The NFL’s Response: Appeal to the 8th Circuit

Posted: April 26, 2011 in Robert J. Romano

The National Football Leagues’ response to District Court Judge Susan Nelson’s ruling – they filed a Notice of Appeal to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis that questions whether the Judge exceeded the jurisdiction of the federal court while also requesting that Judge Nelson stay her ruling (or put her ruling on hold) until the appeals process plays itself out.  In the request for the stay, the NFL argued a “reasonable prospect of success” on appeal.

Judge Nelson’s ruling rejected the NFL’s position that a federal court does not have jurisdiction over a labor dispute while an unfair negotiations charge is pending with the National Labor Relations Board, finding instead, that the NFL Players Association’s decision to “de-unionize” is legitimate because it has “serious consequences” for the players.

Judge Nelson decision referenced U.S. District Judge David Doty, who has frequently ruled for the players in the past, and stated the players are likely to suffer harm by the lockout, and that they’re already feeling the hurt now since a NFL players’ career is so short.

In an opinion piece posted on the Wall Street Journal’s website, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote that Nelson’s ruling “may significantly alter professional football as we know it. … By blessing this negotiating tactic (recognizing the players’ right to dissolve their union), the decision may endanger one of the most popular and successful sports leagues in history.”

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said, “My hope is really is that there’s somebody on the other side that loves football as much as our players and fans do.”

With the injunction lifted, the NFL must resume business and they can invoke the rules that both sides played by in the 2010 season.  In addition, since there was no salary cap in 2010, each team could spend as much or as little as they want on player contracts.

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