After Judge Susan Nelson sided with NFL players and granted an injunction lifting the lockout on Monday night, no one was really sure what it would mean for the NFL.
The owners were going to appeal the ruling and there are no rules in place governing the actual offseason business of signing or trading players, so no one expected anything too big to happen. At the same time, the teams were now legally barred from keeping their players from team headquarters for the first time since the end of the season.
It was all so confusing that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell turned in an op-ed to the Wall Street Journal that falsely accused the players of trying to get rid of the draft. There were several other shaky assertions in the piece as well, most of which made strong arguments against free markets in a paper known for its strong support of such things.
That led to one of the more surreal days we can think of in the history of the league. All around the country, players showed up to team headquarters and got the cold shoulder as team officials hid in their offices and workout rooms weren't opened to players.
For some of the Jets who showed up, that was just as well. Offensive linemen D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Brandon Moore both went to Florham Park and left almost immediately upon being told they couldn't actually use the facilities.
They expected as much, but showed up anyway so that they could have legal grounds to challenge any attempt by the team to withhold the workout bonuses written into their contracts. Why anyone associated with the NFL thinks this is the right way to handle things is a complete mystery as they will go to court on Wednesday to get a stay pending appeal to keep the lockout in place?
But, then, we still don't get why the owners decided to kill the golden goose and implement the lockout in the first place. You can't expect their subsequent decisions to make any sense.
So kudos to the Giants for going the other way with their players. Chris Canty showed up at the Giants facility and told reporters that he was allowed to workout while simultaneously getting in a dig at the Jets.
Much like John Mara's decision to not ask for season ticket money until after the lockout, this is being heralded as the sign of the Giants being a classy organization that does things the right way. We've got no big quarrel with that assessment and think the Giants made the right move in both cases.
Here's a question, though: If Mara and the Giants think so little of the other 31 teams that make up the rest of the NFL, why aren't they being a bit more vocal about trying to find an end to the lockout? It's easy to hide behind being part of unified effort when you are sucking up to fans at the same time, but far harder to actually take a stand against the misguided efforts of the NFL owners at this moment in time.
Of course, they may have just been practical. Canty is also due a workout bonus so perhaps the Giants figured they might as well actually get what they are going to eventually be paying for. Either way, Mara's sure to be unpopular with his peers when they next get together to make their case for taking a far larger share of the revenues than they've taken in past years of wild profits and staggering wealth.
We got a little taste of football on Tuesday, though, and we can be thankful for that when the owners make a move to take it away from us once again.