Dear Appellate Court Judges: Let’s Apply Logic, Shall We?


Today began as one of the best NFL days in the past 2 months.  The league was open for business, players were with their teams, meetings, working out, the draft was in full swing.  There was a positive feeling for the NFL fans.

That was short lived, wasn’t it?

As round 2 of the draft began in NY, we hear the ruling that, in a 2-1 decision, the Appellate court judges in St. Louis granted an emergency stay of Judge Nelson’s ruling, putting the lockout back into place, pending a decision on the NFL’s request for a permanent stay.  So, back to the waiting game.  And my question is, why?

I am no lawyer, I state that right off.  So I admit that there are likely legal issues that I am not aware of that come into play here.  So, I am going to take a look at this from a point of view that often escapes the law….LOGIC!!

Let’s see, the NFL argued that it would be caused “irreparable harm” by opening its doors.  They also stated that it would be a complex process to run the business without a collective bargaining agreement in place.  Justice Kermit Bye, offered a very pertinent, and logical point in his dissenting opinion on Friday:

“The NFL claimed such operations would be ‘a complex process that requires time to coordinate,’ ” Bye wrote. “This contention is severely undermined by the fact that the NFL had, within a day of the district court’s order denying a stay, already planned post-injunction operations which would allow the players to have access to club and workout facilities, receive playbooks, meet with coaches and so forth.”

Kudos, Justice Bye.  Exactly right.  How can the league say it would be to hard to open back up without an agreement in place, when within a day of Judge Nelson’s decision, THEY WERE ALREADY PUTTING RULES IN PLACE TO DO SO?  It was so complicated, it took a whole day to do.  Wow NFL!  So complicated!  Does this line of thinking make sense to anyone?  I don’t care if there is a legal reason that it does.  IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!

Secondly, let’s look at the irreparable harm argument for a second.  It would cause irreparable harm to open for business.   Hmm…wait a minute.  The draft was happening, all along…..wasn’t it?  Either way, the draft was still going to be held I believe.  So wouldn’t that constitute the league being, what’s the word…..OPEN?  So, on one hand, the league will be damaged if they open for existing players, but they can open for college players.  I think the appropriate response is “What you talkin bout Willis?”  Owners, you can’t have it both ways.  Either, you open, or you don’t.  That’s the logical argument, and the one Judge Nelson applied.  However, the St. Louis court didn’t agree.  And again, I don’t care if there is a legal reason that this is acceptable.  IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!

Apparently, to two St. Louis appellate court judges it does.

This is only temporary, and it can be rectified.  This was an emergency stay, pending a ruling on the full stay.  The players have filed their response, and the league will respond next week.  If the judges grant the stay again, that will keep the lockout in place, should the owners choose, until the hearing on the lockout is completed, which could be a 6-8 week process.  With the league doors closed, aside from existing players not able to rehab from injuries, the parties most hurt immediately would be the undrafted college players.  They cannot negotiate with teams until this is resolved.  A permanent stay will now cost these young men jobs, and then further along, it may cost us a football season, and nobody wins.

Judges please use some sense.  Don’t grant the permanent stay.  Keep the doors of the NFL open for now, give us a fighting chance at a season.