Now that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted the NFL’s request for a stay that keeps the lockout in place, the league has released a statement.
Although the two sides are already in mediation efforts that renewed today, the NFL wants serious negotiations to be re-launched.
"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," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "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 same judges voted 2-1 in favor of the NFL that ruled on the initial temporary stay that restarted the lockout after a short respite from the work stoppage during the NFL draft.
Now, the lockout is back on through at least June 3 when the appeal will be heard in St. Louis by the Eighth Circuit.
Earlier tonight, the decertified NFL Players Association issued the following statement: "The NFL’s request for a stay of the lockout that was granted today means no football. 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 voting from the judges was the same as the temporary stay granted last month, according to the Associated Press.
The initial ruling of District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson halting the lockout looks like it’s in danger of being overruled by the higher court.
"In sum, we have serious doubts that the district court had jurisdiction to enjoin the league’s lockout, and accordingly conclude that the league has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits," the majority wrote in its decision today.
Meanwhile, mediation resumed Monday in Minneapolis.
However, no deal is expected to be reached on a new collective bargaining agreement at this time.
The players are seeking at least $707 million in damages out of the $4 billion lockout fund that Judge David Doty has ruled wasn’t acquired in good faith during its last round of television contract negotiations.