The June 3rd hearing and what it could mean

Posted by Kip Earlywine

There hasn’t been a lot of NFL news since the draft, and that’s been because the NFL and Player’s reps have pretty much decided not to talk* until after hearing the ruling from the 8th circuit court of appeals.  I’m not a law major, but my layman’s understanding is that because the first judge (Nelson) ruled in favor of the players, the Owner’s appealed and sent it to the 8th circuit, which will begin hearing arguments tomorrow and is expected to make a ruling in 4-6 weeks.

There was a short but good read on the situation posted at the bleacher report today.  It only takes a few minutes to read and is easy to understand, but there were a couple of parts I’d like to highlight:

“The current feeling after the Eighth Circuit Court granted the owners’ request for a stay of the injunction (to keep the Lockout in place) is that they will rule in favor of the owners.”

He provides reasoning why he thinks the 8th circuit leans in favor of the owners, then later he adds:

“However, I’m more concerned with what might happen if the players lose, not the owners.  DeMaurice Smith seems like a man on a mission and has a serious case of tunnel vision.  If they lose this appeal, he may very well appeal this all the way to the Supreme Court.  If that happens, you can all but kiss the 2011 season goodbye.”

I definitely agree with the latter part, and I’ll trust the writer on the former.  Not just Smith, but seemingly every player rep I’ve heard speak on these issues have taken a hard line- a no compromise stance.  In some ways, I really do feel for the players and I understand their reasons for not budging an inch.  But at least the owners have offered compromises, and if they lose, I could see them compromising further, which may potentially get the players to bite.  However if the players lose, I have a very hard time seeing them budging, since they won the first ruling and because they essentially feel “wronged” in this whole thing.

And its true that if the players do lose and decide to appeal (very likely), it would then go all the way to the Supreme Court, which would take a very long time to reach a hearing, if they get one at all.  If that happens, then forget about the 2011 season.

And this would be especially troublesome for the Seahawks, who were handicapped in the draft and have to rely more than usual on trade/free agency this year.  And while we don’t know exactly how the 2012 draft would play out after a cancelled 2011 season, it doesn’t help the Seahawks odds of getting the high pick they’d need for a franchise QB prospect.

Of course, there isn’t reason to despair just yet.  The ruling won’t be made until July most likely.  But I find myself actually rooting for the players on this one, even though I generally support the owners.  Because like the author of the article I linked, there is more hope of spurned discussions should the owners lose this ruling.

*although rumor has it that Goodell had a “secret” meeting today with 3 major owners, and later on there was a general closed door meeting between the owners and players.  Who knows if this actually means anything, but at least the two sides are talking to each other again.


  1. Trenchtown

    If it makes you feel better, appealing to the Supreme Court can actually be a fairly quick process after a ruling from the 8th Circuit. The Supreme Court is not obligated to hear any case and can deny certiorari, which means they refuse to hear the case. That can happen with a quarter page decision by the SCOTUS. Granted, the Supreme Court might also decide to hear the case, and then yes, they will not be hearing it until the fall session. If it makes you feel better, if I were to bet, I would say that the Supreme Court would deny review either outcome because the review would likely have to be about the appropriateness of a preliminary injunction and not on the case on the merits which hasn’t be tried yet. The only real concern is that they take the case to carve out Norris-La Guardia, which would be bad news for an NFL season.

    • Kip Earlywine

      That’s my hope as well. Cases get denied for the Supreme Court all the time, although the high profile cases usually don’t.

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