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Clement insisted the Norris-LaGuardia Act bars court injunctions in cases arising from a labor dispute, which he maintained is in play, and said Nelson's decision runs afoul of it.
"Ultimately, collective bargaining is a much better way to resolve these disputes than antitrust litigation," Clement said.
Olson countered that the act, which dates to the Depression, didn't apply without organized labor activity -- and the players' union legally dissolved before the court fight, which includes a still pending federal antitrust lawsuit filed by 10 players, including Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
"The players are perfectly happy to be protected by antitrust laws," Olson said. He denied the decertification was a negotiating tactic, adding the players are barred from engaging in collective bargaining after their decision.
"They did every step necessary" to dissolve the union, Olson said. "They made a significant choice, which has significant effects under labor law."
Olson also argued his clients continue to be harmed financially by the lockout. Clement, asked by Bye about that issue, refused to concede Olson's claim and said "any evidentiary hearing before the court would bear that out" -- though he didn't think it necessary.
The two sides met for 16 days before talks fell apart. A federal magistrate has also held six days of mediation with the two sides, and he was on hand with them again during three days of discussions near Chicago.
Ernie Conwell, a former Rams and Saints tight end, said the players were at the negotiating table all those times but "didn't have a willing participant" in the NFL. And he scoffed at Clement's suggestion that players are enjoying more recreational time with the lockout.
"Come on," said Conwell, now a players' representative. "There is a lot of stress on these guys not knowing what the future holds for them. And the league understands that -- that's why the lockout is in place."
Brady said during halftime of a charity touch football game at Harvard that he's still hopeful that there will be a resolution soon, though he acknowledged that "nobody knows."
"Everyone is working hard toward a great outcome," the Patriots quarterback said. "And I'm confident that a lot of reasonable people will come to a very reasonable agreement."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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