NFL owners win critical ruling in lockout case

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. They are facing an uphill legal battle, according to one attorney. Players could be back at work as early as Monday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

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

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51 comments Add your comment

Blue Fender

May 16th, 2011
8:47 pm

Well, there goes the season.

Falconairre

May 16th, 2011
9:01 pm

First to say 1st where are the replacement player tryouts..

poppa falcon

May 16th, 2011
9:47 pm

Players better think LONG and hard………….no checks coming in to pay for those vacation homes, four-wheelers, Escalades, child support & alimony……..hope this stand is WORTH it. If not, 1-800-CALL-A-SCAB.

ATL_98

May 16th, 2011
9:58 pm

this is silly. i want football!

Dylan

May 16th, 2011
10:01 pm

There will be football…bet on it.

Reid Adair

May 16th, 2011
10:08 pm

In two weeks, the court will rule in the players’ favor.

And, as crazy as it may seem, I actually see the players’ side on much of the issue.

patrick Sulley

May 16th, 2011
10:19 pm

and? but? so? therefore? College football is where it’s at. I am glad AJ Green and Houston cant play……should have stayed at UGA you bunch of unloyal b@stards

patrick Sulley

May 16th, 2011
10:27 pm

“disloyal”

j

May 16th, 2011
10:43 pm

sulley… why so bitter?

Business

May 16th, 2011
10:49 pm

If no one has not noticed, the only people who think the players are right are people who have never owned a business, run or business or been responsible for a payroll. Unlike the banks these owner used their own money and have no one bail them out with greedy players who have no idea on how to save money for their retirement.

bob

May 16th, 2011
11:13 pm

Whine some more players, thinking of the short term and not the long term of a business. If the league ends up folding all of those players will be in old folks homes with no money for retirement.

chuck

May 17th, 2011
12:08 am

To any of you uninformed people; please consider that many if not most owners don’t make any money with their business until they sell it. I suppose the hockey players think that the Atlanta and Phoenix franchises that are losing 25 million or more per year are bluffing. Consider that the LA Dodgers may not make their June payroll. The NY Mets are broke.
I think the NFL owners don’t want to be in those positions and are taking the steps to fix their issues. The NFL has to have a very low rookie draft scale. Protect the players with a reasonable retirement and medical package. I hope they hold firm and fix the pay structure in such a manner so as to last a long time.

Batman

May 17th, 2011
12:09 am

I love how unions expect the company to take care of everything…. in the real world its your own responsibility to take care of yourself.

Bigg Bird

May 17th, 2011
12:10 am

Somehow I’m amazed that these players make ALL those millions can’t figure out how to put some of it away for when their careers end.

I’m all for a cap for rookies. Both sides are to blame -and the NFLPA pushes the rates because they get more money too.

I say to heck with BOTH sides.

PMC

May 17th, 2011
12:46 am

It’s not about who is right to me. I’m annoyed with the owners for simply not playing out the agreement in the first place. The idea that anyone is “losing money” in this business is an outright lie. Any owner that is disappointed with their take can sell for a massive profit over what they paid even a year ago. No one is selling, it’s not even close.

Sports “labor” negotiation is an exercise in futility.

Everyone trying to equate this to business…. did you go run to the city council get them to condemn property for you or use eminent domain to take it for you… then get the tax payers to build you a shiny building to your specifications just because they want you to stay in town?

If we’re talking “right and wrong” here…. no party in this negotiation has a leg to stand on they are all rotten. It has nothing to do with profit and who has it. Everyone is doing extremely well.

The players never seem to acknowledge that they could simply buy insurance for later in life or…invest their money. The owners…..seem to think it’s some kind of horrible joke they actually have to pay market value for players AND pay for facilities.

Just play football and shut up!

PMC

May 17th, 2011
12:49 am

I think the owner of the Houston Astro’s sold this week. I’d say making a cool 500 million give or take a few off an original investment of just over 100 million was a pretty nice haul for one of the absolute worst teams in baseball eh?

jj

May 17th, 2011
12:55 am

It’s funny that the judge that ruled for the players was appointed by a Democrat and the court that ruled for owners were appointed by a Republican.It was not a surprise to most and that is where The Country stands today.A house divided.Hey we will have football,but will it be the quality that your Mony pay for?As Mr T use to say “pity the fool”.

LakeDawg

May 17th, 2011
1:13 am

I will not watch scab football. The players are right on this one.

Bob

May 17th, 2011
2:36 am

I understand why people side with the players. They can sympathize with the “poor” working stiffs. The owners are the risk takers and the ones that deserve to benefit from their business decisions.

Do taxpayers enjoy paying for new stadiums for the owners?

The owners will not be able to pass this cost on to the taxpayers if they get what they are asking for in this negotiation.

Go ahead and support the players. They don’t care if it cost two weeks pay to go to a game.

As long as they get their cars, homes, child support payments, and money for the strip joints.

Bob

May 17th, 2011
2:51 am

For everyone that is supporting the players, you obviously have never had a supervisory position. You have always felt that you were at the mercy of your boss.

Now, let’s pretend that you are in charge. Kind of like a parent. How would you feel if your children decided to dictate to you and tell you how you were going to behave?

I have a feeling you would tell them that is not how the world works. And you would be right.

Let’s have the kids in charge. Go ahead and support the players.

robert

May 17th, 2011
6:29 am

what did you expect form judges appointed by politicians. now their pockets are lined with more money

Paddy

May 17th, 2011
6:32 am

Sulley……………..There is no loyality in college sports. Where have you been the ;last 25 years? If Houston or Green aksed me, I would tell them to pick up the check. You can’t spend loyality that does not exist from the coaches and the NCAA. They don’t cash red&black down at the BB&T.

robert

May 17th, 2011
6:36 am

and bob thats a poor analogy. a union is different than a normal boss/employee relationship. now, because of bad business on the owners behalf, the players had to decertify. now the nfl is breaking the law by locking out the players under anti-trust laws. imagine if your boss took part of everyones paycheck so he could close the business down for a year and live comfortably. then said we can work this out if you work more for less money. thats a better analogy dude.

Marko

May 17th, 2011
6:42 am

Life expectancy for the US is about 78.7 years. Studies suggest that for the NFL It’s less than 60.
The owners say that the average NFL career is nearly six years. the Players say it’s less than four Regardless of who you believe, it’s a long way to sixty-five, and the normal retirement age. But then look at the bright side , most those greedy jerks won’t live that long.
78% of “retired” players are bankrupt or unemployed two years after leaving the league.
Given the the sheer numbers of serious injuries, players experience every year, OSHA would shut down the league were it a coal mine.
Why do so many of you guys use classical capitalist theories to defend a monopoly that insist tax payers fund their building projects?
The NFL is anything but a normal business. Where the hell is Adam Smith when we need him.
I think it’s safe to say that the owners love their employees and customers as much as the tobacco companies love theirs.

falcfvr

May 17th, 2011
7:01 am

The retired players that are not happy only bitch because they learned squat in school. Get educated and take care of your family like the fans do.

Larry

May 17th, 2011
7:09 am

Work is a privilege, not a right. The owners do have the right to pay what they want and the players have the same right to accept this or seek compensation elsewhere.

As a business owner, I am wise and responsible enough to offer a compensation package to both attract top talent and grow my business; my employees have the option of accepting this or seeking employment elsewhere.

As a long time STH, and a businessman, I believe the current compensation package offered the NFL players is beyond fair, and if they current players continue to reject this, I for one would welcome Arthur Blank to fire these individuals and their leadership that is driving them off a cliff. Provided the ticket pricing is adjusted accordingly, I would continue to support the team should they hire replacement players.

On a compensation note, I would play the same base salary to different categories of players (starters, by position, etc) and pay the rest in performance incentives (tackles, sacks, catches, interceptions, TD passes, etc). Then you would see some real football!

Big Dawg

May 17th, 2011
8:03 am

Both sides are wrong. It’s time to find something else to do other than watch Pro sports or attend their games. After a couple of years the salaries will plummet and so will the ticket prices.

Blue Fender

May 17th, 2011
8:33 am

Both sides think the other is screwing them over. The only ones getting screwed are the fans.

joe white

May 17th, 2011
8:38 am

Arthur and Owners yall full shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii t.

mrzizzle

May 17th, 2011
8:45 am

It’s very sad that the two sides can’t figure out how to split 9 Billion Dollars. My neighbor had a yard sale last week to help pay his mortgage. My respect to Goodell is slowly fading away being that he can’t convince both sides to give and take a little. GREED is the worlds worst enemy. SAD we have to watch the best league in the world rot away.

Tombo

May 17th, 2011
8:51 am

Hmmm…How many businesses provide lifetime medical and retirement benefits to employees who are 20 years old when hired, only work 4-6 years on average for the company, but are paid several hundred thousand to a few million dollars a year…much of it guaranteed regardless of job performance? Oh, and to stay competitive you have to hire more unproven 20 year olds each year at an ever escalating rate of pay and guarantee their income regardless of performance. Oh, and you have to give up 50%+ of your revenue to a select group of your employees.

Sounds like a pretty stupid business model…yet that’s what NFL owners face. Gotta side with the owners here. At some point the players have to be responsible enough with the monetary rewards they receive to position themselves for life after football…whether that’s 1, 4, or 10 years away.

Charles Turner

May 17th, 2011
9:11 am

What about the fans who makes them all millionaires. Give us a break and give some of the money back to us and the tax payers who financies these little boys and old men. Give the fan a break on ticket prices and the tax payer some relief in these sweetheart deals that the owners hold them hostage with.

Paddy O

May 17th, 2011
9:22 am

chuck – what do you base these conclusions on? Dallas just spent a whole not on a stadium. If the owner is blowing all his $$$ on luxury, then he is not really “just breaking even”. sorry, chuck – aint buying the carpet bagger BS you are shoveling.

Paddy O

May 17th, 2011
9:24 am

Tombo – be a corporate flack all you want. Most, 80%, of the players don’t make millions, and what job do you do that requires you to be slammed by 300 pound men all day? the NFL make 9 billion a year. the players and their souvenirs are the ONLY product. The league has an obligation to provide a pension and health insurance. you just the typical cheap ass southern business owner (exploiter of the labor)?

ASHCAN.

May 17th, 2011
9:34 am

To all players,its the owners that give you a chance to become rich by making you a part of there organization.If it wasn’t for the owners most of you who are already in the league will be working 9 to 5 just like us hard working people.Its true you are a part of the NFL and have a right to speak your side but who gave you a right to begin with? your owner.

april glaspie

May 17th, 2011
9:44 am

The owners have broken the law, without a doubt, and a judge that rules in their favor should be impeached. Kneejerk activist judge siding with owners over labor, and no it makes no difference that the players are wealthy. The USA has labor laws for a reason. The owners want the players to agree to a percentage of their revenue, but refuse to extablish what the revenue pool contains. What sort of a maroon would agree to that sort of dishonest deal?

YOU can't handle the truth.....

May 17th, 2011
9:56 am

Are you all ready for the truth????
BOTH sides are to blame for the current situation…
ALL of sports is to blame for the current situation…
I am talking Players & Owners.
Every OWNER of a team wants to have deep pockets to draft/keep the best players, yet complain about their payrolls being excessive. The PLAYERS want to take advantage of the system and get the maximum they can for what they think are their abilities. George S. started this excess with the NY Yankees years ago. There were a few others before him, but not that ‘bought’ teams as well as he did. The excessive pay just spread like a viruse to ALL of professional sports, and has even become global to a certain extent. To think that these guys feel that the owner ‘owes’ them is really crazy. I work 40-50 hours a week to feed my family and struggle to pay my bills. I am grateful to have a job in todays market. Then we have ‘men’ who are playing games, and getting paid well to do it. It is almost as bad as actors and politicians who are also grossly overpaid for what they do. IF players want the big bucks, perhaps it is time to base pay 90% on performance. Then we will see how dedicated they are and how hard they will pay when their pay is on the line. If I do not do my job well, I get let go from a company. We have lots of sub-standard players who get paid very well to do a barely passable job. They do not give their salary back to the owner for not playing up to the expectation of the contract they signed. It is time for ALL fans to BOYCOTT ALL SPORTS FOR ONE YEAR. Then let the owners and the players see who their income is truly dependant on paying the bills. It is the FANS !!! WE have the power. It is time to let all these pompous a$$es know who is really the boss. WE ARE. Don’t attend the games – don’t watch the games – don’t buy from the advertising companies……. HIT them ALL in their pocketbook and maybe this nonsense can end. Until we do don’t plan on ANY sport showing any kind of being in touch with reality…….

Tombo

May 17th, 2011
9:58 am

Paddy O – Nobody forces the players to play football…it’s a choice. They could choose to drive a truck or be a surgeon…yet they choose to take a job with risk of physical injury in order to reap the financial rewards. That doesn’t entitle them to a life of luxury for a few years of work. Of course, from your comments, it seems that you think that mere employment of anyone entitles them to lifelong perks.

Mr. Mustard

May 17th, 2011
10:03 am

The NFL is a socialist organization and takes tax payer money and shares revenue. They are not great capitalists.

Notice how oil companies, health care companies, banks, and the NFL just to name a few capitalize their earnings and socialize their losses, to us.

But yeah, some of you guys keep fighting for the billionaires because you will be one too one day. Right.

You guys keep fighting for the right to go bankrupt when a bank or health care company which we pay for, takes your money, loses it then holds the country hostage until we pay them more.

Effing freaking idiots.

Oh, but we cannot allow government to do anything because the rich people tell us government intervention is bad. And never EVER agree with a Democrat because Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity will make fun of you.

Americans’ who work hard and play by the rules should not ever go bankrupt due to an illness and by the way, are you ready to let your mother move in with you and wipe her butt when they take away Medicare?

Get ready to buy all your stuff and owe money to the company store. You will have to wear their logos on your clothes too. Oh wait.

Oh poor billionaires, we give them stadiums, we let them break anti-trust laws and they share freaking revenue then tell us socialism is bad.

And there are those who feel bad for the billionaires. Amazing.

There are those who wear tri-cornered hats and misquote the Constitution who would be on the side of the East India Tea Co. during the actual Boston Tea Party.

Nice. Any they laugh at me.

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 17th, 2011
10:44 am

The fans are the true losers in the long run with this whole mess at present. In the end, I think the NFL and the players will all be the losers together, when the fans quit supporting pro ball. On one hand, I think it is crazy that the owners have to divide a percentage of their money to the players since they are the owners of the company. On the other hand, I understand the players side since, their job security is almost always on the line, every fall, and it is a tough job, with a high risk of injury. I do think that the players need to invest some of their money for the future and should get some good financial advice concerning their future.
I think they will probably come to an agreement in the future but it will end up costing the fans for higher prices to the venue. I hope that our politicians don’t feel the need to spend a lot of tax dollars on new stadium for the NFL or any other sport. Certainly the owners can afford to invest and go into debt to get their own stadiums, in most cases. Why should the tax payer be on the hook for financing a stadium, by giving basically a low interest rate loan to a rich guy that owns a team. The average person will never see a deal like that if he wished to start a company or improve or expand a present one. Greed got both sides into this mess, so they need to sit down and negotiate in good faith and think about what they are doing to their profession and the league as a whole.
If I have money to invest in a ticket to a sports game, I am going to invest it in a college game. The players still have something they are trying to reach for and obtain.
I hope the politicians realize that it is poor leadership to take taxpayer money and give low interest loans and bonds to a rich owner to build a new stadium. The average citizen can’t get that kind of deal to get a company or expand one. If the owner wants to hold the city hostage by threatening to move his franchise, let him go ahead. The city, can usually get some other business to come to town to make up for the lost revenue.
I will chose to watch pro sports on TV as the ticket prices have gotten too high for me. I love the college game but prices there are almost as bad. Thank the good lord for TV.

Mike

May 17th, 2011
10:45 am

@Chuck: You obviously do not know what you are talking about.

“Many if not most owners don’t make any money with their business until they sell it”

Really? I own a business and I make a good living. Hard work, sound investments, calculated risks etc….The Mets, Dodgers, and Thrashers were nice examples to use when discussing broke franchises, but when you dig deeper they are all run irresponsibly and/or wrecklessly. Besides, comparing a NFL Franchise to Hockey and Baseball is laughable. I’m pretty sure my three year old could run a succesful NFL franchise.

J. J.

May 17th, 2011
10:55 am

Having been a fan for over 30 years, I am now disgusted and disappointed with the whole NFL.
I’m going to College football, Arena football and Canadian football. What a bunch of JERKS.

tardawg

May 17th, 2011
11:13 am

First of all there is NO NFLPA its just players, i think they should find another rep for them, If the players want the owners to open their books I think the decertified players union open there books and lets see who has been getting the money the players or people who represent them.

Barry

May 17th, 2011
11:19 am

They should create a scrub league for every team that will be out this season. Attach a tv production crew to every team and you got another season of reality tv. I might even watch this…..

Fed up

May 17th, 2011
11:35 am

This is where the consumer (FANS) needs to make a difference. We have a voice in this craziness by the NFL.

We must boycott the NFL. We must refuse to purchase any season tickets, individual game tickets, or NFL merchandise until this situation is resolved. Furthermore, we must refuse to support any entity that chooses to advertise with the NFL.

The way that you stop this foolishness is by helping the NFL (owners/ players) recognize who actually finance the league. Although NFL owners only receive a fraction of their money from ticket sales, they would definitely miss the revenue they receive from companies. If we as fans boycott the companies and informed those companies this is because of the unnecessary lock out it will make a difference, and probably saved the season.

Section 108

May 17th, 2011
1:12 pm

Just let me know where the scabs go to try-out. I have been practicing my long snaps for 2 weeks now.

hamp

May 17th, 2011
3:09 pm

First Paddy O love your take. If I’m not mistaken isn’t it the owners who want the players to take a cut from a previous agreement. If it was all ready aggreed apon then leave it alone or the one crying foul take the cut but let there be football.

jj

May 17th, 2011
3:11 pm

If we,The Fans weren’t so addicted to this Game and had the guts to not show up or watch their product things would bring these Bosses and high income employees to their knees.We have the power to change everything,but they know they have us by the balls.I wish we could unify and stay home and watch a good movie instead of craving for their product.Just like gas prices,if you use less of it by driving less,prices will drop.If we are not there when the gates open,can you guess what will happen when they play to a empty stadium and nobody watches on TV.How do you think they will get you back,lower ticket prices and anything else you might ask for.If only we were not so caught up like a drug user that needs his fix.I love football,but I wish we could stop using their drug.

SirReal

May 17th, 2011
3:29 pm

@ Marko AND Mr. Mustard

Well said gentlemen. I mean come on people. Open your eyes. many are defending men who will be rich and their kids’ kids’ kids. They wil be fine regardless. They are getting colliseums off the backs of the tax payers. Come on people. Cant that money go toward feeding a city? These monoliths cost like a billon bucks. That can feed, clothe, and house a lot of people. I like football but honestly to hell with it if it means they continue to get richer while the “common” man struggles to simply put food on the table.

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 18th, 2011
6:42 am

This is one fan that they don’t have to worry about seeing at a pro. game anymore. I am just tired of millionaires and billionaires fighting over everything to do with playing ball and not realizing how both sides are just so lucky to be able to be in the position they are in now.
We pay too much for the game as fans, and then the owners try to blackmail the cities they are in with threats of moving their team, if the tax payer doesn’t finance the very places, that they finance and give the NFL even more money.
Want something to be concerned about and rally around. Remember these fine young folks serving in foreign countries and dying to keep this country free. hey make it all possible for these clowns to even make a living. These clowns should be darn grateful, that there are people in this country that will pay the already hideously prices in the first place, for the limited amount of return a fan gets from his dollars spent.