ST. PAUL, Minn. (CBS4) — There’s hope for football fans as NFL players and owners take their lockout fight to a federal courtroom.
Representatives from both sides arrived at a federal courthouse in St. Paul on Wednesday morning. A group of current and former players is asking a judge to issue a preliminary injunction on the lockout the owners imposed after talks on a new collective bargaining agreement broke off three weeks ago.
The judge could make the decision as early as Wednesday.
Several players are in attendance including named plaintiffs Mike Vrabel, Vincent Jackson, Von Miller and Brian Robison. Veterans Tony Richardson and Charlie Batch and retired Hall of Famer Carl Eller are in court as well.
If the court rules in favor of a preliminary injunction, the NFL likely will appeal.
If the judge rejects the motion from the players, the lockout continues.
Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and seven other players have filed a lawsuit on behalf of other current and eligible NFL players against the league to halt the lockout, which could affect the start of the 2011-12 season scheduled for September 8.
The players also want a future trial to determine if the NFL lockout is in violation of federal antitrust laws.
If the players are locked out from playing in September, it would be the first NFL work stoppage since 1987.
The heart of the issue between the players and the owners is how to divide the league’s $9 billion in revenue.
Right now, NFL owners take $1 billion off the top of that revenue stream. After that, the players get about 60%.
The owners say that the current labor deal doesn’t take into account the rising costs related to building stadiums and promoting the game. The players argue that the league has not sufficiently opened up its books to prove this.
In addition, the owners also want to increase the season by two games, which some players are against because of the risk of injuries.
While star players earn millions of dollars each year, the median NFL salary is $790,000 and the average career lasts about four years.
A lockout also impacts the league’s employees: the receptionists, ticket salespeople and stadium workers.
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