It might be Saturday, but the public relations machine for both the NFL owners and the trade association formerly known as the NFLPA is in full swing. And so is the legal maneuvering, as the players have already filed an injunction to prevent the NFL from locking them out.
CBSSports.com has obtained a copy of the "Motion for Preliminary Injunction" filed by plaintiffs Tom Brady, et al, and the basis is pretty simple: the plaintiffs/players want to stop a lockout before it happens.
Of course, the lockout happened anyway, because the NFL feels it's within legal rights to lock out the players. (The NFL feels this way because it believes that the NFLPA's decision to decertify was a "sham.")
The players' claim is that "a group boycott and price-fixing agreement" amongst the 32 NFL teams (aka a "lockout") violates the Sherman Antitrust Act in that it results in the "restraint of trade or commerce among the several States."
That means some time next week, a clerk in the Minnesota District Court will likely schedule a hearing (likely in front of Judge David Doty) to determine whether or not to grant the players' injunction.
If Doty grants the injunction, the lockout will be lifted and we'll be en route to having football in 2011. However, the NFL, if they lose, is all but guaranteed to appeal, so there's no need to get too excited. If the NFL wins in front of Doty, the players are also all but guaranteed to appeal.
But that's all got to play out in the courts. In the meantime, we're sure to hear plenty of rhetoric from both sides about who's fault it is that we're even discussing a court case involving football. But the fact that a) the players prepared this motion in the first place and b) they did in fact need it because the NFL locked them out should remind everyone that this process isn't completely unexpected in the least by either party.
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