April 26, 2011
Because Judge Nelson said they could, a lot of players around the National Football League are showing up to work this morning.
What they're doing when they get there, I couldn't tell you. No one thought to make a plan for that. I imagine it's a lot like one of those days at school where something weird happens, like, I don't know, a gas leak or an rabid opossum loose in the building, and then the teachers decide to just throw all the kids in the gymnasium where they'll play tic-tac-toe all day because no one has any idea what to do with them.
Charlie Batch and Ryan Clark showed up to Steelers team facilities and found the doors still locked, but were eventually let in. A couple of Redskins showed up for work, too, and were allowed in the building, but then left after a few minutes. A handful of Jets showed up to team facilities, but were told they wouldn't have access to the weight room or other training facilities.
"Oh, most definitely," he said. "I made every opportunity to avail myself to work out. But at this time I wasn't afforded that opportunity."
The players got an e-mail from the NFL Players Association last night, telling them they had a legal right to show up for work.
"Be advised any player going to work tomorrow is doing so under the ruling that Judge Nelson rendered today," the e-mail read. "Judge Nelson's court order prevents the clubs from locking out players under contract, so they can show up for work. Unless and until the judge issues an order for a stay (delay of the injunction), the teams will be in violation of Judge Nelson's order if they don't allow access."
So if a player, like Ferguson, was scheduled to receive a workout bonus this offseason, it would behoove him to get to team facilities, so if it comes up later, no one can withhold a bonus by saying, "Hey, we were open for business, but you weren't here."
The NFL is trying to get a stay on the decision, but they don't have it yet, and from what I can tell, we won't know if they'll get that for at least a day.
It's still hard to tell what will happen, what anything means, or when football will be truly be back in business. It's open for today, though, so ... yay?
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