A couple weeks ago, we mentioned that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decision following the lockout hearing would directly relate to whether or not the judges on the court's panel believed the union "actually" decertified or not.
That suspicion was confirmed within the first few minutes of the oral arguments from each side, as the NFL and the players were grilled on whether or not the NFLPA's decertification was a ploy to generate legal leverage.
Per Albert Breer of the NFL Network, the judges asked the players attorneys -- specifically Ted Olson -- about "tactical disclaimers" in decertification. The clear-cut indication is that the court, known as pro-business, is concerned about exactly what we believed they were concerned with: unions disbanding simply in order to generate leverage.
In fact Judge Benton apparently got "aggressive from the bench" and proceeded to read part of the LaGuardia-Norris Act to Olson and the players' attorneys.
"Doesn't that make the district court completely wrong?" Benton asked, per Breer.
According to Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post, the two judges who sided with the owners previously asked "many questions" to the players' side. Judge Bye, who was the dissenting judge in the stay rulings each time, didn't say a word early on.
Of course, the players' argument doesn't really center around their decertification -- they believe what they did is legal and very much real. In fact, their focus was on the antitrust issues facing the players now that they have decertified.
"[The] League deperately wants these players to continue to be in union so it can continue to violate antitrust laws," Olson said, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
And that's the crux of the players' argument. The only problem is, it might not matter at all if the Court of Appeals doesn't believe the union decertified.
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