An appeals court has issued a temporary ruling that put the NFL lockout back in effect. See updates below.ORIGINAL POST:
There were reports this afternoon that the NFL had gotten a (temporary) stay of the (temporary) injunction that (temporarily) lifted the NFL lockout, meaning that (temporarily) the lockout would be back in effect.
The rumours were spurred by an ESPN report that they have since backed off of.
Others are reporting that 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has NOT issued such a ruling, but could deliver some news before the day ends.
If the court were to give an “administrative stay,” that would basically put all league business on hold until (probably) Monday, while lawyers for both sort out their arguments.
That will come as quite a shock to the players who showed up to team offices today and picked up their playbooks. They better leave quick before the things get confiscated….
We’re still waiting on some sort of confirmation from the courts one way or another — as of 2:15 ET, no ruling has been issued — but keep checking this page for updates this afternoon and we’ll let you know as soon as we hear something.
UPDATE: The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis is closed for business and it doesn’t appear that they have issued any rulings or orders today. So the league remains in a limbo through Monday.
UPDATE 2: We spoke too soon. Shortly before 7 p.m. the Circuit Court DID issue a temporary stay on Judge Nelson’s earlier decision. The means the lockout is back in effect.
The three appellate judges reportedly voted 2-1 to grant an “administrative stay,” which basically puts the order to enjoin the lockout on hold while the appeals court considers a longer stay of the ruling.
That means no more workouts, playbooks, or meetings this weekend, and plans for off-season activities that some teams had hoped to begin next week, are shut down again.
The most important consequence? The day after the draft is traditionally a flurry of free agent signings as teams offer contacts to the rookies were not drafted. That won’t happen this year.
For those looking for a political angle, the two judges who voted for the stay (Steven M. Colloton and Duane Benton) were appointed by George W. Bush. The dissenter (Kermit E. Bye) was appointed by Bill Clinton.
Remember, however, that the merits of issuing a stay are unrelated to the larger merits of the league’s anti-trust case. But this is still a blow to the union’s momentum, even as it’s clear that at least one judge — who did not agree with the NFL’s assessment that their operations are a “complex process that requires time to coordinate” or that this situation constituted an emergency — is not sympathetic to the league’s cause.