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Court grants NFL request for stay

Posted by Greg A. Bedard  May 16, 2011 06:42 PM

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The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals moments ago granted the National Football League's request for a stay pending appeal of the ruling that ended the lockout.

It's the NFL's only victory in this labor dispute to date and, after reading some of the decision here - stay.pdf - it's a big one.

The decision, which was 2 to 1 in favor of the NFL, indicates that the appellate court will side with the owners in the end. It did not agree with how District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson interpreted the Norris-LaGuardia Act in regards to this case.

From the decision:

In sum, we have serious doubts that the district court had jurisdiction to enjoin the League's lockout, and accordingly conclude that the League has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits.

This means that NFL now has momentum in the case.

In any event, granting the stay basically means there is no chance for the NFL to resume operations -- including free agency -- until the court rules on the appeal, which likely won't be until the end of June or early July.

The oral arguments on the appeal are June 3 in St. Louis.

Statement from the NFLPA:

"The NFL’s request for a stay of the lockout that was granted today means no football. The players are in mediation and are working to try to save the 2011 season. The court will hear the full appeal on June 3."

Statement from the NFL:

“It is now time to devote all of our energy to reaching a comprehensive agreement that will improve the game for the benefit of current and retired players, teams, and, most importantly, the fans. This litigation has taken the parties away from the negotiating table where these issues should be resolved. We remain confident that the appellate court will determine that this is a labor dispute that should be governed by federal labor law. But the league and players, without further delay, should control their own destiny and decide the future of the NFL together through negotiation.”

A second day of mediation will take play tomorrow.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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