The NFL lockout is technically over, at least for the time being. On Monday, Judge Susan Nelson granted an immediate injunction to the players, lifting the lockout and sending the labor negotiations into a gray area. Players were notified of the ruling by the NFLPA, which is now functioning as a trade organization, and told they were free to report to work at their team facilities. Though many are in a “wait and see” holding pattern, some did choose to show up at team headquarters, including a few Seattle Seahawks.
But when Seahawks receiver Deon Butler, running back Justin Forsett and others showed up at the VMAC on Tuesday, they were turned away. Though the parking lot was unlocked, they were unable to get into the building, and left shortly thereafter.
Butler — who is recovering from a broken leg suffered in December — was hoping to see a trainer. Instead, he and Lewis headed to the gym in Sammamish where the two have been rehabilitating.
It’s players like Butler that need access to team facilities the most. Those rehabbing football-related injuries have been unable to receive the care they need during the lockout. Yet even with the lockout technically lifted, the Seahawks didn’t extend the courtesy, joining the Buffalo Bills in denying access to team facilities.
There were teams allowing players in for limited activities, though weight rooms were typically locked for liability reasons, but completely denying access endangers the Seahawks of being in contempt of court. While the lockout is on hold, players should be allowed into the facilities, despite the gray area of legality.
Besides, it’s terrible public relations for Butler to show up and be turned away while recovering from his injury.