The football world exhaled gratefully Monday as the 8th Circuit Appellate Court, virtually out of the blue, derailed the NFLPA’s judicial train that was hell bent on destroying the 2011 NFL season by giving the NFL owners no save face option left but to shut down the league for as long as it took to get the players to understand that signing a new CBA was the only way they were ever going to play football for pay again.
This legal train hit the tracks as soon as the players elected a lawyer as their union leader, instead of a negotiator. The decision Monday was for a temporary stay of Judge Susan Nelson’s injunction, pending the outcome of their ruling on the full matter beginning on June 3rd. But the judges left very little doubt that their ruling then would be the same as now.
The players can appeal this eventual three judge ruling and ask that the case be ruled on by the full panel of Appellate judges, which the owners would no doubt have done had they lost. But this tactic will not help the players because it takes the final ruling into September, when player paychecks will start being flushed down the drain each and every week.
In the short term, the lockout continues and fans are unhappy. In the long term, the chances of a new CBA and a full NFL season just got a huge boost.
This site frowns on lampooning the various entities in this sordid labor dispute, except in extreme cases — like every single day, including this one. Monday, DeMaurice Smith got his lunch handed to him, as well as Judge Susan Nelson, the newest member of the pro-player Minnesota court system. The entire bucket of B.S. Smith sold to the players as a CBA strategy just sprung a leak all down this guy’s pants. This also was Judge Nelson’s first high profile case, and she was basically laughed out of the room.
This is not a pro-owner rant. It’s a pro-2011 season cheer. The owners are no white hat fellows here. As a practical fan matter, however, the owners control the light switch, not the players. There was no way that light switch was going to be turned on without a new CBA, more friendly to the owners than the 2006 CBA. The players never understood that power and DeMaurice fed that clueless illusion.
What we will be watching in the coming days is the crumbling of player belief in the leadership of DeMaurice Smith. The Brady anti-trust lawsuit will be withdrawn as part of a new CBA and relegated to the complete failure pile. Smith’s combative response to the labor problem has now actually weakened the players position, not emboldened it.
Mr. Smith, you are a bustola, baby. Now get out of the way and let the labor talks proceed to conclusion.