Brady case gets rolling on Wednesday


It’s been 23 days since the NFL and its players stopped trying to work out a new labor deal.  As the negotiations collapsed, the NFLPA decertified as a union and a group of ten players — including Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, and Saints quarterback Drew Brees — filed a class-action lawsuit against the league office and the 32 NFL franchises.

On Wednesday, the case heads to court for the first time, as the players attempt to obtain an injunction that would force the league to lift the lockout while the antitrust lawsuit proceeds.

Given the arguments made by the parties, there’s not much middle ground.  Someone is right on the money, and someone is dead wrong.  And so Judge Susan Nelson either will agree with the players and grant the injunction, or she’ll agree with the owners and allow the lockout to stand.  (There’s a chance that she’ll find that the players are suffering no irreparable harm at the present time, but that they could be suffering irreparable harm once training camp opens and/or when the season starts.  As a result, she could deny the motion now and invite the players to re-file it later in the year.)

Inevitably, the ruling will be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  If the players win, the league will ask Judge Nelson to “stay” the injunction pending appeal.

Whoever loses at the appellate level could then try to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.  With the term ending in June or so, emergency procedures would need to be utilized in order to get a final ruling before the Supreme Court breaks for year, to reconvene in October.

Despite plenty of speculation, no one knows the amount of time the process will consume.  However, courts tend to take requests of this nature seriously.  The high-profile status of the fight could accelerate it even more quickly than the “normal” case would proceed.

The eventual winner will acquire significant leverage in the negotiations, if/when any negotiations ever occur again.  If the lockout ends, the players will be getting paid and playing football and their leverage will be the league’s inability to lock the players out and the strength of their antitrust lawsuit (which would be strong but, despite characterizations by some in the media, by no means a slam dunk).  If the league wins, the lockout will continue and there will be no football until the two sides reach an agreement.

Either way, the two sides need to start talking again.  We favor whatever outcome in court makes that happen in real life.

26 responses to “Brady case gets rolling on Wednesday

  1. Right now the league and the owners have more leverage than the players, and thus a ruling to favor the league will more likely produce a quicker deal than the other way around. If things are tilted say 80% as a figure of speech towards the league, then this comes closer to being a nail in the coffin so to speak, and forces the players to take whatever they can get moreso than if they win and the tides are back to even keel.

    She has no basis to see irreparable harm to the players. Poor folks can lose their job and get by and paltry unemployment amounts, and in some cases with delays in receiving those funds. Guys that make millions, or in the worst case scenario hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, can afford to be without work or pay for a lengthy period of time before it becomes reasonable to suggest that they should be subject to trouble. Any trouble that any of them have has nothing to do with a lockout, moreso than excessive and unreasonable amounts of their own personal financial incompetence, and that’s not grounds to earn a court ruling.

  2. I cant believe both sides waited until the last minute to try and get something done. I dont care who is right, and who is wrong. Come to a agreement, and get this over with before you lose anymore fans then you already have.

  3. Fast track is for the league to win the initial ruling, if you ask me. Players are already hurting – IE Dez Bryant. Not to mention comments from guys who are likely in the know(IE Strahan) indicate that many players probably are already uncomfortable about the possibility of not getting paid on time.

    If that possibility becomes more likely, the divide between those standing strong and those who secretly don’t care about the pie as long as they get their next paycheck will surely become worse causing those players to start pushing harder for “talks” to resume.

    If the players win and the lockout is lifted, I’d expect the owners to still hold steady hoping any one of the possible multiple appeals they’ll file will stick and they still won’t be interested in negotiating since they’ll have no leverage left at that point and thus no reason to try for a deal.

  4. This really tells you the sad state that the NFL is in these days and just the world in general. Instead of acting like men, and realizing that the league is such an important thing they have built and just hammering this thing out in hard negotiations every one is looking for the most legal leverage that they can gain and basically have the lawyers running the show. Nothing good has every come out of lawyers running any negotiations, and I just hope they don’t do any long-lasting damage to the league itself because they have already done enough damage to my image of the league and I’m sure plenty of other fans feel the same way.

  5. I’m usually for unions —- but —– Personally, football or no football or (whatever) I hope this particular horribly run union of selfish greedy idiotic pathetic butt wipes gets Crushed

  6. The onwers will win. Every ounce of evidence points int heir favor with the logically thinking human being. Let’s hope the players get crushed here and learn a valuable lesson that no one player is above the league or the sport. GO OWNERS!

  7. Three questions, Mike:

    If the players win the injunction lifting the lockout, is Judge Nelson likely to stay the injunction pending appeal?

    Which side has the upper hand with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals?

    If the players are granted the injunction, it will force the league back to business and all parties will return to the negotiating table. If the two sides then achieve a new collective bargaining agreement, will the players drop the pending antitrust suits?

  8. The players want to turn this into a league of haves and have nots, like MLB with its bloated guaranteed contracts and unlevel playing field. The game we love, from a business standpoint at least, is at a major crossroads and may never be the same. Pete Rozelle must be turning in his grave.

  9. I used to love baseball but in the last few years the balance sucks in the MLB and if the NFL goes the same route I won’t watch them either.

  10. The only way I see the league to continue to do business as we know it, (not like MLB) is for the owners to win in the courts.

    If the players win, kiss the NFL as we know it good-bye, and me with it.

  11. Waiting until the last minute to negotiate, playing hardball, legal threats, legal action, they are handling it like men. The men of todays society. Both sides have no regard where their wealth comes from and never will. They are risking ruining a game of rich tradition permanently.

    Now if they were cowboys of the wild west maybe they could just have a shootout instead? I love the spectacle they are creating. Blow the damn thing up! Just like the past few years, they wont be getting my money. Not directly anyway.

  12. Time to crush the greedy, disrespectful players.

    “I want whats owed to me”
    “But i don’t want to pay what I owe others”

    ~Nfl players~

  13. Let me get this right. The players walk out of negotiations and file an anti-trust lawsuit. The owners then respond with their only option- a lockout. Now the players say that they are being irreparably harmed by the very action that they forced the owners to take? It is sort of like I threaten you with harm and tell you to drive 100 mph and then complain because you are driving too fast.

    This whole mess is about giving D. Smith (a lawyer) cover. If the players win, he can claim that he got more money for the richest players – Brady, Manning, etc. And if the players lose, then it is the judge’s fault. Either way, Smith thinks that he wins.

    And either way, I believe that the players lose in the end. If the players win the anti-trust case, there will not be any player employment rules, including minimum pay. If they lose the anti-trust case, then they will probably be worse off than if they had reached a settlement earlier.

  14. Patriot42 says: Apr 3, 2011 4:54 PM

    I used to love baseball but in the last few years the balance sucks in the MLB and if the NFL goes the same route I won’t watch them either.

    I use to love the Yankees. However, for a number of years now, they and Boston have just bought the players. It is no fun to watch and I don’t watch. I don’t even care about who wins the world series.

    If the NFL players want the same thing as MLB then they are on the right path. I guess that D. Smith and the rich players want kill the golden goose.

  15. Make no mistake, the owners still hold all the advantages whether the court rules in favor of the players request for injunction or not.

    I still would like to know why the players feel they are entitled to 50% of the income when they did not put up any money to purchase a team, Build a stadium, Upkeep a stadium, Pay team employees, or any other costs?

    Players say they “want what is owed to them”. What exactly is owed to them? They got paid last year.
    They ran from negotiating to file decertification. They turned down viewing the books after crying to see them for months.
    Sorry, but MEmaurice and his blind followers are phonies.
    The problem is these players need to see what REAL work is. Go spend some time with hard working folks who struggle to support their family with low pay, little benefits, yet still PAY THEIR DEBTS!
    Stop crying like Deb about “they risk injury every week”.
    Soldiers, fireman, and others risk much more than injury every day. They knew what they were signing up for. Just like the players did. Yet they arent demanding ridiculous pay.
    Players are millionaires because of the owners. The owners are not billionaires because of the players.
    I and many many others can play football and replace the players. We just can’t run as fast, or throw as far, or hit as hard. We can replace the players and play for much less and survive.
    But the players can’t do our jobs( pilots,, Air traffic controllers, jet mechanic, chemist, translator, etc)
    and they sure couldnt sure couldn’t survive on our pay.
    No matter what the groupies say.
    BTW, I can’t wait for Mr. Goodell to start throwing out those fines at the cheating players like Harrison once the season does begin(hopefully after the players all go broke).

  16. Oh boy! I can’t wait until Wednesday for Judge Nelson hands the players’ their heads on a platter and accept the deal the owners made before their union* decertified and walked out.

    I hope we have this decision before the poor players have to file for bankruptcy.

  17. iknowfootballandyoudont says: Apr 3, 2011 5:49 PM

    I still would like to know why the players feel they are entitled to 50% of the income when they did not put up any money to purchase a team, Build a stadium, Upkeep a stadium, Pay team employees, or any other costs?

    Because the players, unlike the pro-owners bloggers, understand supply and demand and basic economics. The players support a man’s right to earn what he can based on applying his skill and work ethic in the free market, and you don’t believe that. Sad.

    If the owners have the guts to say “We won’t guarantee a maximum or a minimum to the players” the players would jump at that in a heart beat. But the owners do not have the guts to do that.

    The law is with the players. And the facts (ie the game will not break, and competitive balance will not end, if some teams decide to budget 60% of revenue for player salaries) are with the players as well.

    The owners do have pr on their side, though that will not have much weight after Wednesday.

  18. Thumbs down on three neutral questions about upcoming legal proceedings? Aw, boys, can’t you play nice with the pro-union girl even when she’s not being provocative? 😆

    If you were as interested in football as you are in crushing another union, you’d be praying for the lockout to end and the players to drop those antitrust suits.

    @iknowfootballinmydreams …

    Variety! I’m impressed. Now instead of calling me a groupie and slamming Bama, you’re calling me a groupie and slamming Pittsburgh. My, aren’t you versatile! 😉 Yes, anytime a woman says don’t damn 1700 men for the actions of a couple dozen, it’s because she has a hankering for football players. Yum-yum!

  19. I absolutely hope the players get the lockout lifted. I’m so sick and tired of all the player bashing on this site.

    When players go on strike they get bashed by “fans”….when owners lockout the players they get bashed by “fans”.

    It’s rediculous. “Fans” don’t give a damn about the players…..They want them to play, shut up, and when their brains turn to mush after retiring well then oh well.

  20. I don’t think the players are going to win in court, when all is said and done. It’s hard to argue the NFL has a monopoly when the UFL is playing games. Microsoft had a similar position for years and they didn’t break them up. And the high courts have already mentioned “competitive balance” as a consideration. In other words, there’s a real possibility the players get crushed in the end. Unfortunately, we might not find out who wins and who doesn’t until next year.

    And if the owners get crushed, it’s inevitable that the game of NFL football will be over. No draft. A league of haves and have nots. No system of free agency. No league-wide disciplinary rules. Various schedules. A greatly diminished competitive league. There will be less money to split.

    So if the law truly is on the player’s side. I say change the law. Make an exception for sports leagues and let’s play some ball.

  21. Comparing the NFLPA to normal worker unions is completely wrong. What other company gives their employees 50% of the profits? Answer, none. Advantage owners.

  22. Yes, chap, you’re right. As some of us have been saying ’til our fingers bleed, the relationship between NFL players and owners is not the typical employer/employee relationship 🙄

    In typical corporate employer/employee relationships, the business is like a well-oiled machine that keeps rolling no matter who is on the assembly line. (Small businesses are different because the owners in most casts is the business.)

    The NFL is more akin to publishing. The publisher assumes all costs of bringing the book to the public. The writer produces the product and is paid a percentage of revenues negotiated by contract. How much the writer can negotiate depends on the value of the write. The more revenue the writer generates, the more he can negotiate.

    Without the writer, the publisher has no product. Without the publisher, the writer has no way to get the product to the public. The relationship is mutually dependent.

    Right now, the NFL takes $1 billion from the top of revenues to cover expenses before the percentages are divided. The players portion of revenues includes personnel expenses such as health care, pensions, and retiree benefits. It’s not as cut and dried as current employees running off with 50 percent of the profits. 🙄 In the free market, people are paid based on the revenue they generate. You’ve heard of capitalism, right?

  23. Wow, you guys and girls think like lawyers? Look. I am and always will be a union sympathizer as before I retired I was a union member. But the fact is a strike in about 95% of the cases fails. The reason is the loss of income never seems to match the loss incurred while on strike.
    Most players in the NFL do not make a million dollars. Actually according to what I could dig up the numbers are a lot lower than that. I can’t find the percentage but it has to be under 98% make well under that million dollar figure.
    I know that they still are paid but the owners are far from suffering and they were the ones that would no longer negotiate.
    It is a mess but the law is on the side of the players. Remember like yourself most people spend pretty much their salary to make ends meet and these guys are no different.
    I just hope the strike is over before the season begins. This will play itself out and we have no real input accept for our personal rage at what is happening.
    As far as this hurting Brady, and rest, someone has to represent the players. The most influential must do this as they are inclined to be more adept and in tune with the players. The idea of this being detrimental to those who are in the fore is ludicrous and the writer of the piece needs to understand this. I’m sure they do but the sensational nature of the piece was made to stir up emotions and to read this board there appears to be no lack of strong feelings. Good luck to them both. Fact is I could care less as long as they find a way to salvage the season.

  24. @bkrsrb …

    Loved your comment. Just want to remind you of one thing. This isn’t a strike. This is a lockout. The owners have locked out the players, cut off their pay, and shut down the league, so the players have no choice–they can’t go back to work. It’s all up to the owners. And you’re right–most of the players are just tryiing to make a living like the rest of us.

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