The order today by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson does not mean a ruling on the players’ injunction to stop the owners’ lockout is coming anytime soon. But U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan will meet with players tomorrow in Minneapolis and the league on Wednesday to get the lay of the land, then oversee formal talks beginning Thursday. The topic: a new collective bargaining agreement that would put an end to the month-long lockout and ensure there will be a next season. Players filed the injunction again the owner-imposed lockout after labor talks failed and the CBA expired March 11. The main issue remains how to divide $9 billion in annual league revenue, some of which comes from lucrative broadcast and cable TV contracts.
2ND UPDATE, 3:35 PM: A federal court said it could take weeks before it decides whether to grant an injunction sought by NFL players to stop a league-imposed lockout. That’s because the judge wants both sides to agree to federal mediation to help resolve an impasse in finalizing a new collective bargaining agreement, according to Bloomberg. “Both sides are at risk. This is a good time to come back to the table,” the judge said. “This is really a matter to be resolved, in my view, with the services of the federal court.” Today’s hearing in St. Paul lasted five hours.