DeMaurice Smith

And we're right back where we started from.

Remember when the NFL appealed U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson’s April ruling that the lockout was illegal back in June? Well, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis finally issued a ruling yesterday, siding with the NFL and throwing out Nelson’s decision.

What does that mean?

It means everyone wasted a bunch of time dicking around in the courts when they could have been negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. It means the current status quo remains and no football business will be conducted. It also means the court’s threat that neither side would like the outcome of their ruling was pretty much hollow.

Hooray for the NFL!

“While we respect the court’s decision, today’s ruling does not change our mutual recognition that this matter must be resolved through negotiation,” the league and NFLPA said in a joint statement. “We are committed to our current discussions and reaching a fair agreement that will benefit all parties for years to come, and allow for a full 2011 season.”

Far out.

Good thing you guys hardly bothered to do any negotiating until this month.

Negotiations took place throughout the week and may resume again on Monday. A deal is rumored to be close, but there is still reportedly much work to be done on the parameters of free agency.

One of the issues being debated is whether teams will be granted the right of first refusal on up to three of their own free agents.