Arthur Blank and the rest of the NFL owners won a crucial victory over the players in federal appeals court on Monday.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the owners a stay from an injunction that would have lifted the lockout that started on March 12.
“It is now time to devote all of our energy to reaching a comprehensive agreement that will improve the game for the benefit of current and retired players, teams, and, most importantly, the fans,” read the NFL’s statement. “This litigation has taken the parties away from the negotiating table where these issues should be resolved. We remain confident that the appellate court will determine that this is a labor dispute that should be governed by federal labor law. But the league and players, without further delay, should control their own destiny and decide the future of the NFL together through negotiation.”
The players were not pleased with the ruling.
“The NFL’s request for a stay of the lockout that was granted today means no football,” according to the NFLPA’s statement. “The players are in mediation and are working to try to save the 2011 season. The court will hear the full appeal on June 3.”
The league will remain closed for business, while both sides prepare for the appeal hearing, which will be held in St. Louis.
Both sides restarted mediation negotiations on Monday.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog