MIAMI ( – Miami Dolphins fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the team are out of luck for the foreseeable future. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the lockout would stay in place and the league would likely win any appeal of a decision against it in district court.

In essence, the Eighth Circuit just cut the players legs out from under them and now the league has the ability to squeeze everything it wants out of the players. Now, the NFL has to walk a fine line still of squeezing the players, while not doing it too hard so as to anger the court.

Now, the NFLPA has to decide how far it wants to push the issue. There’s simply no chance of them winning in the courts, and the easiest thing to do may be to cut the best deal it can right now and take the ball out of the courts.

But, with NFLPA executive director getting his job by essentially being ready to engage in an all-out flame war against the NFL, don’t expect that to happen anytime soon, as evidenced by his comments on Monday.

“It’s a disappointment, obviously, that as far as we can tell, this is the first sports league in history who sued to not plays its game. Congratulations,” Smith said.

The fact that Smith’s statement is riddled with inaccuracies could underscore the problems the NFLPA has had in trying to win the issue. The NFL sought to impose its financial will on the players in a labor deal. The players decertified and filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league to block the lockout.

So, if Smith is supposed to be the head of the NFLPA, and can’t get the basic facts of the case right, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the NFLPA is in trouble of losing major financial gains to the league.

There were also conflicting reports Monday about a possible breakthrough in negotiations that are currently taking place in mediated talks. The NFL has made a new collective bargaining agreement proposal to the NFLPA.

Whether or not the NFLPA could swallow the new CBA or not is unknown, but given that the NFLPA is essentially in disarray right now without a winnable strategy, it may be getting close to time to cut bait and run.

Still, the biggest losers in the entire 67 days and counting lockout isn’t the NFL or the players, it’s the fans and team staff members who have nothing to do with the dispute. For the fans, it’s tarnishing the game that is the most popular sport in the country. For team staff members, it’s lost money while billionaires and millionaires fight over who gets more money.

All the while, neither the billionaires or millionaires seem to grasp the fact that if they let this lockout dispute go on past June, they run the serious risk of alienating fans to a degree that they may see a lot more lost revenue than either side could have imagined.


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