It’s been a little while since my last labor/lockout update, mostly because there’s not much to say. No mediation or negotiation has occurred—or will occur until the 16th. In the meantime, the lockout was lifted, teams reopened their facilities, the first round of the draft was held. Patrick Allen of Arrowhead Addict penned an incredible first-person account of the abuse Roger Goodell took from the NFL Draft audience—and the craven steps he took to get them off his back. Besides the boos, though, it looked as though we were in for a typical draft weekend, full of all the stuff we usually see, and maybe OTAs and free agency afterwards!
Then the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the owners a temporary stay of the injunction awarded by Judge Nelson. The NFL reinstituted the lockout while, incredibly, telling everyone who would listen that “they want football,” too. What a stinking crock.
In the meantime, everyone is waiting on the 8th Circuit Court to rule on a full stay of the injunction—and ProFootballTalk wonders if it will ever happen. The Court may simply not rule on the full stay, instead allowing the temporary stay to remain in place until June 3, when oral arguments will be heard for the appeal.
In the meantime, there will be precious little football, and precious little hope of any change. The players were in an excellent position when the lockout was lifted—but now that the lockout is back in place, both sides are back to waiting on the courts. Sure, Commissioner Goodell will talk about ‘getting back to the table’ until he’s blue in the face, but it’s all nonsense. As NFL Network reporter Albert Breer explained on Twitter, sitting down and bargaining, at this point, is:
"Almost impossible legally, without one side or other compromising legal position. Both sides burned that bridge on March 11."
Besides--and we saw this same effect in between the players decertifying and the injunction hearings, neither side is interested in talking until they know who has the legal upper hand. The owners’ plan, throughout, was to lock the players out, make the players miss game checks, and wait for the players to knuckle under. The players’ plan, throughout, has been to decertify to avoid the lockout. Why negotiate now, when you might be able to negotiate under far more advantageous conditions soon?
Yes, “BECAUSE IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO AND BECAUSE BOTH SIDES OWE IT TO THE FANS WHOSE MONEY THEY’RE ALL ARGUING OVER,” that’s correct—but if the NFL gave two hoots about its fans, they’d have negotiated a new deal back in February.