We've been waiting for the Eighth Circuit to rule on the NFL lockout but many figured that wouldn't come as the two sides continued to make progress in their own negotiations on a new labor agreement to end the NFL lockout.
Well, that was wrong. The decision from the Eighth Circuit is in and it favors the league ruling that the NFL lockout is legal.
The timing is very surprising because it could derail the negotiations between the owners and players. The two sides had reportedly been making progress on a new labor deal so we're hoping that this ruling doesn't disrupt the strides they've been making. Unfortunately, it very well could. Now that the league knows they can legally lock the players out, they may have gained some serious leverage.
The ruling went 2-1 with Judge Bye dissenting, as he did in the stay to keep the lockout in place over a month ago. The ruling itself -- going in favor of the NFL -- isn't unexpected. That's what many figured would happen. The surprise comes from the timing of the ruling as the owners and players are closer than they've ever been to coming to an agreement.
Let's hope the two sides continue negotiations and the league doesn't use the leverage they just gained.