Next step set in NFL labor fight

UPDATE: During a conference call today, the players association said there will be no talks between the sides until the court hearing.


If you thought 17 days of mediation was a long time, the wait until the next step in the legal wrangling between the NFL and the players' union could be 23 days way.

According to court documents, the motion for a preliminary injunction in the case of Tom Brady et al vs. the NFL will be heard April 6 in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis before Judge Susan Nelson.

Nelson had presided over the case Dryer v. NFL, which involved former players suing because they believed the NFL was violating their rights by using video footage of their playing days in NFL Films videos. Dryer, who went on to an acting career, was joined in the suit by Jim Marshall and Dan Pastorini, among others. The judge was promoted and taken off the case, according to Sports Business Journal.

The switch to Nelson begs the question about what role, if any, Judge David Doty will have in this process. Doty, as you probably know be now, has a long track record of siding with the players in various matters.

``This has to be a big disappointment for the NFLPA and the player plaintiffs. Judge Doty was totally on their side on every issue and would likely have ruled for them on all important matters going forward," Gary Roberts, the dean of the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. "How Judge Nelson will view things and rule on all these issues remains to be seen.''

The NFL Network is reporting that the sides have been told that Nelson will hear the case. Nelson is the third judge assigned to the case after the two previous judges recused themselves. Roberts said the only way that Nelson will not hear the case is if she too recused herself.

The former players' union just completed a conference call and hit hard on the idea of the owners refusing to open up their books.

Said spokesman George Attalah: "Perception is that we're really, really close. The reality is, we really, really weren't."


ESPN is reporting that the union is encouraging players to boycott the draft.

The NFL responded to the report with this statement: "We plan to invite the 15-20 top prospects and their families to New York as we normally do for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. And, as always, it is the decision of the players and their families as to whether they attend."

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