Here's what we know about the timing for a ruling from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals on the current temporary stay that put the lockout back in place: it might or might not happen.
Actually, we also know it ain't happening Monday, either. That's because, according to Clerk of Court Michael Gans -- via Judy Battista of the New York Times -- the judges involved in the panel that could decide the fate of the NFL are traveling today.
So that means we get to wait (again!) and try to guess whether or not the Court of Appeals will side with the NFL or the players.
The best guess, I think, is to expect the court to stick with the NFL on the issue of any stay leadinup to the June 3 appeal date.
Logically speaking, it makes little sense to cut things wide open around the league before the ruling. If that happened and the court turned over Judge Susan Richard Nelson's ruling, then the league would be forced to re-lockout the players just a few short weeks/months after having the original lockout removed.
That would be a public relations nightmare, for sure, but it would also create a really bizarre set of circumstances. Would you want your team to sign Matt Hasselbeck to a three-year, multi-million dollar deal when you don't even know when he'll get his 2011 playbook, much les if he'll even play this season? I sure wouldn't.
Then there's the whole matter of figuring out exactly what set of rules the league will operate by -- anything too restrictive, and they risk running afoul of antitrust issues, and there's a serious loss of negotiating leverage if they make their rules too lax.
Which is why it's entirely possible that we're starting to hear the rumors of new free-agency rules and even the old, shut-the-NFL-down when we lose number.
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