Multiple reports suggest U.S. District Court Judge Susan Nelson could rule as early as today on an injunction request by the NFL’s players. Â That hearing was April 6 in a Minneapolis courtroom, and Judge Nelson said then a ruling would take a few weeks.
It seems this is the week. Â As for any specifics, it’s all conjecture, but expect a ruling before the start of Thursday’s NFL Draft.
If Judge Nelson sides with the players, the league-imposed lockout would be lifted. Â It’s always possible – even likely – there will be an appeal by the losing side. Â Even if the players win this round and the lockout is lifted, that doesn’t necessarily include free agency. Â It all depends on the details of Judge Nelson’s ruling, whenever that happens, but here is Peter King’s take:
I think the biggest question about Judge Susan Nelson issuing an injunction this week — which I presume she will do — to kayo the ownersâ€™ lockout of the players is whether sheâ€™ll order the league year to start immediately. Will she open the doors and start the league year and order free agency to begin? Or will she issue a stay and say the league canâ€™t begin until the appeals court issues a ruling in the case? Obviously, if free agency begins and teams donâ€™t know if thereâ€™s going to be a salary cap this year, there wonâ€™t be the willy-nilly spending of some other free-agency periods. And the union could load up with charges of collusion if very good players arenâ€™t pursued in the free market. In short, it could exacerbate the situation, not help get closer to a settlement.
Mediation between the league and players is on hold until May 16.
NFL Invites Players to Draft
Remember when there was talk of a prospect boycott at the NFL Draft? Â NFLPA’s George Atallah quickly diffused the controversy last month when he sent a series of tweets disputing the word ‘boycott’ was ever used.
If anything, the 2011 NFL Draft is the “anti-boycott.”
AÂ record 25 prospects will attendÂ Radio City Music Hall later this week, including Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and the presumed frontrunners for Denver’s No. 2 pick (Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley, Von Miller, and Patrick Peterson). Miller’s inclusion is a bit surprising, since he is the lone prospect listed on the antitrust suit against the NFL. Â Talk about irony. Â Can you imagine the hat, jersey, and handshake exchange with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell when Miller steps onto the podium?
We won’t have to imagine. Â We’ll see it on Thursday.
Melissa with Barry Sanders Memorial Blog has the full list, along with more on some other draft week activities planned.