Monday brought bad news on the NFL Lockout front. Bad news unless you’re one of the 32 ownership groups that is. A circuit court granted a full stay on the injunction that would have ended the lockout on Monday, meaning the league remains permanently shut down while the league’s appeal is heard early next month.
That’s unfortunate news for free agents and rookies eager to sign their first professional contract or hoping to learn their future in 2011 and beyond, the news is particularly discouraging. Monday’s ruling halts any and all player transactions until a St. Louis court hears the NFL’s appeal of the injunction ruling that lifted the lockout for a few short hours in late April.
Oral arguments in the appeal will take place on June 3rd, with a final ruling expected to be handed down within a week or two’s time afterwards. Here’s one take on what today’s ruling means for all relevant parties:
“This is the decision that, practically, means everything,” said Robert Boland, a professor of sports management at New York University and a labor and antitrust lawyer who has worked as a sports agent. “This is who has control of the game board. That’s far more important, practically, than who has the legal rights on their side. If the league is opened for business it’s very difficult for owners to push them back out. Every day they are open, the economic value and the optics says you need to stay open. This puts a lot of pressure on players. No roster bonuses will be paid. There won’t be per diems which are important to younger players. It’s the worst thing for them from a solidarity perspective.”
Mediated negotiations also resumed on Monday, but after Monday’s ruling, it’s hard to imagine that the owners would be all that interested in negotiating in any sort of purposeful way. If they get their way early next month, the players would then be in a huge bind as they decide whether or not to remain resolute or acquiesce to the power plays being made by the league and its owners.