As was expected, the ruling on the NFL lockout came Monday evening, and it was a win for the players. Judge Susan Nelson ruled in favor of the players and the injunction to lift the NFL lockout. But it's all far from over.
The owners have already appealed to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking for a stay after Judge Nelson did not grant them one on Monday. The league is hoping to keep the lockout in place during the appeals process, which would prolong the start of free agency and offseason workouts; the players want the NFL to operating regularly during the appeals process.
If the the stay is denied, then the league will be open for business and the free agency will begin. In short: Judge Nelson has ruled in favor of the players, so now the burden is on the league to prove to the 8th Circuit Appellate Court that the lockout is legal.
"We will promptly seek a stay from Judge Nelson pending an expedited appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals," the statement said. "We believe that federal law bars injunctions in labor disputes. We are confident that the Eighth Circuit will agree. But we also believe that this dispute will inevitably end with a collective bargaining agreement, which would be in the best interests of players, clubs and fans. We can reach a fair agreement only if we continue negotiations toward that goal."
NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith is obviously a fan of the decision, saying, "I'm happy for our guys and for our fans. Today, those who love football are the winners."
Smith added that he had talked to the lead plaintiffs, including Tom Brady, and said, "they're thrilled."