Curran: NFL better open its doors

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Curran: NFL better open its doors

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com
For two days, the NFL has played (to borrow a phrase from Frank Curran) Mickey The Dunce. They pretended they didn't know what Judge Susan Nelson meant when she told them to end their lockout of the players. "She doesn't mean 'now,' does she?" seemed to be the owners' approach. "Let's do nothing and see if she changes her mind. Maybe she'll allow us to keep them locked out while we appeal her ruling to lift the lockout."Well, Wednesday night, Nelson told them again that "lift the lockout" means "lift the lockout." While the players' antitrust case against the NFL proceeds, the players must be allowed to work, says Nelson. Now we'll see if the NFL tries again to play dumb and refuses to let the players work while they appeal to the 8th Circuit Court. Most people processing Wednesday night's clarifcation by Nelson figure that's exactly what the NFL will do. But everyone has to remember there is a case pending here. Brady vs. The NFLhasn'teven gotten underway in earnest. The only thing Nelson has told the owners is the players have a "fair chance of winning the case" and that the players' interests are being irreparably harmed. So how do you thinkNelson and any other robe-wearer will regard the NFL if they again refuse to follow a court order? How much will the damages be then? How will courts look on the damages they'll assess to the NFL over the lockout insurance case? How hard will it be for the NFL to argue its case to Judge Nelson? If any team pulls what the Browns did Tuesday and refuses to let players enter the facility, bad idea. If the cell phones of select free agents don't ring at all now that they are officially free, we'll hear the word "collusion."This isn't about who's right and who's wrong in the labor squabble. This is about how arrogant and shortsighted the NFL might be in ignoring a court order. Or trying to. And what the fallout will be. Does this mean free agency starts now? And offseason workouts and coach-player contact? Ummm, yeah. And if the owners decides to keep players out after Wednesday night's development, they will cost themselves a few billion more than they stand to lose already. Tom E. Curran canbe reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

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