It was announced Monday that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals judges granted the NFL Owners their extended stay. Now the lockout will continue at least until the appeal of the original case is heard and decided on. That appeal is scheduled to begin on June 3. So, at least for the next month, the NFL will be no-business as usual.
This ruling comes as a big relief to the owners who would have been forced to lift the lockout if they were not granted a stay, and possibly even forced to seek a settlement before the June 3 appeal date. For now, it seems, that the owners still have the upper hand.
"This is the decision that, practically, means everything," said Robert Boland, a professor of sports management at New York University and labor and antitrust lawyer who has worked as a sports agent. "This is who has control fo the game board. That's far more important, practically, than who has the legal rights on their side. If the league is opened for business it's very difficult for owners to push them back out. Every day they are open, the economic value and the optics says you need to stay open. This puts a lot of pressure on players. No roster bonuses will be paid. there won't be per diems which are important to younger players. It's the worst thing for them from a solidarity perspective."
The next step is the appeal. If the appeal is won by the owners and the lockout stays in place, the regular season will officially be threatened and players will begin to worry about their regular season checks. Some players (like Carson Palmer who apparently has $80 million in his bank account) will be able to hold off on missing their opening day paychecks but many won't and the players will begin to feel pressured to get a deal done, even if it means they have to settle for the NFL's deal.
However, if the players win the appeal, the lockout will be lifted and the owners will have to open their doors, begin paying players with offseason workout bonuses and for per diems and the NFL will go back to business as usual. This will put some pressure on the owners to be more flexible on the particulars of the deal and could get the players some more money.
Either way, we have some more waiting to do before we find out what happens.
Negotiations did begin again today but little to no progress was made.
In other news, the owners are giant dicks.