On Wednesday, Judge Susan Richard Nelson denied the NFL's request for a stay on her ruling from earlier this week that brought the NFL lockout to an end. The ruling didn't immediately change the status quo, as the NFL will now seek a stay from the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The NFL wants a stay to be granted for the immediate future and while they file a larger appeal.
Right now the NFL owners seem to feel that they shouldn't have to do anything (i.e. open the league year) while they wait for a decision on their newest request for a stay. Players and agents, on the other hand, seem to think the league year should begin, which would start free agency and makes trades allowed. Considering the 2011 NFL Draft is set to begin later today, there could be a whole lot of chaos if the league year suddenly opens. Even if it doesn't there seems to be a recipe for chaos.
Here is what NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement released last night:
"We are filing tonight a request with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay of the preliminary injunction pending our appeal," Aiello said. "We believe there are strong legal and practical reasons that support a stay and that the Court of Appeals should have an opportunity to address the important legal issues that will be presented. We have asked the Court of Appeals to consider on an expedited basis both our request for a stay and the appeal itself. We are evaluating the District Court’s decision and will advise our clubs in the morning on how to proceed."
For now, free agency and trades are not ready to begin. That could change if the NFL decides to move forward in a different direction, though. How they tell teams to proceed will be very important for what happens this weekend and if it's just the draft we're focused on or if free agency is also beginning.