MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 16: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell leaves court-ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on May 16, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners that followed a breakdown of labor talks between the two in March. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
The NFL lockout negotiations hit an interesting bump on Friday when the Eight Circuit Court ruled on the validity of the lockout. Their ruling said the lockout is not illegal, and can continue. It recognized that rookies and unrestricted free agents are not covered by the lockout, however, because they're not technically employees. It also means that the players' anti-trust litigation can move forward.
Basically, the court ruling means that both sides need to be even more concerned about resolving this matter between themselves because what's down the road is a ton of time spent in courtrooms trying to sort out this mess. According to their statement, that's exactly what they want to do.
While we respect the court's decision, today's ruling does not change our mutual recognition that this matter must be resolved through negotiation. We are committed to our current discussions and reaching a fair agreement that will benefit all parties for years to come, and allow for a full 2011 season.
The best thing for both sides is to come to an agreement on their own terms. With the pre-season drawing ever near, the prospect of losing a ton of money and fans over canceled games, both sides already had incentive to come up with an agreement. Today's ruling just adds to that.