When the NFL owners imposed a lockout after negations with the NFL Players Association failed, the union immediately took the matter to court. They decertified the union and sued the NFL for a variety of mean and evil things such as unfair labor practices and and anti-trust violation. Judge Susan Nelson heard a hearing on the case a few weeks ago and is rumored to be making her first ruling early this week.
There's been some speculation that Judge Nelson could not only lift the lockout but that her ruling could interfere with Thursday's NFL Draft. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answered questions about this and a variety of other topics in a Q&A posted on the league's web site.
In his response, Goodell feels that the ruling won't impact the draft but he certainly isn't certain about that.
"I don't believe so but let's wait for the ruling. The Draft is not at issue here with respect to the things that are on her schedule and in her decision. Let's respect the judge's position to be able to make her ruling. We'll adjust from there," Goodell said about the possibility of the ruling affecting the draft.
And of course since this is an opportunity for Goodell to speak publicly, he both denounced the rhetoric surrounding the negotiations and then flung some mud himself.
"When you get back and you look at this, what is being pursued by the union attorneys is a completely different vision for the NFL than what I have. They are challenging fundamental aspects that have made the league successful and popular with the fans. They are going after the Draft, as an example. They are pursuing the Draft as being illegal. They are pursuing free-agency restrictions as being illegal. They are pursuing aspects of the salary cap as illegal...The union attorneys are attacking everything we think has made the league successful."
Well done, Roger. Way to keep things civil.