Court Order on NFL Lockout Delayed
The ruling sought by NFL players for a lockout to be ended will take around two weeks, said a federal judge on Thursday.
Judge Susan Richard Nelson encouraged the football players and team owners to continue discussions in hopes of settling the labor issue themselves, as she felt that both sides were at risk.
On Wednesday, at the close of a day full of legal discussions in Minnesota, the judge said it would take a couple of weeks for both parties to get a “fair job.”
The players had requested an immediate order, describing the lockout as an antitrust violation that came from the illegal collusion among team owners. They also argued that their careers were being harmed “irreparably” by the stoppage of work.
Still, the players’ attorney, James Quinn, said they would respect Nelson’s suggestion.
But David Boies, the league’s attorney, wondered if the court had a right of jurisdiction for the case, as he expected the National Labor Relations Board to rule on a team owner’s grievances against the players’ union.
He added that they did not need a settlement, but a collective agreement for bargaining so that the league can continue to put on games and the players can continue playing.
The two parties have expressed the possibility that they would lodge an appeal in the event that they lost the battle for an injunction, which could mean a very costly and long legal battle.
The lockout was ordered by the NFL following the collapse of talks between the players’ union and the league, which threw the most popular sport in America into the first cessation of work in over two decades.
The league failed to meet an agreement with the players over several issues, which included the question of dividing up over $9 billion in revenues per year.
Under an expired agreement that began in 2006, the team owners claimed a fixed minimum of $1 billion out of whatever annual revenue, and the balance was split with about 60% given to the players and 40% to the owners.
The owners and the league wanted to raise their guaranteed minimum, on the premise that they had incurred higher operational costs. The players argued to keep the existing level steady.
Since the 2011 season is not yet scheduled to start until September, the parties still have time to settle things without needing to succumb to the massive loss of revenue should the season be cancelled or delayed.
Both parties have been the subject of much criticism for expecting huge amounts of money at a time when most households are having trouble meeting financial obligations. President Barack Obama has expressed disinterest in getting involved in the dispute, describing it as a fight between millionaires and billionaires.
The case is filed in the District of Minnesota U.S. District Court as Tom Brady et al versus National Football League, Case Number 11-cv-639.