As the second day of court-ordered mediation is underway in Minnesota, it's presumed that the NFLPA will throw up their collective -- but un-unionized! -- hands, and take the best reasonable deal the owners will offer.
I don't see that happening just quite yet.
My colleagues Mike Freeman and Clark Judge both made excellent cases for why the leverage-less players should get to work on making a settlement happen.
And they weren't the only ones writing doom-and-gloom scenarios for the players. There was good reason for these opinions -- the language from the 8th Circuit regarding irreparable harm is a brutal blow to the players.
But just because the 8th Circuit favored the owners in this instance, it's not guaranteed that the 8th Circuit will favor the owners in the future.
This is critical, as DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA are still sitting on a pretty big, $4 billion bullet that is the TV lockout fund case.
Judge David Doty will rule on that some time in the near future; the status is currently "under advisement," so there's no set timeline for the District Court Senior Judge to rule.
Presumably, he's going to hammer the owners, who he believe heavily violated their partners' trust by negotiating in a subversive manner with the networks. And, presumably, the NFL is going file an appeal with the 8th Circuit ... again.
But here's the interesting thing: the 8th Circuit, while notoriously "pro-business," isn't beholden to the NFL in this matter.
In fact, the crux of their ruling on Monday is the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which centers around whether or not a labor dispute -- i.e. a dispute arising between an employer and a union -- can be resolved by the federal courts.
What's important to remember here is that, while the Court of Appeals is concerned with fixing the game of football, they're probably a touch more concerned with not setting a precedent for any union in America to decertify (even temporarily) going forward, with the express intent of creating legal leverage.
However, the presumed appeal they'll see on Judge Doty's TV ruling doesn't involve the Norris-LaGuardia Act. At all. It's just a standard appeal.
Which makes it a lot more likely that the players can score a "win" (insomuch as these exist these days) on appeal. The players know, and the owners certainly know this.
It's why you're hearing reports that the owners are pushing for some sort of settlement while they have the most leverage firmly in hand.
And the players, I imagine, will certainly listen to any sort of settlement offer that comes their way. Just don't bank on them caving quite yet.
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