NFL Lockout Case Goes To Court

The NFL lockout has gone to court. A Wednesday court hearing begins the process of determining how long the lockout will stay in place.

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NFL Lockout Case Goes To Court

The NFL lockout is going to court on Wednesday. Lawyers for the NFL owners and players will gather in Minnesota for the first of what is expected to be many appearances in court as the two sides resolve their labor differences.

The NFLPA filed a preliminary injunction against the league for locking the players out. The players hope that Judge Susan Nelson blocks the lockout and orders the NFL to open its doors. The league would presumably put into place the same rules that were in place in 2010.

The NFL hopes that Nelson allows the NLRB to make a decision first. The league filed a complaint with the NLRB several months ago alleging the players weren't negotiating in good faith and that decertification is a sham.

Fans should probably hope for the players to win because it means football will be back sooner. That said, a decision is unlikely to come on Wednesday. Many experts think Nelson could take several weeks to make a decision, which would likely move this after the April 28-30 NFL draft.

So we're back to what we've been doing for a while...waiting.


NFL Lockout: Kansas City Chiefs Players To Meet Soon

Kansas City Chiefs players would normally be starting their offseason program by now but with the NFL lockout they can't communicate with coaches and can't use team facilities. With most of the players living out of town, there aren't a lot of Chiefs left in Kansas City.

That will change on April 4. Eric Berry told Kevin Kietzmann on 810 WHB on Thursday that at least some players would be meeting on April 4 to apparently plan or organize some sort of offseason meeting.

"The only thing I've been getting from Brian Waters, McGraw and those guys is that they're trying to set up things within the Chiefs," Berry told Kietzmann. "Just trying to get us together, get the players together and discuss some things. We're supposed to be having a meeting on the fourth. We're just trying to get some things ironed out and get a little schedule together I guess."

Waters is on the NFLPA's executive committee and McGraw has been involved as a player rep before. They're the ones that are likely communication a lot of the lockout updates to the team.

For Berry, he says he simply wants to play football. That's what the fans want. That's what the players say they want. That's what the owners say they want.

So why again can't we get a deal done?


NFL Lockout 2011: Owners, Players Both Blow It

That's it -- we're locked out.

On Friday, the NFLPA filed for decertification, essentially dissolving themselves as a union, which is a legal tactic designed to pressure the owners. The league responded with a lockout at midnight and the players responded with an antritrust suit against the league.

So the future of football is in the courts right now.

There's a ton of legalese involved and, while understanding that is important, so is this -- both sides screwed up. The owners totally screwed the pooch. The players killed the golden goose. Everyone completely, unbelievably blew it.

We'll blame both sides here. It's a shared failure as an NFL exec said on Friday. Both sides knew they would be judged solely on whether a deal got done and they didn't get one done. That tells us they're clearly more interested in themselves than the fans.

If they don't care about us, then we'll blame both of them.

There will be a court battle coming and each side will do their best to secure the most leverage. All we care about, though, is when they sign a deal.

Until then, we blame both sides.


NFL, NFLPA Making Progress On Rookie Wage Scale; No Deal Yet

The NFL and NFL Players Association are apparently making progress on a rookie wage scale. Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reported on Wednesday that the two sides had a basic agreement down for a rookie wage scale. Aaron Wilson of National Football Post reports that an NFLPA source tells him they haven't agreed to anything yet. 

But it appears they're getting closer.

Essentially, Cole's report says the contract length for first round rookies would shrink to four years (as opposed to six years for the top 16 picks and five years for picks 17-32) and there would be some sort of cap on the salaries. 

Last year, Sam Bradford pulled in a six-year, $72 million contract with $50 million guaranteed. That number is expected to decrease dramatically. The NFL obviously would like it to be as low as possible while the NFLPA has to find a common ground on where to draw the line and, ideally, repay some of that money to the veterans.

The players want four years on rookie contracts because it allows them to get to free agency quicker, which is usually the goal. The owners would prefer longer first round contracts but shorter also allow them to get out of bad deals (lookin' at you, JaMarcus Russell).

While a deal isn't done yet, it appears the two sides are making some sort of progress to installing a rookie wage scale.


NFL, Clark Hunt Join Mediation Session With Union To Avoid NFL Lockout

Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt is a member of the NFL's labor committee and, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, he is in Washington, D.C., representing the NFL owners in their negotiation for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association.

The league has previously been criticized for the lack of owners that have attended the meetings but Hunt will be on Tuesday. On Monday, New York Giants owner John Mara was in attendance. It's unclear what other owners are or will be there on Tuesday. 

Hunt is one of 10 members of the NFL's Management Council Executive Committee (CEC) and that group showed up to the talks on March 2. 

The deadline for a new CBA is coming on Friday evening so we're hoping the two sides are making significant progress. The biggest point of contention is believed to be how to split the $9 billion in revenue as well as other issues like the 18-game schedule and the rookie wage scale.

Both sides have agreed to a media blackout so we really don't know where they stand on those issues.


NFL Lockout News Hard To Come By; NFL, NFLPA Resume Talks Monday

News on the NFL lockout is somewhat hard to come by these days because neither side is officially talking to the media. On Friday, after the two sides had agreed to a one-week extension, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith addressed the media but didn't give any specifics on where they stood in negotiations, at the request of the federal mediator, George Cohen.

So the last update we had was that Friday when the deadline was extended. The two sides spent the weekend strategizing on their next move within their own camps. On Monday morning, both teams will be traveling to resume the talks and by Monday afternoon negotiations are expected to take place.

The good news is that the two sides are talking and it appears there's at least some momentum to getting a deal done. Reports have indicated that an extension of this length likely means a new deal is coming. There are a lot of different issues and, because of the media blackout, we don't really know where they stand on those key issues.

It's believed the biggest issue is how to split the $9 billion revenue and the last we heard they were far off on that one. That said, we're hoping the federal mediator can bring some sense into the argument and find a middle ground.

As we stand now, we're five days away from the end of the NFL as we know it or five days away from a new deal. Let's hope it's the latter.


CBA Deadline Extended Seven Days; NFL Lockout Avoided (For Now)

An NFL lockout  has been avoided.

For now.

The NFL owners and NFL Players Association have agreed to a seven day extension on their talks. For those keeping count, this is the second extension. The original deadline was on Thursday night, which was extended 24 hours to Friday night. Now, the deadline is next Friday, March 11 at 5:00 p.m., according to various reports.

This has to be considered good news. Though we're not sure of any tangible signs of progress on any of the key issues, it appears both sides are talking and, at least from our view, willing to compromise.

Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports recently reported that if this extension comes it would almost certainly mean a new deal is coming. Let's hope that's the case.

One important note in all of this is that the league year as far as player activity is concerned ended on Thursday night. That means, until a new deal is done, there is no more player movement. No more signing, releasing or tendering. It's over.

Once a new deal is struck, free agency will presumably begin at some point.


NFL Lockout: 24-Hour Extension For League, Union

The NFL owners and NFL Players Association agreed to a 24-hour extension in their negotiations, according to multiple reports. The Collective Bargaining Agreement originally expired at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. Now that has been moved back a day.

It doesn't sound like a new deal will be struck by tomorrow night but various reports suggest the reason for the extension was to buy more time to negotiate another longer extension, perhaps a week. That would give the two sides enough time to make real progress.

It's unclear where the sides stand on the major issues but simply talking, and agreeing to an extension, is more tangible progress than we've seen throughout this process. 

Following Thursday's meetings, here's what NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said:

"For all of our fans who dig our game, we appreciate your patience as we work through this," Smith said, invoking one of his favorite words (and, yes, we can dig it).  "We're gonna keep working.  We want to play football." 

And the federal mediator involved in the negotiations also confirmed there would be a one-day extension.

So for now...we wait.


What's Next In The NFL Lockout As Deadline Looms?

What's next in the NFL lockout?

We're now just hours away from the expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL owners and players. The two sides are meeting on Thursday morning, along with a federal mediator, but I've yet to find anyone who thinks they can get still get a deal done by the deadline, March 3rd at 11:59 p.m.

What may have a small chance of happening is an extension to the current deal. Both sides could agree to extend the current deal by, let's say, two weeks in order to give themselves some more time and work out a deal. Even then, the two sides wouldn't agree to it unless there's been some progress, and we don't know if there has been.

So if no extension is done and the deal doesn't get done, then we'll be looking at a couple of things. Various reports say the union will likely decertify on Thursday. The deal expires at midnight, but they'll need to decertify before 5:00 p.m. in order to A.) stay under the jurisdiction of Judge David Doty and B.) keep in line with rules in the current CBA. 

At that point, reports say, the NFL may decide to lock the players out, which would bring on the lawyers, and we'd be waiting again.


Not Looking Good On The NFL Lockout Front

We've got over 24 hours until the expiration date of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL owners and NFL Players Association. The current climate outlook isn't great if your goal is a new CBA. Various reporters are on the ground in Washington D.C. indicating that the most likely scenario at this point is the union decertifying on Thursday, before the midnight deadline, and an NFL lockout to follow.

Here are a series of tweets from Don Banks of on the situation:

Whatever is minutely shy of being a fait accompli, that's what union decertification and league lockout plans are at this late date. This owners meeting will effectively end tonight, it appears, and union will likely move to decertify Thursday afternoon. Lockout to follow.

It's actually happening.

Since the NFLPA has to decertify before the deadline, they will apparently make the first move, if decertification is the route they go.  

We were hoping there was a chance of the current deal being extended in order to give both sides time. At this point, that seems unlikely.  We're pretty close to entering a world where the NFL decision makers will be lawyers.


How The Kansas City Chiefs Will Prepare For NFL Lockout

The Kansas City Chiefs, like the 31 other NFL teams, are making plans in the (likely) event there is a work stoppage. Though things can happen between now and midnight on Thursday, the expiration date of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, we could be facing an NFL lockout. 

If that happens, Chiefs employees will face a salary reduction, according to a report from Adam Teicher in the Kansas City Star. The report states Chiefs employees will face a tiered salary reduction -- highest paid employees are reduced the most -- but no one will be laid off. 

If there is a full 2011 season, the money will be reimbursed. So this means all of the employees at One Arrowhead Drive are definitely hoping that someone gets worked out (as the rest of us are).

The two sides met for meetings on Wednesday and plan to meet again on Thursday. NFL owners are also in Washington D.C., at the site of the negotiations, meeting at a hotel.

We're now just over a day away from finding out what will happen when the clock strikes midnight.


NFL Lockout: What You Need To Know Before The Deadline

We are only hours away from an NFL lockout at this point. At 11:59 p.m. on March 3rd, the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL owners and NFL Players Association will expire and football will officially stop.

The main man for the NFLPA is DeMaurice Smith, executive director, and for the league that's Commissioner Roger Goodell. Here are a few questions I've seen floating around.

When does the lockout start?

11:59 p.m. on March 3rd. On March 4th, we're in a lockout.

What's the lockout all about?

This could be a long answer but I'll shorten it -- money. The owners feel they need a bigger slice of the pie because the players got a great deal the last time around (2006) and the current model is not sustainable. The players have asked the owners to open the books but that hasn't (and likely won't) happen. Money, and how to distribute it, is the main issue but other issues include: 18-game schedule, benefits for retired players and health care.

How long will it last?

It depends. Optimistic views think the two sides still have a chance to extend the deadline and get something done in a few weeks. Unfortunately, that's almost an unrealistic optimistic view. It could go deep into the summer, ruining training camp, possibly messing up the preseason games and maybe even regular season games. Basically, we don't know how long it will last but many people think it rolls into the summer.

Are there any other options to a lockout?

Yes the union could decertify and sue the league on their anti-trust exemptions. Potentially, this would keep the argument in the courts as the game is continued to be played. The league could still impose a lockout, though. If this happens, we're getting into some major legalese on how to keep football going this year.

Are players paid during a lockout?

Nope. No one is paid. Players don't get salary checks until the season starts but early March is when free agency starts and that's usually when the big bonus money comes in. That won't be happening this year. Many coaches and team employees will also see their pay cut in the event of a lockout.

What about free agency?

No free agency with a lockout. Once the two sides sign an agreement, they'll evaluate having free agency. It's possible, though, if this lockout goes for a while, that there won't be free agency at all this year. Just to clarify -- until March 3rd, vested veterans without a team are free agents and eligible to sign with anyone. But the lack of a new CBA has caused some teams to avoid signing players at all right now.

Will the draft happen?

No matter what, the draft will happen on April 28.

So what do we do on March 4th?

My advice: Don't pick sides. Blame both the league and union for royally screwing the golden goose.

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