clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL Lockout And Court Case Explained By Experts

Getty Images

I know we have all had it with the lockout and lockout talk and appeals and everything of the like. The thing is that there is little else to talk about. Thanks to a tweet by Adam Schefter, I ran across a great article by Clark Judge, who spoke to former NLRB chairman William Gould and former 6th Circuit Court clerk Geoffrey Rapp about the current court case at the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

The two explain some of the legal points and explain that the owners, on the merits of their arguments, might be able to get a stay on the lockout, but that the players have ultimately the stronger case.

One insight that I found interesting was that of the reason why there has not been a ruling on the stay of the injunction that would lift the lockout. If the court were to grant a temporary stay, it would mean that the lockout would stay in effect until the court had made its ruling on the case after hearing both sides. That could mean months. By not granting a permanent stay, the court could lift it right away after hearing arguments. 

The lack of a ruling indicates that the judges want to get it right and that likely they are split. 

One thing the injunction is based in the fact that with a lockout it would be causing "irreparable harm." The harm is the money they could be earning. Rapp disagrees that a lockout causes irreparable harm.  "Why couldn't money make up for those harms?" he asks. "Because if money can make up for it, then it is a reparable harm instead of an irreparable harm, and not a proper basis to grant an injunction."

According to this, Judge Nelson should not have forced the lifting of the lockout. As much as it pains me to say this, as a fan I have to agree. 

However, from what the article said, I get the feeling that it would be a really bad idea for the owners to get to the end of the trial without having come to an agreement. Why? If money would repair the damage, the owners might be paying a lot of it to the players as a result of the final verdict. 

Gould suggests that the league has put themselves in the best situation, as he commented, "I think the owners have the best possible forum for this case, from their perspective," considering the conservative makeup of the court. 

What does everything come down to? We really do not want a permanent stay. It would put the season in jeopardy. What is very, very clear to me is that the owners really need to step up and offer a good deal. 

A very good suggestion to solve the lockout was proposed on PFT, as explained to them by an anonymous source. The league should make an attractive offer that at least 24 of the 32 teams preapprove. They give all the players a vote, even draft picks, and if at least 50 percent vote "yes," that agreement would then effectively be the new CBA. 

I don't see the downside to that. It would give each player a voice and it would be incentive for the owners to offer a good deal to the players. 

Will it happen? I doubt it, but again, the league should really be thinking that it does not want to wait for a final verdict and have to pay millions of dollars in damages at the end of the case.