A federal judge today ordered an end to the NFL lockout, giving the players an early victory in their fight with the owners over how to divide the $9 billion business. US District Judge Susan Richard Nelson said she was swayed by the players' argument "that allowing the League to continue their 'lockout' is presently inflicting, and will continue to inflict, irreparable harm upon them, particularly when weighed against the lack of any real injury that would be imposed on the NFL by issuing the preliminary injunction."
The NFL promised an immediate appeal. "We will promptly seek a stay from Judge Nelson pending an expedited appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals," the league said. "We believe that federal law bars injunctions in labor disputes. But we also believe that this dispute will inevitably end with a collective bargaining agreement, which would be in the best interests of players, clubs and fans. We can reach a fair agreement only if we continue negotiations toward that goal." (Read more NFL stories.)