Owners ratify settlement in major step toward ending NFL lockout

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In a major step toward ending the NFL lockout, the league’s owners have voted to ratify a proposal settling the players’ antitrust litigation.

This was the key vote that had been anticipated at this NFL owners’ meeting for weeks, but it doesn’t end the lockout in and of itself. The players still need to accept the settlement, and to vote to re-certify their union. Then the owners and players would agree to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and get back to work.

According to NFL Network, the owners voted 31-0 to approve the settlement, with the Oakland Raiders abstaining.

NFLPA* members will hold a conference call this evening at which they, too, may hold a vote, and if the players accept the same terms that the owners voted to accept, the lockout will be very close to an end.