Following the now-infamous June 3 hearing in front of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Kermit Bye indicated to the NFL and the NFLPA that the court wouldn't be insulted if the two sides reached a settlement before the court reached a ruling.
And Bye also said that if the two sides couldn't find common ground, the court wouldn't exactly be opposed to rendering a ruling that "neither side will like." That seems like a difficult proposition, but it's not entirely out of the question.
In fact, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (who's an actual licensed attorney) put together a pretty good explanation of it on Sunday.
Basically, the Court of Appeals can rule that 1) the lockout is still on and that the lockout can last for a full year, and 2) there is a six-month limit on the non-statutory antitrust exemption.
And what that means is while the lockout could last throughout the entire 2011 season, the antitrust exemption would end on September 11. And what that means is that if the lockout did last for the entire year, the owners would potentially be liable -- in the Brady v. NFL antitrust suit -- for triple the entire 2011 NFL payroll.
Obviously, that's a LOT of cheddar; such liability creates a highly unfavorable scenario for the owners even as the idea of missing a year's worth of paychecks would create some substantial panic amongst all the NFL's players.
Which is precisely why, as our own Mike Freeman reported recently, that it actually makes a ton of sense for the two sides to get together and hammer out a deal before the 8th Circuit has to issue a ruling.
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