In an effort not to inundate you with arguments over the uncontrollable (yeah, right), we've avoided the lockout topic for a while now. However, the big day has finally arrived as the legal proceedings start today in the 8th US District Court in Minneapolis. 10 players filed suit asking for an injunction to the lockout, claiming 'irreparable harm' to their careers. The filing also levied anti-trust complaints against the league and its teams, citing unfair blocking of a man's right to negotiate the best deal for himself.
An injunction puts everyone back to work, and jump starts the NFL offseason calendar that came to a grinding halt on March 11th, 2011. It would allow operations to continue, and force the sides back to the negotiation table. This would most likely result in playing the 2011 season under the 2010 rules: no salary cap and no benefits provided to the players.
Currently, players are not allowed on team properties, and coaching staffs are not allowed to make any contact with the players. It has made for a very boring offseason, but has probably given the world a chance to know more about this current draft class than any before it. Unfortunately, it also allows trivial stories like the Dez Bryant Wheel of Fortune to spiral out of control. Of course, he's a Cowboy so that would have most likely happened anyway; he seemed to receive the same level of coverage as another NFL player charged with felony attempted homicide.
The game we all know and love will now be argued in court. Lawyers will now fan their feathers in an effort to sway the opinion of the federal government. This LA Times piece details the high level of competency at the lawyer's desks for both sides. Judge Susan Richard Nelson now holds the remote control to our Football Sundays. I think regardless of which side you agree with, the owners or the players, we all just want someone to tell these guys to get back to their jobs so we can escape from ours.
Follow the jump for a time line of how we arrived here, since the end of the 2010 NFL season.
Let's review the timeline of the recent events that have brought the NFL world to Minnesota, through the lens of the BTB microscope.
-- 3/2: Federal Judge rules that the TV deals signed by the NFL gave them lockout insurance and froze the funds until a resolution.
-- 3/11: NFLPA Decertifies
-- 3/11: NFL Locks out players; 9 current players and 1 incoming file suit against the NFL for anti-trust violations and request injunction on lockout.
-- 3/12: NFL Owners give public statement providing some information about the deal they offered.
-- 3/17: NFL Front Offices institute pay cuts (save for JJ and the Cowboys).
-- 3/18: Full transcript released from SB Nation interviews Roger Goodell and Jeff Pash
-- 3/19: Full transcript released from SB Nation Interviews DeMaurice Smith and Takeo Spikes
-- 3/20: BTB Poll gauging the waters for the blame game; owners or players (Mar 20)
-- 3/24: Cowboys fined by the league for illegal contact during the 'dead period' prior to lockout.
-- 3/25: PSL Owner sues Cleveland Browns and the NFL for breach of contract due to cancelling NFL games already paid for.
-- 4/6: Suit and Tie Day, the lockout goes to court.