SBD/May 2, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Lockout Watch, Day 52: Appeals Court Grants Temporary Stay Of Lockout Injunction

The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Friday gave the NFL a "temporary delay of an injunction to stop the lockout, effectively reinstalling it hours after the players were allowed to return to the teams for workouts and meetings," according to Judy Battista of the N.Y. TIMES. The court in a 2-1 decision "granted the league's request for the temporary stay while the panel takes more time to decide on a request for a full stay," which is "likely" to come this week. The temporary stay "does not necessarily mean the NFL will be successful getting the full stay, or that it will win the appeal." But the ruling provided the league a "long-awaited, albeit small, victory." The timing of the decision "surprised even league officials, many of whom were assembled at Radio City Music Hall for the draft and who thought they might not hear about the stay until Monday." Players were "curious about how long the stay might last; one Jets player even asked if he should still report to the team's training facility on Monday" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/30). In N.Y., Bart Hubbuch noted "more clarity is likely to come by Thursday." The court said that the stay was temporary "until it can fully assess the owners' longshot bid for a permanent injunction that would keep the lockout in place until a decision on the larger issues is reached in June or July." The court's decision was "far from a ringing endorsement of the owners' legal stance." Still, players "remain wary of the decidedly conservative 8th Circuit Court and the possibility it could rule in favor of the owners on the permanent injunction" (N.Y. POST, 4/30). Players counsel James Quinn in an e-mail said the temporary stay was "routine and totally expected" (L.A. TIMES, 4/30). Packers GM Ted Thompson said, "Nobody's happy about any of this. But it is what it is. The lockout is back into effect" (AP, 4/29).

BRADY SPEAKS: In Boston, Ian Rapoport noted as the "lead plaintiff in the former union's antitrust lawsuit against the owners," Patriots QB Tom Brady's "opinion is an important one." Speaking publicly about the suit for the first time on Friday, Brady said, "I've been very fortunate as a player to sign the contracts that I've signed, to be in the position that I'm in as a leader. When the opportunity was presented to me, and Peyton (Manning) and Drew Brees (joined) -- we represent the entire group. We're all trying to be part of the solution, not the problem. I know a lot of people are hard at work." He added, "Everyone's trying to accomplish the same thing. Hopefully there's an agreement at some point soon" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/30). When asked if there will be an '11 season, Brady said, "I think there's certainly a lot of hopes. There's certainly been progress made over the last three months. There needs to be some resolutions to what the owners want, to what the players want" (USA TODAY, 5/2). CNBC's Darren Rovell noted Brady and Patriots Owner Robert Kraft are "close" and that Kraft is "very well involved with the owners" as one of the "most powerful owners." When asked if that has made it "awkward," Brady said, "It hasn't and I think our relationship is much deeper than that. I don't think it's Tom Brady suing Robert Kraft. I'm a player and I represent the 1,500 players ... and he's been an owner for a long time. He understands what the business of football is as well. It's certainly not personal" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 4/29).

Pouncey says he did not receive playbook
during visit with Dolphins following draft
LIMITED INTERACTIONS
: The N.Y. POST's Hubbuch reported the NFL is not allowing most rookies drafted last week to "get copies of ... playbooks or talk strategy [with] their new coaches while the lockout is in effect." The Panthers "managed to slip a playbook to No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton," but Vikings first-round pick QB Christian Ponder Saturday said that his team "couldn't do the same" before the temporary stay was granted. The NFL is "vowing draconian punishment -- fines, suspensions and team penalties -- for any league personnel caught violating the ban." An AFC GM: "It's a pain, but (the league is) obviously serious about this" (N.Y. POST, 5/1). Dolphins first-round pick C Mike Pouncey "about an hour before the lockout was restored" said of his visit with the team, "I just came in here and really just visited the facility and met everybody. I guess we'll handle the playbook sometime down the line when it's time for camp" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/30). In Nashville, Jim Wyatt noted "roughly 20 Titans showed up" at the team's headquarters Friday, "taking advantage of a chance to meet the new coaching staff and grab a playbook." Even if it "turns out to be a small window, Titans players and coaches thought it was important for a team that's gone through so much transition since finishing 6-10 last season." Until Friday, "many players hadn't met their position coaches, and none had been allowed to get a playbook" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 4/30). Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio Friday said, "I talked to a few guys last night. The mood is good. I think they're excited that we could talk. Oh it's great to hear from you coach" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 4/30).

NO TEAM TO CHEER FOR
: In N.Y., Gary Myers wrote there are "no heroes" in the labor dispute. Myers: "The players are wrong. The owners are wrong. There is nobody on either side to root for." Football fans "are not the only ones being jerked around." Myers: "So are coaches trying to figure out minicamp schedules and work rookies into their programs. So are general managers ready to put their free agency plans in place" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/1). Myers Saturday wrote the labor situation "has become so ridiculous it would be almost laughable if it affected only the billionaire owners and millionaire players." He added, "So many people depend on the games being played to make ends meet ... that the on-again, off-again is not only a tease to football fans, but could cause huge financial problems for people who can't afford it" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/30). In Orlando, George Diaz writes, "People don't like to be jerked around by two greedy groups of rich guys fighting over control of [an] empire that generates more than $9 billion in annual revenue." Diaz: "Please just ignore the excessive extravagance of a three-day spectacle called the NFL Draft. It pretty much looks like a non-story to me if you recruit new employees for a business that is shut down" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/2). In N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote, "Boo all you want about the doors being closed right now. You don't matter. All that matters is the doors being opened the night of Sept. 8. The day the start of the season is in actual jeopardy is the day they all get out of District Courts and Appeals Courts and make a deal" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/1).ESPN.com's Howard Bryant said, "What kills me about it is you listen to Roger Goodell, who says he's frustrated -- This is what you asked for. This is what you wanted. You created this lockout, you created these terms, prepared for it for years. ... You're getting exactly what you want, and the rest of it is posturing" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 5/1).
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