Stay Denied, So Now What?

Judge Susan Nelson has denied the leagues request to “stay” the order of lifting the lockout which would have allowed the league to continue the lockout while they appealed the order to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Confused? It gets worse.

Apparently Judge Nelson is a bit wishy-washy when it comes to issuing direct orders and instead dives into the realm of confusion herself. After denying the request by the league Judge Nelson said that teams do not have to immediately start “signing players” but that trading players is in “question”.

To Which I said, “what the hell does that mean?” To what the NFL said, “what the hell does that mean?”

In Mondays’ original ruling that denied the leagues position on the lockout and thus lifting it, Judge Nelson was even more vague on “page 8″ of her 89 page document when she issued this as part of her order, courtesty of

“Accordingly, the NFL is only in the position of any defendant who has been accused of illegal action, but not (yet) found liable. The League can choose either to continue its allegedly-illegal behavior until judgment, or to modify its behavior. But nothing legally compels either choice between April 25th and any future Eighth Circuit decision. In such an environment, the Players cannot force any onerous contract terms on the NFL. In fact, nothing in this Court’s Order obligates the NFL to even enter into any contract with the Players. In short, the world of ‘chaos’ the NFL claims it has been thrust into — essentially the ‘free-market’ system this nation otherwise willfully operates under — is not compelled by this Court’s Order.”

Again prompting the “what the hell does that mean?” thought. And people wonder why the NFL is waiting for more specific clarification. How can they be held in contempt of court when there is jargon like that in the order?

So today we await whether or not the court of appeals will act quickly in issuing a ruling to either “stay” the lockout keeping the players out and the league from starting until the appeals process is over or we see the league scrambling to open it’s doors on draft day with a lot of confusion on how to proceed.

The biggest issue for the league right now is what rules to implement. Anything they establish for the league new year will be met head on in court by the players as anti-trust violations. If the league says that they will operate under last years final CBA edict…the players will argue it’s illegal. If the league puts 4 or 6 year restrictions on free agents, the players will charge it violates the anti-trust laws. And so on and so on.

Tonights draft may be the final NFL Draft if players council gets their way…Jeffrey Kessler wants the draft and free agency gone. The question about this draft isn’t whether it will be the last but whether or not players will be allowed to be part of the draft day trades. With no salary cap structure in place and no rookie wage scale or cap it will be interesting to see if teams do actually trade up or down this year. It should also be noted that the trading of future picks, which is allowed, will be done with the realization that future drafts may not happen and thus those future picks will not matter.

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