May 10, 2011
The whole temporary stay thing is starting to sound permanent, as the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to rule on a stay that would allow the lockout to continue through the appeals process. But that doesn’t mean there is no court activity to discuss…
NFL files brief, gets NHL’s support … The wheels are in motion in the NFL’s appeal to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, as the league filed its brief opposing Judge Susan Nelson’s injunction that lifted to the lockout. The NFL’s argument features more of the same points that we’ve been hearing over and over: the NFLPA’s decertification is a sham, Nelson didn’t have jurisdiction to lift the lockout, lifting the lockout causes harm to the league, etc. We’ve heard it all before, and we’ll continue to hear the same things. In the meantime, someone please take away Reggie Bush’s Twitter account.
We’re still waiting for the court to rule on granting the league a stay, although it already granted a temporary stay, which is why we still haven’t seen free agency. In the event that the lockout is lifted, the NFL has yet to decide on rules for operating without a new CBA. Everyone has assumed that the league would operate under 2010 rules, but that’s not necessarily going to happen. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello offered an official statement on the matter, saying: “Our goal has at all times been the same — to operate under a negotiated set of procedures that are agreed to by the clubs and the NFLPA. The current litigation has created a significant amount of uncertainty, and we are therefore considering a wide range of alternatives depending on developments.” In other words, standard PR stuff.
In addition, the NHL decided to chime in on the NFL’s labor dispute, throwing its full support behind the NFL before its CBA expires in 2012. Understandably, the NHL would like to see some favorable precedents set before it has to enter the labor dispute fray again. Of course, no one knows how to deal with a labor problem like the NHL.
Next up, the players must file their reply by May 20, and the league’s reply to that reply is due May 26. The hearing is set for June 3. Between all that, the two sides are supposed to resume mediation with Judge Arthur Boylan next Monday, May 16.
- Speaking just in terms of the 2011 season, the NFL’s most important rookie could be Falcon WR Julio Jones. The team traded a boatload of draft picks to move up to get him, and he’ll instantly start opposite Roddy White for a Super Bowl contender. Falcon fans will be happy to know that Jones is already working out with QB Matt Ryan.
- Somewhat surprisingly, the Seahawks opted against taking a QB in the 2011 draft. Of course, they had several needs as a 7-9 playoff team, and they instead took another offensive lineman in the 1st round (OT James Carpenter). HC Pete Carroll said the team was not prepared to take a QB and had to address those other needs. With Matt Hasselbeck’s Seattle future up in the air, we have no idea who will be under center for the Seahawks in September, although bringing Hasselbeck would probably make the most sense… especially if the other answer is “Charlie Whitehurst.”
- The NFL’s concussion problem has been overshadowed by the lockout, but it’s certainly not going away. A new study by Virginia Tech indicates that a significant portion of players wore poorly rated helmets in 2010.
- The Vikings do not like a Minneapolis stadium plan that would require them to put up $400 million toward their own new stadium.
- Sorry AFC fans, but broadcaster Gus Johnson appears set to switch from CBS to FOX, meaning he’ll likely be doing NFC games this fall – in addition to college football work under FOX’s new deal with the Pac-12.