2011 NFL Lockout: Players Reporting To Facilities, Judge Nelson Waiting To Rule On Stay Request

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 26: A day after the NFL lockout was lifted, Charlie Batch #16 and Ryan Clark #25 of the Pittsburgh Steelers report to the South Side training facility on April 26, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Fooch's Note: I've also added some video at the end of the post featuring DeMaurice Smith's comments to NFL Live on the phone. De Smith likes to use the phrase "digs our game."

If you check around twitter (David Kaplan is an excellent source), you'll see that players have begun to report to their facilities in light of the "end" of the lockout. Apparently players were told by trade association officials to show up to work since the lockout had been enjoined by Judge Nelson. The question is whether that lockout will remain enjoined pending the NFL's appeal to the 8th Circuit, or whether somebody will issue a stay that would delay the end of the lockout until the appeal was heard.

Initially I was under the impression that Judge Susan Nelson had said no stay and the league was then requesting an emergency stay from the appellate court. Now Kaplan is indicating Judge Nelson has asked for a reply from the players by 9am central time Wednesday (tomorrow). If she denies the stay, an emergency appeal to the Court of Appeals could take a few days to a week to be decided.

For now, it sounds like some teams have told players to hold off on the workouts until the court rules on the stay. That would technically seem to be in violation of the order enjoining the lockout, which could get the league in some hot water. At this point it's really hard to tell what's legal and what's not in this whole situation, but refusing to follow a judge's written order would seem to fall on the illegal side. I've never been involved in a situation where an injunction has been ordered, so I don't know whether the league is allowed to wait to implement the order until the stay is decided.

Another solid source to check out is Sports Law Guy, Tulane Law School professor Gabe Feldman. What he says would seem fairly obvious, but it's useful having another legal source provide some thoughts. As it stands, we're on the verge of some level of chaos in what qualifies as a fairly unique situation in NFL, and really professional sports in general.

As I write this, NFL Network reporter Jason LaCanfora has spoken with NFL rep Greg Aiello about how the league will move forward given yesterday's ruling. Aiello said (via LaCanfora twitter - read top to bottom in order):

 

Greg responded:"We are going to proceed in an orderly way that is fair to the teams and players and complies with court orders ...less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

More Aiello: "Players are being treated with courtesy and respect at club facilities. We do not believe it is appropriate for ...less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

More Aiello: "football activities to take place until there are further rulings from the court. Under last set of proposals made to NFLPA ..less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

"teams wouldn't even be into offseason programs yet. We need a few days to sort this out, as NFLPA attorney Jim Quinn indicated" last niteless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply



DeMaurice Smith Comments To NFL Live

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