Even though it will be three weeks before a federal appeals court will hear the NFL's argument for keeping the lockout in place, several other league issues are percolating in the background.
In preparation for a June 3 hearing on the lockout by the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, the NFL filed its argument Monday in which it said lifting the lockout, as District Judge Susan Richard Nelson has ordered, would thrust the league into chaos. With no labor deal in place, the league said, forcing the league to restart football operations would mean teams would have to sign free agents and make trades under a set of rules that could change drastically once a permanent deal is put in place.
The league argued that Nelson, in lifting the lockout, "failed entirely to consider the serious, immediate and irreparable harm the injunction posed to the NFL" while she "vastly overstated both the harm to the [players] and the nature of that harm."
The 8th Circuit issued a temporary stay of Nelson's order keeping the lockout in place for the time being.
Meanwhile, owners and players are awaiting a ruling as early as this week from U.S. District Judge David Doty on the damages in the so-called lockout insurance case. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday, although it's not known whether he will rule immediately on what should be done.