Judge Susan Richard Nelson could take up to two weeks to issue a ruling in the NFL labor dispute. In the meantime, she is encouraging the sides to return to the bargaining table.
U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson heard the opening salvo of the ongoing battle between the NFL and the players. As expected, she is likely to take most or all of the time allotted, two weeks, to her to render a verdict.
The injunction request was a brief summary of the issues fans have become all too familiar with. DeMaurice Smith and the recently decertified players union are seeking an injunction to allow the business of the NFL to resume while the case moves through the court system. The NFL countered that the solution is to have the union act as a union in federal mediation, which was attempted prior to the decertification but failed. Both sides claimed their way was the best way to have a 2011 season take place.
Several players past and present were on hand, including former Viking Carl Eller, named plaintiffs Vincent Jackson
, Mike Vrabel
, Ben Leber
and Brian Robison
and NFL veterans Charlie Batch
and Tony Richardson
Just as attorneys for the players and owners debate the best way to resolve the issue, reaction to Judge Nelson's two-week timeline is being viewed from opposite viewpoints.
One reaction being thrown out is that, given her comment "this is a matter that should be resolved," Judge Nelson is prepared to have the disparate grievance decided in the court system. An opposing view said that her "couple of weeks" remark was judicial code language giving an indication that the two sides should use the next two weeks to negotiate and try to avoid litigation.
In court Wednesday, Nelson asked many more questions of NFL attorney David Boies than she did of Jim Quinn, the counsel representing the players. The importance of that disparity seems pretty basic – if, after reading the motions, the judge has questions that need answering, the one that gets asked the most questions is the one that needs to come up with exactly the right answers or get ruled against. Boies did much more responding that Quinn, which, if you're on the NFL side of the dispute, can't be viewed as a good thing.
It will be interesting to see what the NFL and players opt to do with this two-week window. Those reading the judicial tea leaves see different things, but one thing that seems to be consistent throughout is that the judge's two-week notice may be seen as a chance for the two sides to get together.
It is possible that when Judge Nelson delivers her decision, it could force the two sides into mediation with the courts overseeing it, which would have markedly more authority than the three weeks of talks that broke down and resulted in the lawsuit being filed.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal is reporting that the CEOs of some major corporations in the Twin Cities are supportive of a new Vikings stadium bill, including the CEOs of U.S. Bancorp, Ecolab and Wells Fargo – some pretty heavy hitters in the corporate stratosphere.
Brett Favre will be back playing football this summer. Before the bloggers start turning this into another Carolina debacle, there's a much more reasonable explanation. Favre is going to host a one-day 7-on-7 camp at the University of Southern Mississippi June 14. The objective is to raise funds for the Favre 4 Hope Foundation and the University of Southern Mississippi Brett Favre Athletic Scholarship Endowment.
In one of the stranger stories of the offseason, a 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy has reunited William "The Refrigerator" Perry with his Super Bowl ring. According to the official story, Cliff Forrest of Fox Chapel, Pa. (the place even sounds rich) took $8,500 out of his college savings to buy Perry's Super Bowl ring. A Hallmark moment, considering Perry is suffering from Guillan-Barre syndrome and is in poor health of late. However, the story begs the question, how does a 10-year old access his college fund to kick out $8,500 to reunite a man and his ring. His father, Cliff Sr., claims he wouldn't have allowed it. He claims his son admires Perry. The question there should be not only "why" but "how?" A 10-year-old in Pennsylvania likely isn't very savvy to the NFL and, what knowledge they do have, would more likely be geared toward the Steelers or Eagles, not a former player with a cool nickname that had his crowing achievement 15 years before Cliff Jr. was born. It seems that the story has a double happy ending. The Fridge got reunited with his ring and the Forrest family got national attention.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.