U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled in favor of NFL players on their motion for preliminary injunction, thus lifting the owners’ lockout. The NFL promises to seek a stay of the ruling and an expedited appeal. In the meantime, players are trying to decide whether to report for work tomorrow morning and the league is trying to figure out what set of rules should be applied.
The NFL Draft is unaffected by this development and will proceed on Thursday night. Nevertheless, as Boston College’s Warren K. Zola has pointed out in his article “The Unlucky NFL Draft Class of 2011” the draft is not business as usual this year. Pro Football Talk similarly discusses the issues facing this year’s draft class in “Dominik discusses new challenge of late round picks this year“.
The players, the former NFL Players’ Association and their lawyers have earned a victory in round one of the legal battle. They’ve likely earned some bargaining leverage as well. It remains to be seen whether this victory and the accompanying leverage will bring the parties closer to settlement.