NFL Players Bracing For Full Stay Of Lockout Injunction?

Are Roger Goodell, the owners and the NFL getting ready to win a second consecutive legal battle? Rumors swirl that the stay will remain intact until the June 3rd appeal date.

Breaking news from the twitter world (so tread carefully). Reliable source Albert Breer has tweeted that he is getting the sense from various players that the NFLPA thinks the stay request by the owners will be permanently enacted.

A temporary stay was granted late last week by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals by a 2-to-1 vote. That ruling put a stop to the injunction granted by Federal Judge Susan Nelson that had allowed players back into team facilities and to have contact with coaching staffs. The injunction lasted just long enough for the franchises to communicate with their injured players, free agents and first round draft picks. All teams, except for the bumbling front office of Miami, gave playbooks to their first rounders. Combined with the player-led workouts, teams are in a race to see who can duplicate what the 1987 Redskins did. That team was reportedly the most closely-knit bunch through the stoppage and parlayed that into a championship season.

A full stay would mean that the lockout would be in effect until the appeal hearing took place. That date was set yesterday, on an expedited schedule, and will be June 3rd. Other dates of importance were announced as well.

-- NFL Appeals brief due to the court May 9th

-- Players response to brief due May 20th

-- NFL's reply to players reply due May 26th

It is widely believed that the onus is on the owner's side to prove that Judge Nelson did not consider all legal precedents when ruling the lockout unjust.

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Breer proposes that Judge Nelson's denial of a stay was on the grounds that an appeal would take months, as the appeals process would normally put the case back in the courtroom no sooner than October or November. That would in fact, cause irreparable harm to the plaintiffs. An expedited appeal, however, would 'make the stay more palatable.'

@trbechmann Sense I'm getting from folks ... Logic: expedited appeal means less harm to players, which would make the stay more palatable.via web Favorite Retweet Reply

 

Full stay would, in essence, eliminate offseason programs for '11. Generally those wrap in mid-June, which is earliest we could get ruling.via web Favorite Retweet Reply

 

This brings a huge point of confusion and contention for me; and my immediate thought was echoed by a few retweets. If the full stay eliminates the offseason program, wouldn't that be the ultimate definition of irreparable harm to the players? Remember those 150 players that were drafted in rounds 4-7? And the 300 or so UDFA's that annually get invited to training camps. Don't you think this irreparably harms their ability to earn a living? Jobs are being lost every day this lockout progresses, and I'm not talking about millionaires named in the case. No OTA's, shortened training camp? Odds of a late-round prospect getting the shot over a proven vet shrink.  I'm talking about the guys that will sign  deals worth maybe $400K, if they get anything besides their training camp pay. However, to play my own devil's advocate, the owners could easily argue that the headcount doesn't change on training camp rosters and someone the NFLPA represents will get that job.

I am very interested to hear the justification should the stay be granted. Living in the DC area, I always think of how much money the government saves with furlough days when thinking about this current lockout. Each day that the owners don't have to pay benefits, or open for business, or earn interest on monies flagged for bonuses still unpaid, is a small victory for them. Obviously they have their eyes on the prize much larger, but it is a plus for them. We'll keep an eye out for new developments, but it looks like most fans should brace for at least a month of uncertainty.

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