Apr 5, 2011
Courtroom football will begin in just a day, so some of the media focus on the draft will shift back to the lockout situation this week. While we do not expect to have an immediate ruling, the start of this hearing will at least bring us closer to having some sort of resolution with the hope it brings us football sooner than later.
Active, retired players have suits combined … by U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson. This means that the scheduled hearing for Wednesday will include arguments not only for the attorneys representing the current players, like Tom Brady, but also for the retirees, who filed a lawsuit against the league because the lockout could jeopardize their benefits. The league didn’t oppose combining the cases, but still wants the lockout to continue. With the suits melded, Panther owner Jerry Richardson and Packer president Mark Murphy wrote a letter to the retirees detailing the offer made to the NFLPA. Judge Nelson could rule from the bench on Wednesday to lift the lockout, or the proceedings could go on for days and possibly weeks. Unlike the negotiations last month, we won’t be able to get quick updates via Twitter, as no phones will be allowed in the courtroom.
Vrabel arrested at Indiana Casino … for apparently taking eight bottles of beer without paying for them. While this doesn’t seem like a big deal, a theft of that magnitude in the state of Indiana is considered a class D felony, which can bring between six months and three years and jail plus a fine of up to $10,000. Vrabel was released after posting a $600 bond and issued a statement: “It was an unfortunate misunderstanding, and I take full responsibility for the miscommunication. I’m sorry and I feel comfortable that after talking with the appropriate parties, we will resolve this matter.” Although he is a free agent, Vrabel’s last team, the Chiefs, released a statement as well, which read: We are aware of the reports regarding Mike Vrabel, but we are not permitted to have contact with Mike at this time. We understand that Mike has communicated publicly that the matter is a misunderstanding for which he takes full responsibility. We hope it is resolved for Mike in a positive way.” While the crime appears to be minor, the timing from a PR standpoint couldn’t be any worse with the lockout hearing starting on Wednesday.
Goodell wants HGH testing … as part of the new CBA. Goodell made this known while speaking to high school students in Woodlawn, Maryland as part of assembly to discuss the dangers of PEDs. Goodell told reporters, “We’d be naive to think that people aren’t trying to cheat the system. But we have to have the best testing program to be able to offset that.” While HGH is considered illegal to use in the NFL, there was no testing for it in the last CBA, although the NFLPA was open to listening to proposals for the next (yet to be signed) CBA.
- Raven safety-turned-pugilist Tom Zbikowski will return to the squared circle on April 23 in Thackerville, Oklahoma for his fourth professional boxing match. Zbikowski currently stands at a perfect 3-0 after winning a unanimous decision on March 26 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.