The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday granted the NFL’s request for a temporary stay on an injunction that lifted an owner-imposed lockout on players. That means the lockout is back on, just a couple of days after a Minneapolis judge’s decision had lifted it. Now the appeals court will review briefs by players and the league and could rule on a full stay sometime next week. Whatever happens, it’s clear the labor strife handcuffing the league and its players is having an impact on fans. On Thursday, ESPN’s coverage of the always-popular NFL Draft drew 6 million total viewers, 1.3 million fewer than 2010’s edition, Bloomberg said. The rating for the telecast that covered the draft’s first round was a 4.4, a 17% dip. Even players are confused: During last night’s broadcast on Sirius XM’s NFL Network, the Minnesota Vikings newly drafted quarterback, Florida State’s Christian Ponder, said he was heading to camp Friday. He probably showed up just in time to see the padlocks click shut on the Vikings’ facilities.
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