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Federal Appeals Court To Hear Arguments In NFL Antitrust Case

The NFL and the 10 players suing the league for antitrust abuses square off in a St. Louis federal courtroom today, with the players seeking a judicial order that the lockout is illegal. The proceedings have been overshadowed partly by the disclosure of a secret meeting between the league and players earlier this week. Those meetings are expected to continue next week, and could be the first signal the sides are getting serious since the NFLPA decertified and filed the lawsuit on March 11. The NFL locked out the players the following day. Nonetheless, oral arguments will still occur this morning at 10:00am CT.

The debate about whether the 12-week-long lockout should be lifted is expected to take a little over an hour. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has already signaled it sides with the NFL in a decision staying a lower court ruling enjoining the lockout. But there is always a chance one judge could switch his vote and throw the decision to the players. A decision from the court is not expected until the end of the month, if not later. If the players and league were to reach an agreement, however, that likely means the court proceedings would cease.

More than two dozen players are expected to attend the hearing today, along with NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is not scheduled to attend. Former President George W. Bush’s solicitor general, Ted Olson, will argue the players’ case. His successor as solicitor general, Paul Clement, will argue the NFL’s case.

THE DAILY and Closing Bell will have updates from the oral arguments. Updates will also be available at twitter.com/dkaplansbj.
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