The NFL owners have won a small but significant victory in court as the league was granted a motion for a stay that will keep the current lockout in place.
It’s back to the negotiating tables, or at least, we hope it is. But thus far, negotiations haven’t accomplished anything.
The lockout will now remain in place as both sides prepare for a June 3 hearing in St. Louis regarding the NFL’s appeal of Judge Susan Richard Nelson’s injunction halting the lockout. But it doesn’t look good for the players as it appears the court is inclined to side with the NFL and overturn her decision.
“We obviously hoped that the circuit would not grant the stay and that football would come back for our fans and our players,” DeMaurice Smith told NFL.com. “Right now, our guys are out there working out for free, because they dig the game. The case will be heard by the appellate court on June 3, we look forward to the argument. But look, this is something the players are prepared for. It’s a disappointment, obviously.
“As far as we can tell, this is the first sports league in history that’s sued to not play its game. Congratulations. What we’re going to do is continue to work hard on behalf of the players. We believe in the mediation process, we’re going to honor the confidentiality and my hope is that someday soon we can get back to playing football.”
It’s the same old story from the standpoint of the NFL owners. They planned to be here and they’re sticking to the script.
NFL general counsel and chief negotiator Jeff Pash told NFL.com, “You don’t resolve things through litigation…We’ve been clear on that…We have an opportunity to resolve this matter and get the game back on the field, and that really should be our exclusive focus. Not litigation, not stays or injunctions, things like that. That’s not going to solve anything.”
As this thing drags on, the owners gain more leverage and it’s hard to imagine the players coming out in better shape after the negotiations.