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NFL labor battle returns to court today

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The ongoing battle between NFL owners and players today heads to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, where owners will appeal a lower court’s ruling to lift the lockout.

Today’s appeal is so important because the losing side’s negotiating leverage will be drastically undermined. That the appeals court previously granted a stay of the lower court’s ruling is an auspicious sign for owners. The outcome of today’s hearing, however, likely won’t be determined for weeks.

Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post has done a superb job these last few months explaining the legal battle in understandable terms, and I’ll direct you to his two-part primer on today’s proceedings:

Part I is a broad review of what has happened to date and the arguments expected by both sides.

Part II provides nuts and bolts and discusses possible outcomes.

Of course, the ultimate goal for both sides is a new collective bargaining agreement. Toward that end, there was good news this week that both sides met to discuss their differences.

I’m not sure you could correctly call it “negotiating,” especially because the decertified players union can’t collectively bargain, but any discussions seem to be a step in the right direction.

As I mentioned above, a ruling on today’s appeal by the owners is not expected for weeks. Knowing that, the Redskins have scheduled their next set of informal practices for the week after next.

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