NFL owners are convening in Indianapolis for their spring meeting, amid no signs whatsoever that this confab will produce any sort of movement in the labor impasse.
At this point, it's hard to say what will spur any sort of resolution, and that's scary. The Eighth Circuit three-judge panel that stayed the injunction ending the lockout hears the NFL's formal appeal on June 3, but isn't expected to rule for weeks after that. The ruling that stayed the injunction made it pretty clear that two of the three judges are inclined to rule for the NFL, even though the players' filing in response to the stay decision argues forcefully that the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which the NFL and the two judges are arguing keeps injunctions from being issued in such matters, was never intended to be used as a tool against labor. In fact, interpreting the law the way the NFL urges might make the courts pretty much unable to do anything in labor matters, which is not the way things have been done in this country during the 79 years the law has been on the books.
Whatever the court rules, let's say that happens in late June. The losing side might be moved to reenter talks, but nobody thinks the whole mess will then be quickly resolved. This brings us to the topic of Eagles training camp, a huge event for fans each summer in Bethlehem. You might recall my story last month in which Lehigh University said it would like to know by early June whether the Birds are coming or not; Lehigh might be able to offset the lost revenue by running a high school sports festival or something if it has enough notice.
I have a call in today to Lehigh athletics director Joe Sterrett, to make sure nothing has changed, but I don't think there's any way Lehigh is going to know anything from the Eagles in early June. More and more it seems like if there is a training camp, it's going to be some sort of highly pressured, truncated affair at NovaCare, where the Eagles have assured neighbors they would not hold public workouts.