The arguments came before a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals whose two earlier 2-1 decisions have sided with the league and upheld the lockout.
Judges Steven Colloton and Duane Benton wrote for the majority then that "the league has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits." Bye dissented both times, favoring the players.
Colloton and Benton - appointed by Republican President George W. Bush - were outspoken Friday, peppering Olson and Clement with requests to elaborate on legal points and precedents. Bye, an appointee of President Clinton, a Democrat, offered the opening welcome to the crowded gallery, but remained mostly quiet.
Clement (NFL lawyer) insisted the Norris-LaGuardia Act bars court injunctions in cases arising from a labor dispute, which he maintained was in play here. He said Nelson's decision ran afoul of that statute.
"Ultimately, collective bargaining is a much better way to resolve these disputes than antitrust litigation," Clement said.