Answering Lockout Email Questions

Emails keep coming to my inbox complaining about me writing too much about the lockout.  O.k.  What else is there?  The draft picks?  It’s been covered by just about every writer on the staff.  Aside from the complaints there are as many Emails asking if the June 3rd hearing will put an end to this whole labor thing.  Apparently many fans are not aware of what is actually going on here.

I’m not 100 percent sure either, but here is what I do know.

The “Brady” eleven filed a lawsuit with Minnesota courts immediately after they decertified the union and the league then locked them out.  In their lawsuit, they challenged the validity of the lockout because U.S. laws prohibit barring non-union employees from being, well, locked out of working.  The league of course is saying that the decertification is a sham and that they really are still a union and that the decertification was simply a way for the players to not negotiate in good faith.

The plaintiffs are also seeking other anti-trust issues as well.

Judge Susan Nelson is hearing the case and ordered mediation which is on break until the 16th of May.  Judge Nelson ruled that the lockout was illegal and should be lifted in her preliminary hearing…this is NOT the same “Brady case” only a hearing on the lockout justification.  She then declined the league a “stay” which would allow the league to continue the lockout while they appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The appeals court granted a temporary stay 2-1 to the league and could possibly make a permanent ruling on the “stay” issue any day.  They will hear the arguments for the lockout itself on June 3rd.  Then render a decision.  Once that decision is made, the losing party will then file a full panel appeal.  Meaning that the 3 judge panel hearing the appeal now, will then be heard by the entire appellate of judges who sit on the appeals panel.

At that point, I’m not sure if there is a Supreme Court appeal that is allowed.

After all of this is sorted out, there is still the actual litigation of the “Brady case” to be heard.  That is the case that could potentially define if the league is in violation of anti-trust laws and so forth with things such as the draft and free agency.  That litigation could take months to years.  The last time the league and the players were in labor litigation, stemming from the 1987 players strike, it took 3 years to reach what inevitably became the first CBA.  The players then formed the NFLPA and here we are.

If a lockout is granted at the appeals level then the players will remain locked out until the courts rule in their favor, they negotiate a new labor deal, or the appeals process runs it’s course following that litigation of the “Brady Case”.

That’s all I really got in terms of the process that is presently going on.  But no, to answer many questions, this process of the lockout hearing that would lead to a lifting of it is not going to settle the case one way or the other.  It will only serve to allow players to either return to their teams or for the league to continue locking them out.

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