We now have a date for the next big item in the NFL lockout fiasco. After the NFLPA decertified, a group of players have filed an antitrust lawsuit against the owners in hopes of stopping a lockout. That lawsuit will be heard on April 6th. But, there's a twist. We all thought the case would go before Judge David Doty, who has handled other lawsuits involving the NFL, and usually ruled in favor of the players. This had the NFL owners very worried, but they don't have to concern themselves with that now. At least initially.
A request by NFL players to keep the league and its teams from locking them out will be heard by a federal judge on April 6 -- the first time the two sides will be in a courtroom since the labor pact fell apart. The players wanted the case before U.S. District Judge David Doty, who has overseen NFL labor matters since the early 1990s and issued a number of rulings against the league.
Instead, the case was assigned to Judge Susan Richard Nelson. The players claim that it's no big deal because they feel they have the law on their side, so it won't matter who the judge is, but you have to believe they would have liked the case to go before Doty. And it still might.
Former U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Tom Heffelfinger said there is a way for the case to still wind up in front of Doty.
"If either the court or one of the parties designates the case as a related case to one that has been previously assigned to another judge, it could get reassigned," Heffelfinger said ... Because that case has not been closed, the possibility remains that the new case could be designated as related and therefore reassigned to Doty.
In other lockout lunacy news, the NFLPA - err, what's left of the NFLPA after decertification - is trying to get the top draft prospects to boycott the draft.
The NFL Players Association is putting into place a plan that would prevent each top college prospect from attending next month's draft in New York, according to multiple league sources. The NFLPA already has contacted 17 top prospects who ordinarily would have received an invitation to attend the draft and informed them not to go.
"As of right now, this is 100 percent happening," one source familiar with the NFL Players Association's thinking said earlier Monday. "This is going down."
Going down is the operative phrase. As in this whole thing is going down the tubes. What a freakin' mess! Can't we just play some football!?