The injunction against the lockout will stand until the owners can find another court that is more favorable to their interests to rule on the case. Judge Susan Nelson denied the owners’ request for a stay on the grounds that their arguments had fallen short and that despite the beliefs and testimony of the ownership group, that the league would indeed NOT be facing irreparable damage if the lockout was lifted.
“The world of ‘chaos’ the NFL claims it has been thrust into — essentially the ‘free-market’ system this nation otherwise willfully operates under — is not compelled by this court’s order,” Nelson wrote.
Now the chaos really could start though as NFL players and agents are demanding an immediate start to free agency, some as soon as tonight, and that would plunge all 32 teams into a complete scramble to contact players, draft players and make roster moves as fast they possibly can. From a fan standpoint, starting free agency and the draft simultaneously would be ridiculously entertaining if a bit anachronistic. Don’t hold your breath for that though. The owners are purportedly filing motions in a court in St. Louis tomorrow hoping that the actions will ultimately lead to a stay so they can appeal Judge Nelson’s decision in Minneapolis.
It is worth noting that traditional logic has the more conservative courts of appeals siding with the owners and I really just don’t see that happening. Conservative in the traditional sense and conservative like we toss it around in this country are different concepts. Though the owners are wealthy businessmen, there is absolutely nothing conservative about asking a course to force a group of workers to reform a union that will then be highly empowered. Especially when the current argument from the player’s side is for a ‘free-market’ system as Judge Nelson alluded to (and real conservatives love that stuff). Nelson is a very intelligent woman, she’s not just making a knee-jerk decision here she is actually being judicious and abiding by legal precedents (despite some of the claims currently circulating). And there is absolutely nothing conservative about a court empowering a union. Especially with the current political climate and conservative union-busting trends at work throughout the country.
At this point the owners are asking a traditionally conservative court to do something very un-conservative because it helps their business interests. If they do win it’s a bastardization of the purpose of the court system, I don’t think they will. I think they’re going to have to sweeten their offer now and hope they can get the players to reinstate themselves as a union and take it. But make no mistake about it, the owners just got dealt a huge blow.