the Big Ten opener in October.
    GO BUCKY!

  29. CKL says: Jul 8, 2011 11:25 AM

    Neither side should hammer the other with any favorable court ruling. That’s always been my position. Dropping a hammer is not something conducive to lead to long term labor peace IMO. And THAT is the real objective.

  30. Kaz says: Jul 8, 2011 11:26 AM

    grndizzle says:
    So does this mean I should go ahead and call DirecTV and cancel my Sunday NFL ticket package. I think the $400 would be better spent getting tickets to watch My Badgers host Nebraska in the Big Ten opener in October.
    GO BUCKY!
    ____

    You mean you still haven’t canceled SNFLT?

  31. deadeye says: Jul 8, 2011 11:38 AM

    “There’s no legal system. It’s all politics now…”

    ===============================

    You couldn’t figure that out when Judge Nelson tried to illegally lift the lockout?

  32. pftstory says: Jul 8, 2011 11:40 AM

    It doesn’t change anything because it was signalled that this is what the ruling would be.
    If anything it helps because it clearly defines that the path being followed based on the expected ruling is the correct path. The parties can negotiate without any wondering that MAYBE the appeal wont be what they expected.

  33. twitter:Chapman_Jamie says: Jul 8, 2011 11:43 AM

    @ realitypolice and Majorjones

    Ok they blocked my first rebuttal. Can’t understand that as this site needs all the traffic it can get and we provide a great amount….

    Anyways, my point is that the lockout is the fault of the players, always has been. At least a greater fault level is on them. My second point is that Nelson has already been over ruled once, what makes you think she wouldn’t be in future cases that may find the league liable? I understood the point of the article, I am thinking next step type stuff.

    I honestly hope that this is ignored and that they continue to work on the progress that has already been made. I think that is what is likely to happen anyways.

  34. kennethnoisewater says: Jul 8, 2011 11:44 AM

    Chapman, nice to see you’re playing the blame game still. At least the owners got over themselves and started negotiating, unlike you who wants to revive the dead horse. I will spell it out simply so you can understand.

    1) owners opted out of current CBA. If there is no deal in place, it is their fault because they opted out.

    2) owners instituted a lockout, the players did not ask them to.

    3) owners negotiated a bad faith television deal years ago, to collect money in the event of a lockout and cancelled season. That type of premeditation confirms to everyone but you that the owners, regardless of their reasoning (leverage), were willing to throw away a season or more to get their way. The players decertified this spring. Now you tell me who started this mess.

    I understand it’s in the owners rights to institute a lockout and I agree it is an effective tool in negotiations, but let’s stop pretending the owners had nothing to do with this. The players decertified only because they were backed into a corner. I can’t blame them for trying to push back. But at least it seems both parties have gotten over their pride and precious egos (sniffle) to work out a deal. Let’s hope this inconsequential ruling doesn’t derail any of that, or else both the owners and the players will be crying about losing millions in grand theft larceny money from the preseason.

  35. gpete1962 says: Jul 8, 2011 11:45 AM

    captainwisdom8888 says: Jul 8, 2011 10:52 AM

    Lets have the greed between these two parties take a back seat…the fans are driving this league anyway.

    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you!

    —————————————————-

    Lets all prove that with a Fan lockout of the NFL !!!

    Screw all these Greedy Ba$tard$ !!

  36. clintonrb says: Jul 8, 2011 11:48 AM

    Why the hell would they do this now? There was clear progress being made and now this! Rational minds would say let’s keep on negotiating but we are not dealing with rational minds- you know as well as I do that even though the majority of owners may wish to go ahead as planned that there are a few who with this ruling will want to use it as firepower and try to completely dominate the meetings with it.. I’ll go back to my original question- why now? Couldn’t they wait until next week… This is going to blow up

  37. edsbay says: Jul 8, 2011 11:49 AM

    GO PACK GO!

  38. southmo says: Jul 8, 2011 11:51 AM

    Ruling doesn’t change much expect perhaps to do a couple of things.

    One, those hoping the 8th Circuit would lift the lockout now understand it won’t.

    Two, those hoping the 8th Circuit would end some of the litigation, now should realize that a long road of litigation still remains which could go either way in the end.

    Hopefully those things add up to the two sides realizing the best possible world is one where they work out a deal at the negotiating table in the next few days.

    Which has always been the best possible world, anyway.

  39. breeshasabush says: Jul 8, 2011 12:09 PM

    this is all Drew Brees’ fault, right? and in other news what does the “#” sign mean when people put it in fron of a name or what have you… i dont know what this means. Yesterday i saw “#orange crush”… what does this mean??? I see it all the time, #charliesheen, #whodat, #winning, what does this number/pound sign in front of names mean?!?! Its driving me crazy!

  40. seattleniner says: Jul 8, 2011 12:10 PM

    It seems to me the most obvious scenario for how this thing plays out is as follows: The players know they don’t have the upper hand, the owners do. Therefore the players will continue to posture as though they are willing to forfeit the season and pursue a $12 billion anti-trust lawsuit up until the last minute (when they would start losing money by not playing games). The owners won’t budge and shortly before the preseason a deal will quickly be made. The only reason why nothing has happened yet is because no one’s bluff has been called. That will happen before the preseason starts – guaranteed. We just need ignore all the media hype and get ready for the first preseason game!

  41. catman72 says: Jul 8, 2011 12:16 PM

    Isn’t it also possible that the NFLPA was tapping the breaks waiting for this ruling before they agreed to anything?

    Maybe this rulling with be the final motivation the NFLPA needs to take the owners best offer.

  42. hawkdawg88 says: Jul 8, 2011 12:17 PM

    Wonder whether Boylan knew this was coming. Wonder whether its timing came on his suggestion.

  43. seattleniner says: Jul 8, 2011 12:18 PM

    And in the meantime, the NFL/players/lawyers do everything they can to make it look like everyone is trying to make something happen – but they’re not, they’re just waiting to make a deal at the last possible moment.

  44. freedomispopular says: Jul 8, 2011 12:31 PM

    I wonder if the judge introduced himself with a “Hi-ho, Kermit the Frog here!”

  45. poweredtoast says: Jul 8, 2011 12:49 PM

    Someone, somewhere said, “Show me something wrong with today’s legal system” They have their response…

  46. tednancy says: Jul 8, 2011 2:21 PM

    Excellent job by the 8th circuit. Now that Nelson’s stupid ruling is out of the way, the parties can get down to business. Hopefully, the strengthening of the owners’ hand will result in a labor agreement that propels our game to future success.

    And also consign De Smith and Kessler to the ashbin of history, where they most certainly belong.

  47. tednancy says: Jul 8, 2011 2:22 PM

    Excellent job by the 8th circuit. Now that Nelson’s stupid ruling is out of the way, the parties can get down to business. Hopefully, the strengthening of the owners’ hand will result in a labor agreement that propels our game to future success.

    And also consign De Smith and Kessler to the ashbin of history, where they most certainly belong.

  48. fwippel says: Jul 8, 2011 2:35 PM

    Remember that this analysis is from the same group of geniuses that tried to convince us that Susan Nelson’s originally ruling was so brilliant and encomopassing that there was no legal basis for overturning it.

    Be nice to see some of those media geniuses own up to that mistaken forecast.

  49. sgtt1969 says: Jul 8, 2011 2:47 PM

    Kenneth – perhaps you need things explained to you:
    ===============
    1) owners opted out of current CBA. If there is no deal in place, it is their fault because they opted out.
    ===============

    This was part of the last CBA. Both sides had the option to opt out of the CBA if it was not working for them. The previous CBA would not have been completed if not for this provision.

    ================
    2) owners instituted a lockout, the players did not ask them to.
    ================

    The owners also didn’t ask the players to walk away from the negotiating table, refuse to extend negotiations and decertify, BEFORE the CBA was officially ended. Yes, I said BEFORE the CBA ended.

    ================
    3) owners negotiated a bad faith television deal years ago, to collect money in the event of a lockout and cancelled season. That type of premeditation confirms to everyone but you that the owners, regardless of their reasoning (leverage), were willing to throw away a season or more to get their way. The players decertified this spring. Now you tell me who started this mess.
    =================

    I agree about the television deal, the owners were wrong to craft the deal as they did. However, the players telegraphed their intentions to decertify. In fact for the past few years it was a known fact that the players intended to decertify just like they did in the early 90′s. This would’ve forced the owners to defend multiple lawsuits. The owners recognized that this was the players’ goal and rightly planned for it by anticipating the need to use the lockout. Had the players stayed at the table months ago, there would not have been a need for the lockout or the lockout insurance from the networks to kick in.

    ==================
    I understand it’s in the owners rights to institute a lockout and I agree it is an effective tool in negotiations, but let’s stop pretending the owners had nothing to do with this. The players decertified only because they were backed into a corner. I can’t blame them for trying to push back.
    ===================

    Wrong. The players had ample opportunity to continue the negotiations (just like they had already been extended once) with a deal on the table from the owners. The players CHOSE to refuse to extend the talks, extend a counter-offer, then they CHOSE to decertify. It is a myth to state that the players were forced to decertify because they were locked out. The reverse is actually the truth.

  50. stairwayto7 says: Jul 8, 2011 2:59 PM

    That September 27 date for the lockout to end looks good!!!

  51. realfann says: Jul 8, 2011 3:03 PM

    According to the NFL bogus math, the pre-season would generate $800m dollars revenue.

    If some or all of it is cancelled, the players should throw back this math in the face of the owners and sue for triple their share (i.e. $400m times 3 = $1.2 billion) in damages.

    No need to wait for missed regular game checks.

  52. hawker1 says: Jul 8, 2011 7:49 PM

    I’ve said all along that the anti-trust lawsuit is the biggest problem the league has ever seen. If the players win, and they well could do that, pro football as we have known it will go away. Without that protection, the league won’t be able to operate. The players who put their names on the suit will forever be known as the guys who killed the game.

  53. breeshasabush says: Jul 11, 2011 9:40 AM

    really??????? No one is going to tell me what the # sign before a word means??? I had FAITH in you people and now im forced to google it…. you really let me down society…

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