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3-12-11: Bird Droppings - Lockout Begins

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Some links to start off this sad Saturday morning that is the first day of the NFL Lockout.

NFC West labor impact - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Arizona Cardinals: A prolonged stoppage would prevent the Cardinals from lining up a veteran quarterback before the draft, putting the team in position to repeat what happened last offseason. A year ago, the Cardinals wanted a shot at signing Marc Bulger in free agency. The St. Louis Rams didn't release him right away, however, and the Cardinals felt as though they couldn't wait. They made a play for Charlie Whitehurst, then signed Derek Anderson. Bulger could make sense for the Cardinals again this offseason, but they will not be able to sign him, or anyone, with a freeze on transactions. They hold the fifth overall choice in the 2011 draft, which will unfold as scheduled. But with no quarterback and three of their five starting offensive linemen headed for free agency, the Cardinals would head into the draft with too many acute needs to address. And if the stoppage continued into the summer, the Cardinals' new defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, would be working at a severe disadvantage.

Five quick thoughts on labor situation - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Five thoughts on NFL labor relations following the Players Association's move to decertify:

NFL players' union decertifies as talks break down
NFL labor talks broke down just hours before the latest contract extension expired Friday. The union decertified, and players including Tom Brady and Peyton Manning sued the league, putting the country's most popular sport on a path to its first work stoppage since 1987.

Efforts of Arizona Cardinals' Jay Feely not enough in NFL labor talks
Jay Feely went to Washington this week, hoping he could be "the voice of reason" and help the NFL and the players union reach agreement on collective bargaining. Instead, the two sides failed to bridge wide gaps on a handful of issues, and the NFLPA broke off talks Friday and moved to decertify itself as a union.

New-look Arizona Rattlers open season at home against Jacksonville
There is a new managing partner. A new offense. New black helmets. The Rattlers open the season Saturday at US Airways Center against the Jacksonville Sharks without the traditional copper helmets, without Danny White calling plays and with hope of a championship that has eluded the franchise since it won two in its first six years of existence.

Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash takes 'a step back'
Most of the time, a step back is good for Steve Nash. The Suns star's step-back jumper to create space between him and taller defenders is one of the better ones in the league. His step-back dribble can pull a defender away from his assist target. But the step back he took in Thursday night's Suns loss to Denver could sideline him for Sunday's game against Orlando. Nash's ongoing pubic symphysis irritation worsened despite the two-a-day workouts he had been doing in order to avoid missing a game with one month remaining in the season.

NFLPA decertifies, files antitrust suit against league - ESPN
Unable to decide how to divvy up $9 billion a year, NFL owners and players put the country's most popular sport in limbo Friday by breaking off labor negotiations hours before their contract expired. The union decertified, and 10 players, including MVP quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, sued the owners in federal court, putting the NFL on a path to its first work stoppage since 1987. news: Ten players named as plaintiffs in antitrust lawsuit vs. NFL
Star quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are among the players who have filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL in an attempt to prevent a lockout. news: League locks out players, whose union decertified
The NFL announced a lockout of players after the union decertified and a group of players filed a antitrust lawsuit. news: Emotions run high all over as NFL labor situation escalates
Anger and disappointment were the predominant emotions throughout the football world and beyond after the NFL Players Association decertified Friday, hours before the expiration of its collective bargaining agreement with the league. news: NFLPA, NFL release statements about labor situation
The following are the statements released by the NFL Players Association and the NFL on Friday. news: Frequently asked questions about union decertification
The NFL Players Association decertified Friday as talks with the NFL about a new labor deal collapsed. What does the decertification mean?

Detailed primer for what awaits NFL - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Thanks much to those who contribute in the comments sections of blog entries. One such contributor, jandkolepsycho, came through with a link to Michael McCann's helpful NFL post-decertification primer. This is basically what only a sports law professor could write -- a detailed walk through the courts.

NFL claims that decertification "forced" the lockout | ProFootballTalk
In the lengthy statement issued by the league summarizing the three-part clusterfudge that has left fans scrambling to figure out what will happen next, the NFL explains the decision to lock the players out. Specifically, the league claims that the union’s decision to decertify "forced the clubs to take action they very much wanted to avoid."

Player anger and mistrust triggered litigation option | ProFootballTalk
Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports, who has provided some excellent details as to the events that have unfolded during the labor dispute, now provides a thorough look at what the players were thinking as this past week unfolded. For those of you who’ll claim that it’s biased in favor of the players, we recommend regarding it as a window into their minds.

The lockout has officially begun | ProFootballTalk
For the first time since 1987, the National League Football has officially entered a work stoppage. It came with a whimper.

Antitrust lawsuit alleges that NFL has waived "sham" defense to decertification | ProFootballTalk
While trudging through the 52-page complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota by a group of players including three quarterbacks who have won five Super Bowls among them, I had to press pause at page 19 and share with PFT Planet language that, if accurate, prevents the NFL from arguing that the decertification of the union was a "sham." If the NFL were to prove that the decertification was a "sham," the league would be able to lock the players out, since the antitrust laws would not apply.

Source regarding final offer: "Part of me was glad they didn’t take it" | ProFootballTalk
As the NFL trumpets the offer that was made to the players on Friday, several hours before the NFLPA opted to decertify and pursue the litigation route, a high-level source with one NFL team expressed relief at the players’ decision not to accept the proposal. "Part of me was glad they didn’t take it," the source said. "I can’t believe they walked away from it."

Roger Goodell’s letter to fans: Your passion for the game drives us all | ProFootballTalk
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is appealing directly to NFL fans this evening, penning an open letter regarding the NFL Players’ Association’s decision to decertify and take the ongoing labor battle to court.

DeMaurice Smith: "I dare any one of you" to show NFL has "fallen on hard times" | ProFootballTalk
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith was the last man to speak during a dizzying evening of decertification, deregulation, and some name-calling. Smith stressed a lack of trust in the negotiations and cited a lack of transparency by NFL ownership as cause for decertifying the union.

We’ve got you covered just in case free agency starts | ProFootballTalk
As the NFL as we know it implodes, we could use a little escapism. So let’s talk a little actual football! It’s still possible that free agency could start at midnight. If it doesn’t, well, it will start eventually.

NFL announcement expected soon | ProFootballTalk
The long, ultimately painful day of NFL labor news is not over yet.

Von Miller’s presence in antitrust suit focuses on rookie salary cap | ProFootballTalk
The 58-page antitrust lawsuit filed by various players against the NFL (we’re up to page 36) includes former Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller as a plaintiff. His presence has prompted some to speculate that the lawsuit is aimed at scuttling the draft. It’s not, at least not yet. The CBA contemplates a 2011 draft, even if the CBA will be expired when the 2011 draft commences.

Players, coaches, officials all disappointed with latest labor developments - ESPN
Anger and disappointment were the predominant emotions throughout the football world and beyond after the NFL players' union decertified Friday, hours before the expiration of their collective bargaining agreement with the league.

Arrogance unnecessarily jeopardizes '11 season - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
The sad thing about the NFL Players Association’s decertification and the courtroom tempests that are sure to follow is there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the most lucrative sports league in the world.

5 things to know about NFL labor woes - NFL Nation Blog - ESPN
An long NFL labor impasse means fans will be deprived of the offseason they've grown to love. There will be no trades and perhaps no free agency

Pros and cons of starting Tebow in 2011 - AFC West Blog - ESPN
The Denver Broncos have one of the biggest dilemmas in the NFL heading into the 2011 season. What should they do with Tim Tebow?