With its players again barred from work, the NFL told a federal appeals court Monday the fight over whether the lockout is legal won't get in the way of the 2011 season.
The rest of the labor fight? That’s anyone’s guess.
The NFL filed an 18-page brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, arguing that the lockout should remain in effect while appeals play out.
The appeals court put U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson’s order lifting the 45-day lockout on hold temporarily last week. The owners reinstated the lockout a few hours later, and they want a more permanent stay of Nelson’s order so they can argue that it should be overturned altogether. A decision from the appeals court is expected soon.
The players have argued there is no guarantee appeals can be wrapped up in time for the regular season, but the NFL said the process — thanks to a request for an expedited hearing — is more a matter of weeks than months.
Still, the St. Louis Rams announced via Twitter they’re pushing back the deadline for renewing season tickets to June 1 to give fans “flexibility given the current labor uncertainty.” Other teams have previously adjusted prices and renewal plans to account for the lockout.
A Detroit Lions season-ticket holder from suburban Detroit, Bill LaFleur, said he’s already renewed for a fourth year despite the uncertainty.
“It was due in a couple weeks and the Lions told me if I didn’t pay it by the deadline, I could possibly lose my seat,” LaFleur said.
The players have a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NFL pending before Nelson. But the legality of the lockout has essentially become the fight for now, with both sides arguing over whether Nelson has jurisdiction in the case.
Nelson agreed with the players that they were suffering such harm when she lifted the 45-day lockout on April 25.
The league has argued, and did again Monday, that Nelson’s order must be stayed or it “would irreparably harm the NFL by undercutting its labor law rights and irreversibly scrambling the eggs of player-club transactions.”
“Absent a stay, there will be trades, player signings, players cut under existing contracts, and a host of other changes in employment relationships” between hundreds of players and the 32 NFL teams, the league’s attorneys wrote.
BRAIN WAS DAMAGED
Dave Duerson, a former NFL player who committed suicide in February, had “moderately advanced” brain damage related to blows to the head, according to the researcher who made the diagnosis.
“It’s indisputable” that Duerson had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disorder linked to repeated brain trauma, Dr. Ann McKee said.
The findings were announced as part of an effort conducted by the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University’s School of Medicine.
The CSTE Brain Bank has the brains of more than 70 athletes and military veterans, with football players comprising more than half of the athletes.
Duerson played safety in the NFL for 11 seasons, seven with the Chicago Bears, and was chosen for four Pro Bowls before retiring in 1993.
“Dave Duerson had classic pathology of CTE and no evidence of any other disease,” McKee said, “and he has severe involvement of all the (brain) structures that affect things like judgment, inhibition, impulse control, mood and memory.”
The body of Duerson, who was 50, was found in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., on Feb. 17. He left a note asking that his brain be given to the NFL’s Brain Bank.
He shot himself in the chest, “presumably” to preserve his brain for study, said Chris Nowinski, co-director of the CSTE.
Duerson’s case was “moderately advanced,” McKee said. “The likelihood is that if he hadn’t had the CTE, he wouldn’t have developed those symptoms that he was experiencing at the end of his life and perhaps he wouldn’t have been compelled to end his life.”
New Broncos coach John Fox spoke with candor and clarity on all things except his quarterback situation in a conference call with season ticket holders. Fox was asked more than once about his plans for Tim Tebow & Co., with Fox divulging little more insight than, “I feel good about our depth at quarterback.” ... Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers of the Packers and Jets coach Rex Ryan were honored by the Pro Football Writers of America. Rodgers won the Good Guy Award given to the player that best helped the media do their job. Ryan got the Horrigan Award as the non-player who most helped the media do their job.