So what’s next?
1. The NFL still plans to attempt to prove that the decertification of the NFLPA was a sham in order to gain leverage. There’s still a lot of debate regarding when the union was allowed to dissolve, so this could end quickly if a judge immediately sees things one way or another. (But every decision can be appealed.)
2. Speaking of the judge, it’s still not a foregone conclusion David Doty will be assigned to the players’ antitrust lawsuit. Thus far, two judges have already passed on the case. It’s currently Judge Susan Nelson’s case, but the players will keep pushing for Doty, and there’s a chance judges will keep passing until it lands in Doty’s hands. If/when that happens, there’s likely nothing the league can do about that.
3. The players’ case requesting a preliminary injunction to block a lockout (and claiming that the league can’t apply rules/regulations such as the salary cap, free agent restrictions and an entry-level draft) will take place after a court has established that the decertification of the union was legitimate.
(UPDATE: It’s currently scheduled to begin on Apr. 6, according to Jason La Canfora of NFL Network. Nelson’s name is still on it, and that might work in the owners’ favour.)
4. The two sides can actually continue to negotiate at any point in time. The players don’t have to be a union to sit down with the owners and discuss things, absent collective bargaining. The league has continued to invite the “union” to do exactly that, but obviously the players are dead set on settling this in court.
My head hurts. Time to write about Tiki Barber.