Judge Declines To Grant Stay Of Injunction Halting NFL Lockout
U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson late last night, as expected, declined to grant a stay of her Monday decision to lift the six-and-a-half-week-old NFL lockout. With the NFL Draft occurring tonight, it is unclear now whether the league will be forced to commence free agency and open its doors to the players. If it does not, players counsel Jim Quinn said, "They could face contempt for being in blatant violation of a Court Order."
The league in a statement late last night said, "We are filing tonight a request with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay of the preliminary injunction pending our appeal. We believe there are strong legal and practical reasons that support a stay and that the Court of Appeals should have an opportunity to address the important legal issues that will be presented." Nelson wrote that it was up to the NFL what economic system it wishes to install, and it was not her concern essentially whether that system ultimately violated antitrust laws.
While things may sound gloomy, one team source said no one at the league is surprised and the clubs had been fully made aware that the league was likely to lose the first round. The league is confident in its appeal case, but so are the players.