The NFL and the NFLPA spent the day in court yesterday, arguing their respective cases in front of Judge Susan Nelson who will decide whether or not to uphold the NFL's decision to lockout players. Neither side really moved the ball any further down the field yesterday. If anything, it seemed as though Nelson's questions and remarks supported the players' case for decertification and lifting the lockout. Nelson will issue a decision in a "couple weeks," in the meantime she urged both sides to continue talking.
Speaking of talk, here's a recap of the day in quotes.
Here's Judge Nelson to NFL counsel David Boies, aruging whether the Norris-LaGuardia Act gave the court jursidiction:
Isn't there some bit of irony that the Norris-LaGuardia Act is designed to protect employees from strike-breaking federal judges, should now be used to prevent an injunction of a wealthy, multi-employer unit seeking to break players who are no longer in a union?
Quotes like that led many to speculate that Nelson favored the union's argument regarding the jurisdiction of the courts. And this:
These folks, they can decertify if they want to.
Ultimately, Nelson strongly encouraged both sides to return to negotiations, under her supervision. Working out a new agreement under the supervision of the Federal courts, however, is a deal breaker for the NFL. Said one NFL lawyer:
That's not acceptable to me.
The supervision of the judiciary isn't acceptable to the NFL primarily because they don't believe that they can get as good of a deal there. And they can't. It's a much more level playing field, because it gives the players more consideration than they would receiver in other venues.
There's a long way to go in fight. Nelson's ruling, in a "couple week" will be the next step, likely followed by an appeal.
I don't know much about a lot of this stuff, but I feel pretty good about how this went.
That was LB Mike Vrabel, one of the plaintiffs. Lifting the lockout might not be the best course of action, though it would get the business of football going sooner than any other. Ideally, Nelson's ruling would force both sides back to mediation under her supervision.
That ruling could stipulate that those talks continue even while the decision is under appeal, which is most certainly will be. That's important because of the irreparable harm contention at the heart of this case: the long the season is delayed, the more hard done to players who lose time in their already short careers.