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The lockout has officially begun

NFL Lockout Looms As Negotiations Reach Final Day

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talks with the media outside the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFLPA has filed for decertification and will no longer be the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the players. Players will now be able to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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For the first time since 1987, the National League Football has officially entered a work stoppage.

It came with a whimper.

As of 12:33 a.m. ET, the league hasn’t released a statement on the matter. (The collective bargaining agreement ran out at midnight.) NFL Network did announce on air, however, that the owners have imposed a lockout on the players, and also has a story on it.

The Associated Press also confirmed the move and teams received an email notifying them a lockout was imposed.

The start of the lockout will set off a number of legal maneuvers. The players have gone to court in an effort to block the lockout.

They have filed an antitrust lawsuit -- officially known as Brady et al vs. National Football League et al. The owners are expected to try to prove that the NFLPA’s decertification is a sham. That argument could have problems.

All of the legal wrangling above is not something the average NFL fan (and writer) will fully understand. Nor should they have to. Florio will break it all down on PFT in the coming days and weeks for us to digest.

We knew this day was likely coming, yet it’s still unsettling for anyone that loves the game. And you don’t need a law degree to understand the emotional implications.

The issue of trust continues to be thrown around. The players and ownership talk about the trust necessary for them to come to an agreement. They clearly don’t trust each other very much right now.

Both sides need to understand they risk losing the trust of a loyal, rabid fanbase. You can’t file a lawsuit to get that back.