Appeals court sides with NFL, lockout remains

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (C) enters a federal courthouse to resume talks regarding labor and revenue issues between the NFL and the NFL Players Association in Minneapolis, May 16, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Miller (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS)

The owners received a major victory on Monday night when the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the NFL’s stay, meaning the lockout is no longer temporary.

While this may not be good news for fans in the short term (because the lockout continues), it should force the players and owners to head back to the negotiating table. The owners want to stay out of court and have blamed the players for preferring litigation. The owners are now expected to draw up a new CBA proposal soon, which could be viewed as a positive sign.

The owners are in a great position here because the same panel that sided with the league to keep the lockout in place will also hear arguments next month on the legality of the NFL’s work stoppage. Thus, it could be assumed that the owners would win their appeal on June 3 if the two sides can’t come to an agreement before then.

The most frustrating part about this labor dispute is that the answer to the lockout has been in front of the owners and players’ faces this entire time: Negotiation. Way back in February and March when the old CBA was still in place, observers kept commenting on how the best course of action was for the two sides to come to an agreement and stay out of the courts. But the players seemingly made up their minds that they wanted litigation when they decided to decertify, which made it hard for the two sides to come to an agreement at the start.

Now we’re right back where we started from, and negotiation is the best way to end the madness. Maybe this time the two sides will get it right and actually hammer out a new CBA deal before even more damage is done.

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