In a ruling that was somewhat expected, a federal judge has sided with NFL players and granted their request for a preliminary injunction to lift the lockout.
U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson issued her ruling late today, which gives players an early victory in their fight with NFL owners over a new collective bargaining agreement in the $9 billion business.
However, the surprising part of Judge Nelson’s ruling is she did not offer a stay of the ruling, which means the lockout should begin immediately, unless the NFL can obtain a modification of the ruling by the judge or an issuance of a stay by the U.S. Court of Appeal, where NFL owners likely will file their appeal.
If the league can not get a stay of the ruling, the NFL will have to open its doors and allow free agency to begin. However, don’t expect that to happen immediately, as they have to figure what the rules will be governing player movement. So stay tuned.
The NFL made this statement after the ruling:
"We will promptly seek a stay from Judge Nelson pending an expedited appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. We believe that federal law bars injunctions in labor disputes. We are confident that the Eighth Circuit will agree. But we also believe that this dispute will inevitably end with a collective bargaining agreement, which would be in the best interests of players, clubs and fans. We can reach a fair agreement only if we continue negotiations toward that goal."