I'm not going to give you an Q & A about what is going on today in Minnesota Federal Court. Why? Because I know you don't want to hear it.
I'm not going to tell you why the case is here and what the legal precedents are. Why? Because I know you don't want to hear it.
And I'm not going to tell you what side I'm leaning towards. Why? Because I know you don't care about me.
You care about one thing and that's a football season. So let me help answer the only question you care about. What has to happen in order for football to resume without a work stoppage?
I hope what I have to say here to be useful. This primer of sorts will tell you who you want to root for with each possible twist and turn that could happen over the next five months.
1. ROOT FOR THE PLAYERS TO WIN: The quickest way for a work stoppage to be immediately avoided is for the judge to issue the injunction that will require the owners and the players to negotiate while all of the league's business continues to operate again. This is what the players want because it gets rid of the pressure that comes from a lockout as the season approaches and they still aren't getting paid.
2. ROOT FOR THE OWNERS TO WIN: If the courts don't force the resumption of league business as negotiation continues, the next thing you should root for is for the National Labor Relations Board to rule that the decertification of the player's union is a tactical sham devised for the sole purpose of allowing the court to decide the terms of negotiating. The presiding judge can either wait for that ruling or choose to make a ruling herself. If the ruling is that there is no legal basis for the decertification of the union then all parts of the antitrust lawsuit are destroyed and the player's union must then be considered a union again and go back to the bargaining table with the owners.
3. ROOT FOR THE PLAYERS TO WIN: If the judge does not side with the players, by offering injunctive relief, or side with the owners, who believe that the court doesn't even have the power to rule on anything related to labor law, then we will continue to proceed through the legal system towards a trial. While that happens, hope that the players win their battle in the separate fight with the owners over $4 billion in television money that was to be paid even if there weren't a season. While the owners would still likely have the upper hand on the players from a standpoint of having saved more money than the players in the event of a revenue drought, losing the ability to even hold on to that money would soften the owners.
4. ROOT FOR THE OWNERS TO WIN: The court system won't necessarily be sympathetic to the timing of the NFL season. If the lawsuit proceeds, who knows when this will all be settled? As the season gets closer, you'll want to root for the owners as a group of scared players give in to the thought of not having a paycheck and agree to throw out the suit and get back to the negotiating table.
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