What effect did the 2011 labor dispute between NFL owners and players have on laws regarding labor unions?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The consensus among people who follow labor law as it relates to sports is that there was no dramatic change in labor law coming out of the NFL lockout of 2011.  Instead, the lockout was eventually ended through a compromise settlement that was negotiated between the players and the league just as is common in labor negotiations.

The lockout ended because both the owners and the players felt that it was in their best interests to play the season.  It was not ended by decisions made by judges.  The judge who first ruled on the lockout did say that it was illegal and issued an injunction against it, but that decision was quickly overturned on appeal.  Lawsuits were filed alleging antitrust violations on the part of the league, but these did not get adjudicated before the lockout ended.

As the espn.com link below says, the lockout produced no "path-breaking, precedent-shattering ideas" in labor law.  The legal decisions made in the lockout served mainly to force the two sides to go back to bargaining rather than relying on judges' decisions to destroy the other side.