The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals has heard oral arguments in the NFL’s appeal of Judge Susan Nelson’s decision to grant the players a preliminary injunction to lift the lockout, and they’ve warned both sides that their decision will be one that “neither side will like.”

I’m not sure exactly what that means, but the bread and butter of what went down today tasted pretty similar to previous legal get-togethers involving the league and the players: the courts are essentially encouraging the two sides to ditch litigation and hammer something out via bargaining.

The league’s lawyers continued to insist that the union’s decertification was a sham and that this is still a labor dispute. In their opinion, injunctions violate the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which the players claim was designed to prevent courts from blocking employee strikes, not employer lockouts. The players continue to insist that decertification was legit, and thus the Norris-LaGuardia Act shouldn’t apply in the first place.

The court once again urged the parties to settle in order to avoid having to hear the forthcoming decision that is apparently destined to be double-sided bad news. Now, will the owners and players renew negotiations with increased pressure to get something done? If so, there’s a chance the Eighth Circuit’s ruling won’t matter.

And that would be better for all involved, especially the fans.

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