Round 1 Goes to the Players: Judge Nelson Will Not Allow the Owners to Lockout Players

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson apparently was persuaded by the Former NFL Players’ Association’s position that the lockout was causing irreparable harm.

Per her opinion, the players “have made a strong showing that allowing the League to continue their ‘lockout’ is presently inflicting, and will continue to inflict, irreparable harm upon them, particularly when weighed against the lack of any real injury that would be imposed on the NFL by issuing the preliminary injunction.”

“The public ramifications of this dispute exceed the abstract principles of the antitrust laws, as professional football involves many layers of tangible economic impact, ranging from broadcast revenues down to concessions sales,” she wrote. “And, of course, the public interest represented by the fans of professional football — who have a strong investment in the 2011 season — is an intangible interest that weighs against the lockout. In short, this particular employment dispute is far from a purely private argument over compensation.”

Granting the injunction swings the leverage to the players’ side, so therefore, it is logical that the NFL will immediately appeal the ruling.

“We will promptly seek a stay from Judge Nelson pending an expedited appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals,” the league said. “We believe that federal law bars injunctions in labor disputes. We are confident that the Eighth Circuit will agree. But we also believe that this dispute will inevitably end with a collective bargaining agreement, which would be in the best interests of players, clubs and fans. We can reach a fair agreement only if we continue negotiations toward that goal.”

The NFL Owners’ position was that it is their right to lockout the players and that the federal court does not have jurisdiction while the National Labor Relations Board considers an unfair labor charge that the players failed negotiate in good faith.

Now the question is, what happens next? The collective bargaining agreement has expired, so what will happen with free agency, trades and offseason workouts?  All of these were banned under the lockout.

The NCAA Not Happy With Ohio State Football Coach Jim Tressel.

Jim Tressel, Head Football Coach at Ohio State University, has a record of 106-22 and under his leadership the Buckeyes won the 2002 National Championship. The football team went 12-1 last season and beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl by the score of 31-26.  However, winning will not shield you or your University from the long-arm of the NCAA.

On Monday, the NCAA accused Coach Tressel of withholding information and lying in an effort to keep players eligible who had accepted improper benefits.

In a thirteen-page Notice of Allegations, the NCAA alleges that Coach Tressel “permitted football student-athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics while ineligible.” It also alleges that he “failed to deport himself … (with) honesty and integrity”.  It continued by claiming that Coach Tressel lied when he filled out a NCAA compliance form in September 2010 that stated he had no knowledge of any NCAA violations by any of his players.

The NCAA usually considers these to be “major violations” but did not cite Ohio State University itself, since allegedly Coach Tressel hid the information from the University for more than nine months.

This whole incident began when Coach Tressel received an email on April 2, 2010, from former player and Columbus lawyer Christopher Cicero.  Attorney Cicero informed Coach Tressel that a federal agency raided the house of tattoo-shop owner and discovered autographed Ohio State jerseys, cleats, pants and helmets, Big Ten championship rings and the “gold pants” trinkets given to Buckeyes players for beating Michigan.

Coach Tressel’s response to the email: “I will get on it ASAP.”   However, he did not.  He failed to notify Ohio State President, anyone else in the athletic department, the compliance department, or anyone in the legal department.

Coach Tressel later admitted to covering up his own knowledge of the players’ violations and received a five-game suspension and a $250,000 fine. The NCAA could accept Ohio State’s suggestion of sanctions, or could levy much more severe penalties.  One such penalty could be vacating the entire 2010 regular season.

Miami Dolphin Receiver Stabbed by Wife

Michi Nogami-Marshall, wife of Miami Dolphin’s wide receiver Brandon Marshall, was arrested and
charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after she allegedly stabbed her husband with a kitchen knife.  Ms. Marshall claimed she was defending herself, Brandon Marshall claimed he slipped and fell on a broken glass vase, but the evidence didn’t substantiate either’s claim.

The National Football League lockout restricts a team’s contact with players, but a Dolphin team doctor can see Marshall to evaluate his condition.  Also, the Dolphins, per the rules, can express appropriate well wishes.  Isn’t that nice.

Brandon Marshall is no stranger to the justice system.  In 2009, he was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia on battery charges after he fought with his then finance, Michi Nogami-Marshall. The case was dismissed after both parties refused to testify.

Additionally, Marshall was involved in a fight that led to a drive-by slaying of former Denver Bronco, Darrent Williams.