Several weeks ago the NFL and NFLPA went before the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and stated their case for why the NFL lockout is legal (NFL's argument) and why it is not legal (NFLPA's argument). After the oral arguments, the courts said they would issue a ruling in due time but encouraged the two sides to reach their own agreement because whatever they decided would be a decision that neither side would like.
And with the two sides making reported progress on a new labor agreement to end the lockout, the 8th Circuit has made their ruling -- the NFL lockout is legal. It favors the owners and gives them some more leverage at the moment.
But will the NFL use that leverage? The two sides have been negotiating and gotten to the point where some are suggesting that the framework of a deal can be completed within the next week.
Ideally, the two sides take a little time to take in the 34-page ruling and then get back to the negotiating table. The final verdict wasn't unexpected -- it's what many thought would happen -- but the timing of the ruling is a bit of a surprise as many figured the 8th Circuit wouldn't rule with the two sides apparently close to an agreement.
So this isn't totally unexpected. The timing of it is, but this is the ruling we thought was coming. Let's hope both sides take a look at it and then decide to carry on.