Appeals court backs NFL, lockout remains in place

Published on May 16, 2011 by     AP News

The NFL’s lockout remains in place, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. That means the league likely won’t get back to business until at least next month – and maybe much longer than that.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the lockout can stay until a full appeal is heard on whether it is legal. That hearing is scheduled for June 3 in St. Louis, before the same panel that issued this 2-1 decision.

The appellate court said it believes the NFL has proven it “likely will suffer some degree of irreparable harm without a stay.” The court also cast doubt on the conclusions of U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson, who ruled April 25 that the lockout should be lifted to save the players from irreversible damage. The 8th Circuit panel put her decision on hold four days later.

“The league has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits,” the appellate court majority wrote.

The decision came as NFL owners and players finished their latest round of court-ordered mediation behind closed doors, a session that lasted more than eight hours. This was the fifth day of talks in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, the first since April 20.

Neither side would elaborate on the discussions, citing the judge’s confidentiality order, but they said they planned to resume talks on Tuesday morning. Michael Hausfeld, an attorney for the retired players who joined the antitrust lawsuit against the league, said the players were reviewing a new proposal from the owners.

“It probably is not one that would be acceptable as is, but it clearly opens a dialogue,” Hausfeld said.

Beyond that, both sides stuck to their message.

The owners want to stay out of court, blaming the players for preferring litigation. The players claim they’re only interested in playing and that the owners are preventing them and fans from enjoying the game.

“We have an opportunity to resolve this matter and get the game back on the field, and that really should be our exclusive focus,” NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash said.

DeMaurice Smith, the head of the NFL Players Association, said the players have prepared for a lockout for two years, suggesting they’re not ready to relent in light of Monday’s unfavorable ruling.

“Right now our guys are out there working out for free, because they dig the game,” Smith said.

Commissioner Roger Goodell, speaking to Buffalo Bills season ticket holders on a conference call, said he thinks there’s “still time” to strike a new collective bargaining agreement.

“But time is running short. It’s time to get back to the table and get those issues resolved,” Goodell said.

NFLPA president Kevin Mawae told The Associated Press he was disappointed with the 8th Circuit’s decision.

“The ruling in granting the stay of the injunction means that the NFL owners can continue to not let football be played,” he said.

The appellate court said it would make its decision quickly, a “circumstance that should minimize harm to the players during the offseason and allow the case to be resolved well before the scheduled beginning of the 2011 season.”

Indeed, with training camps just two months away and the first preseason game set for Aug. 8, there is restlessness around the league to go with all the uncertainty.

“We’d like to make progress, but it’ll be hard to do. We have to wait to see what happens June 3,” Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II said earlier on his way into the federal courthouse for Monday’s mediation.

The 8th Circuit’s decision to keep the lockout in place could be a signal of how the two sides will fare in the full appeal. The majority opinion, from Judges Steven Colloton and Duane Benton, sided with the NFL. Judge Kermit Bye dissented in favor of the players.

“The district court reasoned that this case does not involve or grow out of a labor dispute because the players no longer are represented by a union,” the majority wrote. “We have considerable doubt about this interpretation.”

The 8th Circuit has been seen as a more conservative, business-friendly venue for the NFL than the federal courts in Minnesota. Colloton and Benton were both appointed by Republican President George W. Bush; Bye was appointed by President Clinton, a Democrat.

Bye dismissed the conclusions of his fellow judges, just as he did on April 29 in dissenting against a temporary stay. He didn’t buy the NFL’s argument that it would be unable to “unscramble the egg” – a reference to the chaos of handling player transactions with no CBA in place.

“The preliminary injunction does not dictate the NFL’s free agency rules, or any other conduct in general, outside of the lockout,” Bye said.

The majority, however, said both sides will suffer “some degree of irreparable harm no matter how this court resolves the motion for a stay pending appeal,” and then criticized Nelson sharply.

“We do not agree, however, with the district court’s apparent view that the balance of the equities tilts heavily in favor of the players,” the majority wrote. “The district court gave little or no weight to the harm caused to the league by an injunction issued in the midst of an ongoing dispute over terms and conditions of employment.”

Still in the courts is a separate but related matter. U.S. District Judge David Doty is determining the fate of some $4 billion in broadcast revenue he previously ruled was unfairly secured by the NFL in the last round of contract extensions with the networks to use as leverage in the form of lockout insurance. The players have asked Doty to put that money in escrow and for more than $707 million in damages, too.

The two sides also met for 16 days earlier this year before talks fell apart March 11 and the lockout began. Boylan presided over four days of mediation last month with no signs of progress.

Goodell, Pash and four team owners – Rooney, Mike Brown of the Cincinnati Bengals, John Mara of the New York Giants and Jerry Richardson of the Carolina Panthers – were on hand with their legal team for Monday’s session with Boylan.

Smith and three other lawyers for the players were present for their side. Linebacker Ben Leber, one of the players listed as a plaintiff in the still-pending federal antitrust lawsuit against the league, also attended. Hall of Famer Carl Eller and attorneys were there representing the retired players.

Eller helped organize a meeting of 10 fellow retirees over the weekend and another one is scheduled for next week in Chicago with former Bears coach Mike Ditka, sessions portrayed as an effort to unify their push for better benefits, at the NFL’s request.

“That’s kind of the first hurdle. Something that they want from us and something that we need to do,” Eller said.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fair Use Notice This website may at times present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understandings of democratic, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. The author believes that this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U. S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the articles published on this website are distributed without profit for research and informational purposes. In most instances a link is placed to originator of Article and it is never expressly mentioned as written by, we use published by certain entities who write or publish for this said Blog..

Tell Us What's On Your Mind (0)




WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

REMEMBERING A LEGEND!

LATEST SEAHAWKS NEWS

wilson-entourage

Russell Wilson isn’t “Black Enough,” Seahawks Players Allegedly Say

After Percy Harvin was traded to the Jets, the leaks began almost immediately. Harvin physically fought teammates. Harvin ...
hi-res-c36ccb423dec27409ba5c600d9a89b53_crop_exact

Seahawks say they are far from buried

Here’s something to help the morning coffee go down more smoothly: Sure, these aren’t the same Seahawks who blew ...
Oct 19, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) runs the ball for a touchdown during the second half of a football game against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams won 28-26.  Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Wilson is first player in NFL history to have 300/100 game

Peyton Manning wasn't the only NFL quarterback who made history in Week 7, so did Russell Wilson.In the ...
505963447TW00040_Seattle_Se

Percy Harvin gave Golden Tate black eye before Super Bowl

The Seahawks stunned the NFL world on Friday night by trading Percy Harvin to the Jets, less than ...
o-MARSHAWN-LYNCH-facebook

Darrell Bevell: I must get Marshawn Lynch the ball

Darrell Bevell has heard you, Seattle Seahawks fans. The offensive coordinator heard the rampant consternation and deep-throated queries wondering ...
goywh.AuSt.5

Seahawks trade WR Percy Harvin to Jets for draft choice

Well, that’s the end of that problem of getting Percy Harvin the ball down field more, or too ...
131230bennett6vgdfgdgdfg60

Less dancing, more tackling from Seahawks, please

As the Dallas Cowboys were giving them a beating last Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks defense provided a CenturyLink ...
17YsDE.AuSt.5

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll: “Whenever we’re running the ball, we’re fine”

Marshawn Lynch sprinted down the right sideline untouched, into and out of the end zone. But he wasn’t carrying ...

Shop for 2014 Seahawks Gameday Gear at NFLShop.com

Shop for 2014 Seahawks Gameday Gear at NFLShop.com
 

lat-noise-wre0011368363-20130915

WELCOME TO THE SEAHAWKS 12TH MAN ARMY.

WE TAKE PRIDE IN GIVING SEAHAWKS FANS AROUND THE CLOCK UPDATES,  ALL SEAHAWKS ALL THE TIME. SO IF YOU WANT THE LATEST SEAHAWKS NEWS DELIVERED FOR FREE RIGHT TO YOUR EMAIL BOX ONCE A WEEK, SIGN UP AND ENJOY!

WE HAVE BEEN PROUDLY SERVING DIEHARD SEAHAWKS FANS SINCE 2004.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz