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NFL lockout hearing set for April 6

March 15, 2011 at 1:31 PM   |   Comments

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ST. PAUL, Minn., March 15 (UPI) -- Attorneys for NFL players will be in federal court in St. Paul, Minn., April 6 to try to convince a judge to lift the league's lockout, court officials say.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson will preside over the hearing on the NFL owners' lockout that went into effect Saturday, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The newspaper said Nelson will decide the matter rather than fellow Twin Cities federal Judge David S. Doty, who has handled NFL labor issues the past 18 years.

Contract negotiations between the two sides reached a stalemate last week. The players decertified their union Friday and brought an antitrust lawsuit against the owners.

The players are seeking a preliminary injunction that would mean a return to the work rules that had been in place last season until a new deal is worked out. Nelson's ruling can be appealed by either side.

The Post also reported U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, announced Monday he would introduce a bill that would remove the NFL's broadcast TV antitrust exemption.

"At a time when the economy is struggling and the NFL has chosen to lock out its players, it is particularly inappropriate to allow the league to benefit from a special antitrust exemption," Conyers said in a written statement. "The lockout has been estimated to take at least $5.1 billion out of local economies around the nation."

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