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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Appeals Court Grants NFL Stay, Lockout Remains In Place

    Appeals court grants NFL motion for stay, pending appeal

    By Albert Breer NFL Network
    NFL Network Reporter
    May 16, 2011

    MINNEAPOLIS -- The NFL was granted its motion for a stay-on-appeal by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday.

    As such, the league will maintain its right to lock the players out until its appeal of Judge Susan Nelson's decision to grant a lockout-lifting injunction is ruled on. That case will be heard on June 3 in St. Louis. Rulings in federal cases like this one generally take 30-45 days, though the injunction hearings have been put on an expedited schedule by the 8th Circuit.

    Meanwhile, the league and players returned to federal mediation, as ordered by Nelson in April, under the auspices of U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan on Monday. Michael Hausfeld, lead lawyer for the Eller class in Brady & Eller et al v. the National Football League et al, said the players have a proposal from the league in hand, but a source later described it as nothing more than a couple pages of bullet-points providing a framework.

    The expectation of most on Monday was that the sides were headed for St. Louis and the 8th Circuit, though they will return to Boylan's chambers for more mediation on Tuesday.

    "We obviously hoped that the circuit would not grant the stay and that football would come back for our fans and our players," said NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith. "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."

    The ruling for the 8th Circuit was a clear win for the NFL, not just in its result, but also its wording. It supports the NFL's interpretation of the Norris-Laguardia Act, saying "We have serious doubts that the district court had jurisdiction to enjoin the League's lockout." And it also states that the NFL's appeal has a likelihood of succeeding, saying, "Our present view is that Judge Nelson's interpretation is unlikely to prevail."

    "It's a huge win for the owners," said NFL Network legal analyst and director of sports law at Tulane University, Gabe Feldman. "It's still only a preliminary ruling, and it doesn't touch on the ability of the players to decertify and bring their underlying antitrust claim, but a majority of the panel made it clear that they don't think Judge Nelson -- or any court -- has the power to enjoin a lockout.

    "Unless the two judges in the majority change their minds between now and June 3rd, it is likely that they will reverse Judge Nelson, deny the injunction, and reinstate the lockout."

    NFL general counsel Jeff Pash said he hoped the ruling would move the discussions along.

    "You don't resolve things through litigation," he said. "We've been clear on that. And what we need to be doing is focusing all our attention on the process that's going on here in this building, with the assistance of the chief judge and in serious discussions with the players.

    "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. I'm glad that it came out the way that it did. But it's just one step in a process and we need to focus on negotiation. That's the only way we're going to resolve this."

    As was the case during the last two waves of mediation -- April 14 and 15, then April 19 and 20 -- this phase is expected to last two days, and included the presence of four NFL owners, commissioner Roger Goodell, Pash and Smith.

    Vikings linebacker Ben Leber was the only player to appear, though Chiefs linebacker and Brady class plaintiff Mike Vrabel was scheduled to, before his flight from Columbus was cancelled. Vrabel is now scheduled to make the trip on Tuesday morning for the second and final day of this part of the mediation.

    If the next step in the process does come June 3, then not much changed from morning to afternoon in Minneapolis, with the parties entering the courthouse expecting that would be the case.

    "We would like to make progress, but it'll be hard to do," said Steelers president Art Rooney II, on his way into the building. "We have to wait to see what happens June 3."

    Rooney was joined by Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, Giants owner John Mara and Bengals owner Mike Brown. Through the three phases of mediation, nine of 10 members of the NFL's labor committee have appeared, with Chargers owner Dean Spanos the lone exception. Richardson has been here for all three sets of meetings before Boylan, and Rooney has been twice.

    Meanwhile Indianapolis Colts owber Jim Irsay tweeted his disdain for the litigation taking place, writing Tuesday, "The mantra is not end lockout,it's get new collect. bargain. agreement.We have no CBA at this point,an obvious fact that gets lost n shuffle"

    He added: "Jeff Saturday and I could get this thing done,on cocktail napkins,over a long lunch at Rick's Boatyard. it's not that hard! Everyone's so damn serious,suits,briefcases,lawyers! Let's put on jeans n golf clothes,players/owners remembering we're friends,hang a little."

    Both Rooney and Mara declined to comment on the owners' proposal as they left the building, as did Smith.

    "We've got a mediation process where Judge Nelson ruled that it should be confidential," Smith said. "We respect the court process. And I think when a judge of these United States asks the parties to sit down, and try to mediate their differences and resolve them without litigation -- that's the way our process works, that's the way our system works."

    Early in the day, Hausfeld handed a press release to reporters on his way into the courthouse, proclaiming that "The largest collective group of representative(s) of retired NFL players ever assembled met yesterday in Minneapolis" and pledged solidarity to the cause.

    Named as part of that group were Eller, Irv Cross, Nolan Harrison, Tony Davis, Jim McFarland, Jeff Nixon, Dave Pear, Brent Boyd, Bob Stein and Shawn Stuckey. Mike Ditka was listed as "expressing support but not able to be present."

    After the mediation, Hausfeld said, "When we met this morning, I think there was a great deal of skepticism expressed, that we would receive a proposal. And we have a proposal. It is probably not one that would be acceptable as is, but it clearly opens the dialogue and breaches a stalemate that previously existed."

    Hausfeld added there's another meeting for retired players, hosted by Ditka in Chicago, scheduled for next Wednesday. He added that Davis is connected with George Martin, long a dissenter from the NFLPA's cause.


  2. #2
    Fettmaster's Avatar
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    Re: Appeals Court Grants NFL Stay, Lockout Remains In Place

    I hate the NFL right now

  3. #3
    Flippin' Ram's Avatar
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    Re: Appeals Court Grants NFL Stay, Lockout Remains In Place

    This is actually a subtle blessing (IMO), if we just let the players have their way, we'll be in for a special treat when the demands for quality players include a lack of salary cap which in turn, will hurt small market teams. What the NFLPA don't realize is that they're making demands that could turn the NFL into the MLB. I'd prefer the lockout to keep intact until both parties realize that kicking the curb won't leave a crack no matter how hard they kick it and by the end of the day, they'll realize how much they've hurt themselves. Even the owners are hurting themselves as we speak and they'll give in and realize that some money is better than no money before August or September kicks in.

  4. #4
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Appeals Court Grants NFL Stay, Lockout Remains In Place

    The 8th Circuit's ruling is fairly consistent with the position I've expressed previously - that the "decertification" of the NFLPA was a sham.

    Decertification is typically a right exercised by workers when they are dissatisfied with their union and wish to cease bargaining collectively. In this case, it is patently obvious that the decertification was merely a bargaining tactic designed to remove the dispute from National Labor Relations Board jurisdiction, thereby opening the door for a district court suit under antitrust law. Meanwhile, the NFLPA continues to run the show, albeit under the title of "trade federation" rather than union.

    The district court judge bought into this tactic. The 8th Circuit, in its recent decision, expressed strong skepticism over the validity of the NFLPA's tactic.

    So what does this mean?

    Well, the NFLPA now must decide whether to cut a deal now pending the final appellate decision (which will be made at some point after a hearing on June 3), or roll the dice despite the "writing on the wall" that they are going to lose this battle.

    Unfortunately, this may come down to ego. From what I've seen, I have my doubts that DeMaurice Smith would be willing to endorse an outcome that could be spun as his "defeat."

    I hope I'm wrong. I hope that the NFLPA accepts that the lawsuit was, in the long run, a bad idea, and that the solution is compromise at the bargaining table. I then hope that the owners don't act as complete pigs and, instead, make a reasonable proposal that will allow everyone to get back to the business of playing football.

    Stay tuned.

  5. #5
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    Re: Appeals Court Grants NFL Stay, Lockout Remains In Place

    I am very thankful for the ruling from the 8th circuit to uphold the lockout, mainly because I think I would rather the owners "win", for the simple fact that I feel that they are much better "stewards of the game" than the players unio... I mean association. Also Av... "trade federation?" Do you think that this is Star Wars?

    Below are salary caps since 1999. Anyone who says that the players aren't getting their fair share are absolutely lying. The cap has doubled in the last ten years. Can anyone say that their salary has doubled in the last ten years? Yes, the system has spread out the players much like the rest of the nation, where a small minority get paid huge sums and there a bunch of rank and file players who aren't, but anyone who plays is making easily 6-8 years of a good living per year.

    1999 $58.4 million
    2000 $62.2 million
    2001 $67.5 million
    2002 $71 million
    2003 $75 million
    2004 $80.5 million
    2005 $85.5 million
    2006 $102 million
    2007 $109 million
    2008 $116 million
    2009 $127 million

    And that is why I actually do support the owners. They have done everything they have thought of to increase the game's income(ok, minus the lockout fund), exposure, and popularity, but they have to give 60% of the additional profits to the players. What is the motivation for working as hard as they have? Further, if the players are going to call themselves "partners," then they should be ponying up money for running the game through a 40% share of all of their endorsements. Seems fair to me.

    Say that 2011 brings in $10 billion, the owners get what they wanted, and get $2B off the top. 60%(roughly what the players get) of the remaining $8B is $4.9B, which when you divide that by 32 teams is a payout of $150 million. Read that again... $150 Million. That's a raise of $23 Million PER TEAM from over the 2009 cap. How can the players say that they are taking a pay cut? Even if they work up towards that number(I think the owner's proposal was $141 million (up $14 million since 2009) in 2011), the players are still going to be making MORE money than before, they just will be making more money less fast. It's not like roster sizes are going up or anything. It's the same 53 players splitting the money just like in 1999 when we had a cap almost 1/3 of what it is today.

    Personally, they need to suck it up that they get paid an average of closing in on $3 million per player per year, let the owners have some more of their profits, so that we can all get back to some football and keep growing the game that we love and pays both sides huge amounts of money.
    I believe!

  6. #6
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Appeals Court Grants NFL Stay, Lockout Remains In Place

    Quote Originally Posted by TekeRam View Post
    I am very thankful for the ruling from the 8th circuit to uphold the lockout, mainly because I think I would rather the owners "win", for the simple fact that I feel that they are much better "stewards of the game" than the players unio... I mean association. Also Av... "trade federation?" Do you think that this is Star Wars?
    LOL. I was wondering if anyone would catch that.

    The NFLPA's claim to be anything other than a de facto union is as fictional as anything in Star Wars.

  7. #7
    RAMarkable is offline Registered User
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    Re: Appeals Court Grants NFL Stay, Lockout Remains In Place

    Quote Originally Posted by TekeRam View Post
    I am very thankful for the ruling from the 8th circuit to uphold the lockout, mainly because I think I would rather the owners "win", for the simple fact that I feel that they are much better "stewards of the game" than the players unio... I mean association. Also Av... "trade federation?" Do you think that this is Star Wars?

    Below are salary caps since 1999. Anyone who says that the players aren't getting their fair share are absolutely lying. The cap has doubled in the last ten years. Can anyone say that their salary has doubled in the last ten years? Yes, the system has spread out the players much like the rest of the nation, where a small minority get paid huge sums and there a bunch of rank and file players who aren't, but anyone who plays is making easily 6-8 years of a good living per year.

    1999 $58.4 million
    2000 $62.2 million
    2001 $67.5 million
    2002 $71 million
    2003 $75 million
    2004 $80.5 million
    2005 $85.5 million
    2006 $102 million
    2007 $109 million
    2008 $116 million
    2009 $127 million

    And that is why I actually do support the owners. They have done everything they have thought of to increase the game's income(ok, minus the lockout fund), exposure, and popularity, but they have to give 60% of the additional profits to the players. What is the motivation for working as hard as they have? Further, if the players are going to call themselves "partners," then they should be ponying up money for running the game through a 40% share of all of their endorsements. Seems fair to me.

    Say that 2011 brings in $10 billion, the owners get what they wanted, and get $2B off the top. 60%(roughly what the players get) of the remaining $8B is $4.9B, which when you divide that by 32 teams is a payout of $150 million. Read that again... $150 Million. That's a raise of $23 Million PER TEAM from over the 2009 cap. How can the players say that they are taking a pay cut? Even if they work up towards that number(I think the owner's proposal was $141 million (up $14 million since 2009) in 2011), the players are still going to be making MORE money than before, they just will be making more money less fast. It's not like roster sizes are going up or anything. It's the same 53 players splitting the money just like in 1999 when we had a cap almost 1/3 of what it is today.

    Personally, they need to suck it up that they get paid an average of closing in on $3 million per player per year, let the owners have some more of their profits, so that we can all get back to some football and keep growing the game that we love and pays both sides huge amounts of money.
    Wow!! What an excellent post. Thanks for putting out some high quality information, Teke. I have resisted posting on this issue in the past because I am for the most part more sympathetic to management than the players. This is because I am owner of my own practice and, therefore, my experience is more management oriented.

    To me its all about risk. Until and unless the players want to risk their own slice of the pie and deal with the issues of trying to attract what amounts to people's entertainment dollars when we are in the midst of a shrinking economy, then I am not all that sympathetic to their "plight."

    Bottom line: Put up or shut the hell up.

    Well, now ya'll can see why haven't been posting on this issue....

  8. #8
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Appeals Court Grants NFL Stay, Lockout Remains In Place

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    In this case, it is patently obvious that the decertification was merely a bargaining tactic designed to remove the dispute from National Labor Relations Board jurisdiction, thereby opening the door for a district court suit under antitrust law.
    I'd call this "sneaky", but as you mentioned Av, it's so painfully obvious that the players are just playing legal games, "in your face" is a better way of putting it.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    To me its all about risk. Until and unless the players want to risk their own slice of the pie and deal with the issues of trying to attract what amounts to people's entertainment dollars when we are in the midst of a shrinking economy, then I am not all that sympathetic to their "plight.
    Good point. I'm not happy with either side, but I do see the owners as the ones creating the opportunity for the players to prosper and as you said, taking the business risk.


    Man, I wish this would just get done so we can move on and get excited about football again. Spinning your wheels and cooling your heels stinks!

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