June 3rd is finally here and that means the players and the owners will be back in court for the long-awaited appeal hearing with the 8th Circuit Court in St. Louis.
We know that LB Mike Vrabel has been heavily involved in the players’ cause throughout the process, but now it appears his protegee Andy Studebaker is also getting involved.
According to fox2now.com, Studebaker is one of about 30 NFL players present for the hearing.
Today’s hearing concerns the ruling handed down by Judge Susan Nelson requiring the NFL to lift the lockout. The NFL immediately appealed Nelson’s ruling and were grated a stay, pending appeal, from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Today each side will get the chance to present their case and the court, which consists of a panel of three judges, will decide whether or not to uphold or overturn Nelson’s ruling. The losing side could further appeal and request a ruling from the entire panel of judges from the 8th Circuit or they could petition the Supreme Court. While possible, both of these scenarios seem unlikely. The feeling from most of the experts I’ve read seems to be that the entire 8th Circuit panel would be unlikely to overturn any decision made by their fellow judges. As for the other option, even if the Supreme Court decided to hear the case, which some believe is unlikely, the process could take some time, likely ending any chance of a 2011 season. Though both sides really want to win this thing, I don’t think any of them want to miss the whole season.
How long the 8th Circuit will take to rule remains to be seen. They could theoretically rule today if they like, though I wouldn’t count on it. I’ve seen projections for a ruling as short as a few days and as long as three weeks.
Whichever side loses is going to be in a real bind. I think the best thing for both parties will be to wrap things up as quickly as possible once the ruling is handed down, with the winning side showing some compassion and the losing side understanding it’s beat.
Who knows. Maybe we’ll have a late June free agency and training camp will go off on time. Here’s hoping.