Judge Says League Players Should Negotiate Together

Lawyers for the National Football League and NFL Players Association made their oral arguments before a three-judge panel at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday.

The NFL is appealing the April 25 ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson that temporarily lifted the lockout. The 8th Circuit granted a temporary stay on April 29, which became a permanent stay on May 16, extending the lockout to what has now reached an 83rd day.

At the conclusion of this morning’s proceedings, Judge Kermit Bye said that a decision would come “in due course”, but that “neither side would like” the decision. Bye also encouraged both sides to continue talking to resolve the issue, saying the court “won’t be all that hurt” if the players and owners settled the case.

Earlier this week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and five members of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee, including co-chair Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers, met with several players and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith outside of Chicago. The three days of talks were conducted at the request of U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, who had previously overseen six days of mediation at his chambers in Minnesota.

Judge Boylan canceled two days of mediation scheduled for next week, as the two sides had entered into confidential settlement talks, providing a glimmer of optimism that the lockout could end with a new collective bargaining agreement within a few weeks.


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