A federal judge on Monday ended the NFL lockout by essentially ruling that the league's players union could decertify. The NFL will seek a stay, which means football could be in limbo for a month or more longer while the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals hears the NFL's appeal. But in the immediate, the ruling has an impact on NBA labor negotiations.
The players just got a big ol' boost.
Union officials asked players for permission to decertify during a team-by-team locker room tour this regular season. Players consented, leaving decertification on the table. If the NBA union decertifies, as the NFL union did, the league can no longer claim what could be termed immunity from antitrust laws. That makes a lockout tricky, obviously, given the leagues' standings as monopoly offerings.
In the NFL, the battle continues to play out in the courts. The NBA isn't there yet. David Stern and the players' union are still at the table, and will be until at least June 30, if not longer. That's why this is a win for NBA players. Had the judge ruled against NFL players, it would have removed the NBA union's decertification chip from the table. Instead, that chip is looking pretty darn strong.
Besides, you know Stern cringed when he read about the ruling. The players love to see Stern cringe, right?