Adversaries in the contentious pro football labor battle convened in a Federal Appeals Court in St. Louis on Friday.
The National Football League is appealing an April injunction from a Minnesota Judge that temporarily lifted the lockout.
The NFL Players Association is in the process of suing the league, claiming that the lockout in violation of federal anti-trust laws.
Paul Clement is an attorney for the NFL team owners; he told a three-judge panel that the issue before them is one for labor laws to decide.
“The fastest way to get football back on the field is to get extraneous anti-trust laws out of this and get back to the bargaining table here,” says Clement.
Ted Olson is the attorney representing the players. He says the NFL is already in violation of a binding contract agreement.
“The national football league canceled the collective bargaining agreement that they’d negotiated and then they unilaterally called a lockout, stopping football in its tracks. The players didn’t do that, the National Football League did that,” says Olson.
The three-judge panel took the arguments under advisement after previously issuing a 2-1 preliminary ruling that the lockout is legal.
Presiding Judge Kermit Bye said a decision would come soon, but that he wouldn’t object if players and owners reached a compromise in the interim.