With the NFL Draft now over, it's back to the exciting labor chatter: on Monday, the NFL filed a brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing for the lockout to remain permanently in place until the two sides sort out their differences.
In the middle of the Draft on Friday, we reported that the lockout was back on, thanks to a temporary stay granted by the Court of Appeals in St. Louis. The NFL's brief on Monday wants to keep the lockout going until the two sides can sort out their differences.
The two primary points of the NFL's brief are jurisdiction and the damages that would result in not having a lockout in place.
The NFL cited the Norris-LaGuardia Act in arguing that a federal court "may not interfere -- on either side -- in cases involving or growing out of a labor dispute." In other words, they don't want Nelson affecting the way the labor negotiations play out.
The NFL believes that the lockout would not, as Nelson ruled, cause the "the players no material, and certainly no irreparable harm."
The NFL also stated that, thanks to an expedited appeal, the issues between the two parties "could readily be resolved during the offseason."
"The absence of a stay would irreparably harm the NFL by undercutting its labor law rights and irreversibly scrambling the eggs of player-club transactions," the NFL attorneys wrote. "Absent a stay, there will be trades, player signings, players cut under existing contracts, and a host of other changes in employment relationships" between hundreds of players and the 32 NFL teams.
The players responded with their own letter to the Court of Appeals on Monday afternoon, written "to correct a misstatement by the NFL Defendants in their reply brief."
The players' attorneys cite both "sworn declarations from their agents, who have more than 165 years of collective experience negotiating NFL players' contracts and have first-hand knowledge of the market for NFL players" and "multiple declarations from Richard A. Berthelsen -- an attorney for the NFLPA for almost 40 years who has witnessed previous occasions when the NFL Defendants operated without a collective bargaining agreement and suffered no harm."
In other words, the issue at hand in deciding whether or not the lockout stays or goes is who's being harmed the most right now.
The players argued that they are harmed irreparably in the immediate sense and Nelson agreed with them, lifting the lockout.
The NFL said that's an exaggerated claim. Players, the league said, would not lose their opportunity to play for the team of their choice once the league year begins, even if that's in late June or early July instead of early May. That process usually starts in early March.
The NFL complained that Nelson ignored evidence that many players, including two of the 10 plaintiffs, Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins, skip team-organized workouts in the offseason. Jackson and Mankins both held out well into the start of the 2010 season, the league noted, "indicating that missing time in the offseason is not irreparable harm."
The NFL also cited comments by players Ray Lewis and Wes Walker about their appreciation of extra free time now with the lockout in place and no mandatory minicamps or other offseason activities allowed to take place.
Welker said, "Let's do a lockout every year," according to the league's court filing.
Those comments don't help the players' case of course, but it may not matter -- the Court of Appeals must find that Nelson (essentially) abused her judicial power if they overturn her ruling.
It's not simply enough to disagree with her decision or to find the players' comments about the lockout pithy enough to make them worth flipping a legal ruling.
Certainly the Court of Appeals could find that the NFL is more at risk for immediate irreparable harm, though, and that could result in the lockout remaining until a final ruling is made.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.