Last night Judge Nelson ruled in favor of the players on the injunction hearing which has temporarily lifted the lockout…sort of…but not really. This has spurred a lot of confusion and there is much speculation floating around right now. I’ve tried gathering the most credible information out there from various sources (mostly from the Twitter world) including Chris Mortenson, Adam Schefter, Jeff McLane, and Andrew Brandt in order to answer some questions that folks, including me, have about this craziness that is going on right now.
The current situation is tougher to figure out than the Da Vinci Code. So far, here is what I have been able to decipher. I’m sure more info will become available as the day goes by and even more news tomorrow.
Q.) Can teams sign and/or trade players right now?
A.) No. The NFL filed for a motion to “stay” the lockout pending the appeal process and will not open the league for business until they are granted or denied the motion.
Q.) What is a “stay”?
A.) This just simply means that things stay as is until the NFL’s appeal case can be heard in the Appellate Court.
Q.) When will the stay be ruled on?
A.) The latest at the time of me writing this is that Judge Nelson has given the NFLPA until 9am CST tomorrow morning to respond to the request for a stay. It is presumed that she will give her ruling tomorrow.
Q.) What happens if a stay is granted?
A.) The lockout resumes as normal until the NFL’s appeal is heard in court and ruled on.
Q.) What happens if the stay is denied?
A.) This is the question of the day. From what I’m gathering, Judge Nelson is the 1st one that has to rule on this. But it sounds like it would then have to go to the 8th Circuit Court to give the final ruling. If denied there, the NFL would presumably open for business and begin the “league year” but would have to set rules. Most likely things would revert to 2010 rules.
Q.) Can players report to their team facilities?
A.) Yes but the NFL has “suggested” that they keep their weight rooms closed.
Q.) Can coaches and players talk now?
A.) No. The NFL told the teams that coaches and players are still not to have contact.
Q.) Does this mean that there will definitely be football in 2011?
A.) Not yet. There is the appeals process to get through but it is a great sign. Unless the NFL wins the appeal, which is not likely, there will be football come September (but it doesn’t mean there will be a new CBA by then).
1. If Judge Nelson denies the owners’ request for a stay, will it actually have to make its way to the 8th Circuit Court for another ruling? In essence, do 2 courts have to rule on whether or not to grant the stay or is Judge Nelson’s ruling enough?
2. If it has to go to the 8th Circuit Court, how long will that take?
3. How likely is it that there will be player trades/signings allowed in time for the draft this week?
4. What exactly does that tweet from Adam Schefter mean in relation to all the talk about the 8th Circuit Court?
The ruling on the request for a stay is significant if you hope that there can be player movement by the draft this week. If you are hoping to see Kevin Kolb traded for 2011 draft picks then you want to follow this closely. It seems like things are a little too chaotic to start allowing player movement in time for the draft but who knows. Stay tuned!
By the way, if you know the answer to any of my above 3 unanswered questions, please share! I will update the situation as answers become available.
**As I was getting ready to post this article, I saw this tweet from Adam Schefter:
Players have asked Judge Nelson to force NFL owners to start the league year. Judge ordered owners to respond by 5pm tomorrow.
To me, this again adds to the confusion surrounding my unanswered question #1. Any thoughts on the matter?