Arguments Conclude Between NFL/Players

There will be more waiting for a ruling on lifting the lockout.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Friday, June 3rd, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Categories: Mike Duffy

The arguments from the NFL and the decertified NFL Players Association regarding the lockout have concluded in St. Louis, where the Eighth Circuit Court will continue to work towards a ruling.
 
Judge Kermit Bye encouraged both sides to continue negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement, in light of U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson’s order in April that the lockout should end.
 
Albert Breer of NFL Network reported that Bye said final ruling will come in “due course” and the decision will be one “neither side would like.”  That ruling is expected to come, as reported, in two to six weeks.
 
Each side got 30 minutes to argue their points before a three-judge panel.  The issue at hand surrounded the legality of the lockout.
 
The NFL contends that the lockout is legal, while the players do not.
 
Acording to the Associated Press, Paul Clement, a former U.S. solicitor general representing the league, opened oral arguments by attacking the validity of the NFL Players Association’s March 11 decertification. He maintained that, because of the non-statutory labor exemption, the league should have the right to lock out its players for at least one year. He also said the fact that this is the second time the NFLPA has decertified “ought to be a problem for them.”
 
Players have been locked out of team facilities and all contact with clubs for nearly three months after the CBA expired in early March.
 
On April 25, Judge Nelson decided to lift the lockout, saying it was illegal and that players were suffering harm.
 
The NFL quickly appealed Nelson’s order to the Eighth Circuit, which has been seen as a more conservative, business-friendly venue for the NFL than the federal courts in Minnesota. The same panel heard Friday’s hearing deciding in a pair of 2-1 rulings.
 
Now, both parties await the ruling from the appeals court. There cannot be any more appeals.
 
Earlier this week, both sides spent three straight days talking in private near Chicago before heading to St. Louis. A court-ordered confidentiality agreement prevented both sides from commenting, and a federal magistrate canceled next week’s scheduled mediation sessions, citing the “confidential settlement negotiations.”

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