BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Fighting to get back on the field. NFL players and owners face off in a courtroom over the lockout threatening next season.
Mark Viviano explains the players are pleading their case.
Will there be NFL this fall? The players and the owners are engaged in a bit of courtroom football.
Now as they kick their arguments back and forth in front of a judge, it appears to be the start of a long, legal process.
A handful of NFL players showed up in a federal court, looking to get back on the field. All players are currently out of work. The owners locked them out after a collective bargaining negotiation broke down last month.
Now the players are asking a judge to issue an injunction and end the lockout.
“Players are arguing that the lockout violates anti-trust laws,” said Jan Crawford, CBS legal correspondent. “That’s a very difficult argument to make but one that experts say the players may actually prevail on.”
Big stars like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady did not come to court but are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The owners have brought in high-profile attorney David Boies, who represented Al Gore during the 2000 presidential recount. He argues that the players walked away from negotiations too soon.
The owners want to get back to the bargaining table; the players want to go back to work.
Judge Susan Nelson’s rule in the case could play a role in any future negotiations.
NFL owners said they need a bigger chunk of the league’s $9 billion in profits for stadiums and other expenses.
“The stakes here are huge,” Crawford said. “Judge Nelson’s decision will give whichever side wins enormous bargaining power.”
Fans feel caught in the middle.
“Everyone’s afraid there’s not going to be a season come September,” said Randy Rose, Steelers fan.
“As a fan you feel frustrated, you feel upset, and you feel like your voice is not even being heard,” said Dre Burshaine, Seattle fan.
No matter what the judge rules, the decision will likely be appealed.
There is some business that can go on during this court process. The NFL Draft is coming up this month, and that will take place regardless of the status of the lockout.
Stay with WJZ for complete coverage of the NFL labor dispute. We will keep you updated on what happens.