Published April 25, 2011
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that Judge Susan Nelson has granted a preliminary injunction to the NFL players, lifting the NFL lockout.
The league will seek an immediate stay of the injunction pending appeal.
Judge Nelson apparently did not include a stay in her ruling, meaning the league will have to get a stay from 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.
The NFL is now in a huge bind. With the Draft just three days away, this would normally a time for a frenzy of transactions and other business. Trades, free agents signings, roster cuts, new rookie contract signings. But they have no blueprint for how to proceed.
Before they can do anything, they would have to impose a set of rules. With the CBA expired, they could automatically enforce the existing 2010 rules or the new rules based on the last offer they made to players. Or make it up as they go along.
They could do none of those things while they wait for a ruling on the stay, but if they take too long — if they do nothing and don't let the players return to work — that could be seen as collusion and a violation of Judge Nelson's ruling, making it even more likely that will lose the anti-trust lawsuit and face even stiffer penalties.
Plus, if they try to impose new 2011 CBA rules that player deem unfair, that could prompt more legal filings by the players, more injunctions from Nelson ... and general chaos.
The written ruling is 89 pages, so basically nobody knows anything at this point.
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