PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The 89-page opinion issued by federal Judge Susan Nelson would seem to end the football owners’ lockout of their players.
And that’s good news for football fans says Jay Reisinger, a local sports attorney who represents players.
“As it stands now, unless the 8th circuit Court of Appeals overturns Judge Nelson’s decision, we will have a season in 2011,” he said.
Judge Nelson enjoined or stopped the lockout because she saw irreparable harm to football players.
“Irreparable harm would be caused to the current players by being locked out because in the NFL careers are short, and the loss of a year or more in a player’s career would be irreparable harm,” says Reisinger.
Some players showed up for work the day after the decision but team owners weren’t prepared to accept them.
“Everybody knew when this ruling was going to come out,” Reisinger said. “I am shocked and quite frankly dismayed that the NFL did not have plans in place for this type of situation.”
Now just because the judge has issued a lengthy and strong opinion, doesn’t mean the legal proceedings are over. The NFL, on behalf of the team owners, is already back in court.
Team owners filed for a stay in the decision while they appealed to a higher court. Reisinger says owners are unlikely to win and should start to bargain with the players.
“They felt that the lockout would give the NFL teams leverage against the players,” he notes. “Now, given the judge’s decision, that’s over. So therefore they will now have to go back to the bargaining table.”
“Their position is going to be somewhat weakened, but it is in the best interest of both parties to reach a mutually acceptable collective bargaining agreement.”
If the lawsuit goes forward and the court finds against team owners, they could face triple damages.
And without a negotiated contract, owners could face the end of salary caps, the draft, and free agency with every player an independent contractor free to get the best deal he could.