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NFLPA Tells Players: '2011 League Year Now Has To Begin'

With Judge Susan Nelson denying the NFL's request for a stay on the NFL lockout, the NFLPA has sent a letter to all players indicating that the league year has begun. The immediate impact of this is that they believe things like free agency should start -- immediately.

Of course, it takes two to tango. NFL teams aren't required to sign free agents and the league has been operating as if the league year hasn't started yet.

In the letter sent to all NFL players, class counsel says the NFL is open for business.

Last night, Judge Nelson issued a 20 page decision denying the NFL's request to stay (delay) the injunction she issued on Monday in the Brady v. NFL litigation that the NFL must stop the lockout.  The decision denying the stay is once again very strong, and rejected all of the NFL's arguments.  Accordingly, the order ending the lockout is in full, immediate force.

The NFL has filed for an emergency stay with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, while the Eighth Circuit considers the NFL's stay request. Unless and until such a request is granted, however, we believe the 2011 League Year now has to begin; the Clubs must open their facilities to allow players to work out, meet with coaches and otherwise perform their jobs; and the NFL and the Clubs cannot collectively continue to refuse to deal with players.  It is our view that the NFL and the Clubs will be in contempt of court if they do not comply with the order unless and until they hear differently from the Eighth Circuit.  We will let you know later today what the NFL is going to do to comply with this order, and what the specific schedule will be going forward.

Your move, NFL.