NFL Lockout News: Court Rulings Hanging Over Labor Negotiations

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 17: NFL players' lawyers Jeffrey Kessler, James Quinn and Barbara P. Berens walk with former NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith after leaving court ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on May 17, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As the NFL lockout remains in place mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners after labor talks between the two broke down in March. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

As the urgency mounts for the NFL lockout to end and to have a new CBA in place by the end of next week, if possible, the attorneys from the players and the owners met for about seven hours on Tuesday, working on, as Albert Breer from NFL Network described, the "underbrush" of a new deal. After the players staff left, Breer also said that the owners staff stayed later to work on preparations for Wednesday's meetings. In essence, "today was about details and language."

The important date that seems to be looming large is July 15, as it is believed that if it is after that date that a new deal comes into effect, there will be at least one week of cancelled preseason games, leading to lost money and thus less of an offer from the owners and likely souring on behalf of the players. Then everyone would end up back in the courts.

The courts play an important role as it is believed that both Judge Doty on the TV deal case and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in the antitrust case have their rulings ready and opinions written. Magistrate Judge Boylan is reportedly using this as his "hammer" to keep talks productive. If he feels that there is no progress being made, he would tell the judges to go ahead and rule.

The owners will not likely want the ruling from Judge Doty and the players fear the 8th Circuit's ruling, so it behooves both sides to get this done quickly. 

The major issues are still there to be resolved, but the necessary paperwork and language getting done is important because once a agreement is in place, there will be much less of a delay in getting it formalized. 

Wednesday is more of the staffs meeting together, followed by Thursday and Friday with the major parties back at the negotiating table. 

Now's the time. It is so close...

We'll keep you posted right here.

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