Eden Prairie, MN (Sports Network) - The NFL lockout is back on, for now, after the league's motion for a temporary stay of the order lifting the lockout was granted Friday by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The players had won a pair of victories this week when a U.S. District Court judge ordered the lockout to be lifted on Monday, then denied a stay of her ruling on Wednesday, opening the door for the NFL to seek an appeal.
The league will await a further decision of the Eighth Circuit Court on whether or not to grant a permanent stay of Judge Susan Richard Nelson's ruling to lift the lockout.
The temporary stay was not granted unanimously. One of the three appeals judges involved in the decision, Kermit E. Bye, issued a dissenting opinion that argued the NFL's request for a temporary stay did not qualify on the level of an emergency.
Bye wrote there was "little practical need for granting an emergency stay in this non-emergency situation" when, he said, he expects the court will soon resolve the request for a permanent stay.
"The NFL is certainly not in the same emergency position as an immigrant about to be removed, or an individual about to be executed, who cannot so easily reverse the consequences of initially allowing a district court's order to take effect," Bye wrote.
The NFL had requested a stay because, it said, undertaking post-injunction operations -- basically, letting the players back in -- was "a complex process that requires time to coordinate."
Bye wrote that the league's argument was "severely undermined by the fact that the NFL had, within a day of the district court's order denying a stay, already planned post-injunction operations which would allow the players to have access to club and workout facilities, receive playbooks, meet with coaches, and so forth."
He was referring to a series of guidelines the NFL issued clubs in the wake of Nelson's rulings that governed what players and teams would be allowed to do beginning on Friday.
The lockout, of course, was instituted after discussions about a new collective bargaining agreement broke down last month. The players dissolved their union and filed the injunction request to lift the lockout, as well as an antitrust lawsuit against the league.
The sides have recently resumed court-ordered talks under a federal mediator, but won't meet again until May 16.