The National Football League won a victory on Jan. 7, when the U. S. Supreme Court refused to hear a suit against NFL rules that restrict player free agency. But the move doesn't end the owners' legal woes.

The NFL Players Assn. had appealed a 1989 ruling by a lower court, which said that the rules don't violate antitrust law as long as "the labor relationship" exists between the union and the owners. After the earlier ruling, the union stopped bargaining for players and filed other suits against the NFL that are unaffected by the Supreme Court decision. Legal experts say that at some point, the courts will rule that the relationship has ended. The NFL could then be found in violation of antitrust law.

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