DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFLPA. (Getty Images)

ESPN is reporting that seven weeks into the NFL lockout, players have an early triumph over the owners in court. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ordered an immediate end to the lockout Monday, siding with the players in their bitter fight with the owners over how to divide the $9 billion business.

Owners imposed the lockout after talks broke down March 11 and the players disbanded their union. A group of players filed the injunction request along with a class-action antitrust lawsuit against the league.

The fate of the 2011 season remains in limbo: The NFL responded by filing a notice of appeal questioning whether Nelson exceeded her jurisdiction, seeking relief from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. Hours later, the league filed a motion for an expedited stay, meaning that it wants Nelson to freeze her ruling to let the appeals process play out.

What happens next is up in the air. Players may very well show up at team facilities on Tuesday, and it appears that they'll be allowed to enter the building, if they so choose. The players' organization — now a trade association and not a union — emailed players late Monday night, advising them that they are legally entitled to show up at team facilities Tuesday and that teams are not allowed to block their access.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Read more at ESPN.

In other news: Stabbing at National Zoo on African-American Family Day.

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