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Tag:NFLPA
Posted on: April 29, 2011 7:03 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2011 7:09 pm
 

Court gives NFL stay, the lockout is back on

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- In the middle of the second round of the NFL Draft, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals announced they'd granted the NFL's motion for a stay. Yes, that means the lockout is back on.

Interestingly, however, the Order -- a copy of which CBSSports.com has obtained -- announcing the return of the lockout also contains a dissenting judge; one of the judges did not believe that the the clubs' situations are ones that "truly qualify as emergencies."
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Additionally, the judge refuted the claim of the NFL that their operations are a "complex process that requires time to coordinate." That claim, the judge wrote in the Order, "is severely undermined by the fact that the NFL had, within a day of the district court's order ... already planned post-injunction operations."

This dissenting judge is especially notable because, while the lockout may be "on" once again, the NFL didn't get the clean sweep from the Appellate Court that many folks believed they would.

It appears, as of this writing, that the fans present at the Draft haven't received word about the return of the lockout -- the booing hasn't reached the vitriolic proportions of the first round.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: April 28, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 1:03 pm
 

NFL to reopen on Friday

Posted by Andy Benoit

After some scrambling following Judge Susan's Nelson refusal to lift the lockout, the NFL has gotten much of its business in store. In short, on Friday, the league will notify teams of when the 2011 League Year begins. This will let teams know when they can sign free agents and make trades. 

In the meantime, players are free to return to work at 8 a.m. EST Friday morning. Workouts will resume, coaches can meet with players and distribute playbooks, OTA's can be scheduled, etc.

Here's the statement the league sent out: 

The NFL clubs have been notified that we have requested from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals a stay of the preliminary injunction issued late Monday afternoon by the Federal District Court. Pending further guidance from the Eighth Circuit, we believe it is appropriate for clubs to take additional steps in response to the preliminary injunction. The clubs were informed of the steps below that will be effective on Friday at 8 am ET following tonight’s first round of the NFL Draft. Clubs are free to contact players immediately to advise them of the hours that the facility will be open for their use, to schedule medical and rehabilitation activity, and to arrange meetings with coaches or related activity, such as film study or classroom work.

1.Players will be permitted to use club facilities for physical examinations, rehabilitation and medical treatment, as scheduled by the club.

2.Clubs will be permitted to distribute playbooks, game film and other similar materials to players.

3.Coaches may meet with players for the purpose of discussing any materials distributed to players under item 2 above, as well as the club’s off-season workout program, its schedule of mini-camps, Organized Team Activities (“OTAs”), and other similar matters.

4.Voluntary off-season workout programs, including OTAs and classroom instruction, may begin subject to the rules in Article XXXV of the 2006 CBA and Appendix L.  Participating players will be paid $130 per day, provided the player fulfills the club’s reasonable off-season workout requirements.  Such workouts will count toward the requirements of any off-season workout bonus in the player’s contract.

5.On days during which no official off-season workouts or OTAs are scheduled under item 4 above, nothing shall prevent the club from permitting any player to use the club facility to work out on his own on a voluntary, unpaid basis during normal business hours, or such other hours as may be set by the club, provided: (i) there is no participation or supervision by any coach, trainer or other club personnel; and (ii) the club has first verified that the player has an existing medical insurance policy in place.  Players without such personal coverage should not be permitted to work out at the club facility on an unsupervised basis under this item 5, but may do so under item 4 above.  Unsupervised workouts will not count toward the requirements of any off-season workout bonus in the player’s contract.  This item 5 will apply both prior to and after the commencement of the club’s official off-season workout program.

6.Mandatory and voluntary mini-camps may begin subject to the rules in Article XXXVI of the 2006 CBA.

7.The league office will promptly make arrangements to resume counseling, rehabilitation and treatment activities in connection with the substances of abuse and steroid programs.  We will advise clubs as to when and on what basis testing will commence.

8.Players may participate in club-sponsored charitable and community relations events.

With respect to player transactions (such as signings, trades of player contracts, terminations, tryouts, etc.), we plan to distribute to all clubs, likely tomorrow, a comprehensive set of procedures governing such transactions. This will include the timing for the commencement of the 2011 League Year, free agent signings and other customary player transactions.

It's possible the NFL believes that the appeals court will rule on the lockout stay before Friday morning (which, if the ruling is favorable to the league, would make everything above moot). But it's also possible (very possible, in fact) that the appeal will be denied, meaning football really will resume Friday.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Category: NFL
Posted on: April 28, 2011 11:30 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:34 am
 

NFLPA lawyers' memo to players and agents

Posted by Andy Benoit

The NFLPA believes that the lockout is over. Thus, they’re proceeding in such a manner. Below is a copy of a memo that lawyers Jim Quinn and Jeffrey Kessler sent to all players and agents. It is posted on NFLlockout.com (a site operated by the NFLPA) and could just be propaganda, but hey, propaganda has provided 90 percent of the lockout news these past few months, no?

TO:        NFL PLAYERS AND AGENTS

FROM:      JAMES QUINN & JEFFREY KESSLER (CLASS COUNSEL)

CC:        DEMAURICE SMITH, NFLPA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, NFLPA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

RE:        ORDER DENYING STAY

Last night, Judge Nelson issued a 20 page decision denying the NFL’s request to stay (delay) the injunction she issued on Monday in the Brady v. NFL litigation that the NFL must stop the lockout.  The decision denying the stay is once again very strong, and rejected all of the NFL’s arguments.  Accordingly, the order ending the lockout is in full, immediate force.

The NFL has filed for an emergency stay with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, while the Eighth Circuit considers the NFL’s stay request. Unless and until such a request is granted, however, we believe the 2011 League Year now has to begin; the Clubs must open their facilities to allow players to work out, meet with coaches and otherwise perform their jobs; and the NFL and the Clubs cannot collectively continue to refuse to deal with players.  It is our view that the NFL and the Clubs will be in contempt of court if they do not comply with the order unless and until they hear differently from the Eighth Circuit.  We will let you know later today what the NFL is going to do to comply with this order, and what the specific schedule will be going forward.

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:30 am
 

Some teams 'not refusing' to talk to free agents

Posted by Will Brinson and Mike Freeman

On Thursday morning, the NFL said it would continue with the status quo , despite Judge Nelson ruling against their request for a stay. Unsurprisingly, the players disagree with their stance, and Jim Quinn and Jeffrey Kessler, attorneys for the players, sent out an email to all players and agents declaring they believe the league year to be open.

CBSSports.com has obtained a copy of that email correspondence, in which the NFLPA also states they believe the NFL will be in contempt of court if they don't open the league year immediately.

"Unless and until such a request is granted, however, we believe the 2011 League Year now has to begin. The NFL and the Clubs cannot collectively continue to refuse to deal with players. It is our view that the NFL &the Clubs will be in contempt of court if they do not comply with the order unless and until they hear differently from the 8th Circuit."

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Now, this doesn't change a whole lot, really, because the NFL is probably just going to ignore the NFLPA's request to begin the year.

They're also probably just going to ignore any calls from agents and players,

However, sources tell CBSSports.com that "some team phones are ringing off the hook" with agents flooding teams with requests for free agent business. Additionally, those sources said that some teams are "not refusing" to talk about free agency at the moment.

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 8:14 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:31 am
 

NFL: Clubs to 'continue to follow current rules'

Posted by Will Brinson

When one of the weirdest days in NFL history dawned Thursday morning, it seemed like the NFL might have to begin the league year. But the league told its clubs to keep on keeping on with the current -- read: lockout -- set of rules until otherwise notified.

It was presumed that the NFL might cave and open up in order to avoid any potential contempt of court or collusion charges from the players, but they're going to roll with the status quo for now.

"Clubs were notified last night they should continue to follow the current rules and practices until otherwise advised by our office," Aiello said, per Albert Breer of the NFL Network .

This puts the NFL in a curious position. Their plan is to wait for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on Judge Nelson's lockout lifting, which might work out fine for them ... if the Court of Appeals agrees with the NFL. (Many people, myself included, believe they will.)

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If the Eighth Circuit doesn't agree with the NFL, then they will face some potentially disastrous charges -- collusion, contempt of court? -- in relation to the Brady v. NFL antitrust case.

In the meantime, however, it probably means that you will not see any free agent signings. And you will not see any trades of players on draft day. And you will not see any signings of unrestricted free agents.

Unless some owner decides to go rogue anyway .

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Posted on: April 27, 2011 6:06 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:49 am
 

NFL says original order has 'sufficient guidance'

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL filed two pretty major documents on Wednesday afternoon. The first was their Reply to the players' request for a $1 billion bond . The second was their letter in response to the players' request for clarification on Judge Nelson's ruling to lift the lockout.

Essentially, the players wanted Judge Nelson to state more deliberately that the NFL, based on her ruling, is required to start the league year. The NFL argued in their letter that Judge Nelson's ruling already contains "sufficient guidance."

In other words, they don't believe it requires additional clarification. The league also attached the players' Proposed Order (for clarification) which, if signed, would lift the lockout for a full year. The league's attorneys argued, however, that the Order would also eliminate the Draft -- like, the one tomorrow -- as well as free agency and franchise tags.

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To sum all of it up, there's nothing too incredibly shocking about all of this; the NFL wasn't ever going to make a legal mistake of responding in a manner that abandoned their current stance on how they perceive Judge Nelson's ruling.

And it's possible, perhaps even likely, that Nelson will simply rule to leave her current ruling as it is, and avoid any attempts at clarification. If that's the case, then this is a non-issue. If she rules for the players, though, things could get kind of hairy kind of quickly.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: April 27, 2011 5:14 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 5:54 pm
 

NFL files reply, wants stay with no bond

Posted by Will Brinson

On Wednesday morning, the plaintiffs in Brady v. NFL requested a $1 billion bond in the event that Judge Nelson ruled in favor of the NFL on the issue of a stay. Judge Nelson gave the NFL until 4:00 PM CST to reply, and the league has, in a filed document obtained by CBSSports.com, stated that they do not believe any bond is necessary to secure the stay that they requested.

Additionally, the league repeated their request to have Judge Nelson suspend the current injunction, conditioned on the NFL immediately filing an appeal with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The NFL cites two primary reasons for why a bond is not necessary. One, that the Court of Appeals will handle the case in an expedited manner; CBSSports.com spoke with the Clerk of Court at the Eighth Circuit, and was told that "typically" they do expedite these matters. However, it is not a guarantee.
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Secondly, the NFL cited a previous case involving Western Union, in which a bond was not required because the "ability to pay the judgment is so plain that the cost of the bond would be a waste of money."

In other words, the NFL has so much money -- clearly more than $1 billion -- it's not necessary for them to pay what the 10 percent (or whatever) a bond would cost in order to secure such a bond.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: April 27, 2011 4:24 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:53 am
 

Could an NFL owner break rank mid-draft?

Posted by Will Brinson

Could an NFL owner break rank during or just before the NFL Draft and decide that it's time to make a trade or sign a free agent? That's a legitimate question, because I'm not positive I -- or anyone -- know the answer. But I'm fairly certain it could happen.

Of course, first, a few things have to go down. One, Judge Susan Nelson has to rule -- between now and the beginning of the Draft on Thursday -- in favor of the players on the stay issue as well as clarification of her original ruling . If she does, and it's not a stretch to think that she will, the league may be forced to open its doors immediately and begin the league year.

Pandemonium unlike we've known it could erupt. Or, alternately, teams could take their sweet time making moves to sign players. The latter seems like the most likely situation, because the NFL will still be pushing to get their appeal into the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Also, making a case for collusion, based on the fact that teams didn't sign any free agents amid the hectic few days of the NFL Draft could be a stretch.

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Although you could argue teams should be pursuing all of their options during that time, particularly if they want to shore up their respective rosters. And this, to me, is where things get interesting, should the league "begin the season" some time on Thursday.

Because there are some teams more in need in of making certain moves than others. The Eagles obviously would like to end up moving Kevin Kolb; our own Clark Judge recently pointed out just how coveted Philly's backup remains around the league.

And the Redskins, for example, would probably like to receive some sort of value for Donovan McNabb -- or Albert Haynesworth! -- before they're forced to cut him rather than paying him a roster bonus before he's due, when football actually starts. And they just so happen to need draft picks, thanks to the very trade they made last Easter to bring McNabb in.

And let's not put it past Dan Snyder to "go rogue" either; this is a man currently embroiled in a ridiculous lawsuit with a small-time Washington, D.C., newspaper because he didn't like the way he was portrayed publicly. He'll need someone to play along, should the rank-breaking be a trade and not a free-agent signing, of course. While it seems unlikely Jerry Richardson will bail on his role as lead negotiator to pick up a quarterback, there's nothing to say that another owner running one of the many quarterback-desperate teams wouldn't.

Of course, it seems like the owners are unified. Whereas reports about players splintering into factions have made their way into the public, we've not yet heard anything too concrete about owners arguing amongst themselves. But did you see the utter disorganization that went down on Tuesday when players attempted to make their way into team facilities?

Some teams, like the Giants, let players work out on Tuesday. (But not on Wednesday !) Other teams, like the Seahawks, said no. Jerry Jones stepped up to the mic and provided a not-too-crafted statement about why Cowboys players couldn't come in.

That's the very definition of "factions" -- if the NFL owners were all on a singular page, a concrete policy would have been in place across the league.

Which brings us back to the day of the Draft. Perhaps the NFL is forced to open its doors to players and "get back to work." And perhaps, hypothetically, owners are advised that it's better to wait and see how the appeal process shakes out before making personnel moves.

Do you think, though, that the Eagles front office can resist the possibility of landing a top-10 pick for tomorrow night in this quarterback-desperate landscape that exists? And do you think that anyone can predict what Snyder will do in relation to his payroll and roster decisions when he desperately needs draft picks?

Certainly not. And what would the repercussions be if an NFL owner started wheeling and dealing? The league could fine that team or take away draft picks ... except that would amount to admitting collusion.

In fact, aside from Roger Goodell giving someone a dirty look the next time they were in the same room, the only thing that might happen is the rest of the league following suit and opening up the floodgates for other signings and draft-day trades of players.

And if and/or once that happens, it might be kind hard to bring back the lockout.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com