St. Paul federal judge Susan Nelson rules to end NFL lockout

A federal judge in St. Paul has agreed with NFL players and ruled to stop a lock-out imposed by team owners.

In the decision released this afternoon, Judge Susan Richard Nelson agreed with football superstars such as Tom Brady and Drew Brees that the lock-out should cease.

"The Brady Plaintiffs have made a strong showing that allowing the League to continue their 'lockout' is presently inflicting, and will continue to inflict, irreparable harm upon them," she wrote.

Labor negotiations fell apart between players and team owners on March 11. The meat of the dispute is over $9 billion in revenue -- owners take $1 billion, and players split about 60 percent of what's left amongst themselves under the current agreement.

The players, naturally, want a bigger slice of the pie; the owners say they're bearing the brunt of new stadium construction. Unable to see eye-to-eye, the owners imposed the so-called lock-out, shutting down all operations and threatening the start of the 2011 football season.

Today marked a victory for players, when Nelson granted an injunction to end the lock-out.

"The Brady Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction is GRANTED," the order reads. "The lock-out is enjoined."

The NFL will ask Nelson tomorrow to keep the lock-out in place until they can appeal her decision to the Eighth District Court. If she denies the request, the owners could be forced to return to business as usual in a matter of days. Practices and work-out that are currently barred by the lock-out would resume.

That's not necessarily a big reason to celebrate for football fans. No matter what, the NFL is going to appeal, and if the lock-out is reinstated, no one will be ready for some football come the September 8 season start-date.

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