It’s maddening to think that after nearly 70 days, we’re right back to where we started when it comes to the NFL labor dispute.

I don’t pretend to know everything that’s going on with the current lockout situation. Just like most fans, I try to stay up on what’s current by reading news stories, columns and tweets from so-called experts, but I feel like I should have a law degree in order to completely grasp what’s going on. I have to read NFL-themed content about 12 times nowadays in order to fully understand it (which isn’t completely surprising seeing as how I’m not that bright).

But by now everyone understands the basics. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that its temporary stay is now a full-blown, ironclad mega stay and the NFL lockout will resume. It was a major victory for the owners, who will likely win their appeal on June 3rd if the two sides can’t come to an agreement on a CBA before then.

In essence, we’re right back to where we started when the NFL officially locked its doors in mid-March. The owners want to stay out of court and are blaming the players for preferring litigation. The players continue to claim that they’re only interested in playing and the owners are the bad guys for preventing them and the fans from enjoying the game.

But what this really comes down to is a lack of communication. If that’s too simplistic a take on the topic, I apologize. But that’s what it comes down to, right? When the old CBA was still in place and a lockout was looming, all everyone kept saying was how the two sides would be better staying out of court and negotiating a new deal on their terms. Instead, the players had always planned on decertifying and taking their chances in litigation, and now we’re right back to square one. As previously mentioned, if the players continue to press on in court, they’ll probably lose and the lockout will continue uninterrupted (which means no free agency, no mini-camps and absolutely zero enjoyment whatsoever for fans). Thus, in the end, negotiation has always been the best policy.

Nothing has changed here, at least not really. The NFL and players need to negotiate a deal. It’s the same thing they had to do months ago before the court system got involved. Think about all the time that has been wasted and for what? I get it: labor disputes are nasty business. But what has changed here? After all this, the two sides still have to negotiate and as a fan, it’s nauseating to think that the best course of action has been right in front of the players and owners’ faces for months.It appears as if the 2011 NFL season is doomed unless these two sides can work out an agreement for a new CBA. What’s funny/ironic/makes-you-want-throw-up is that the same thing could have been written back in February and March before the lockout became official. Here’s hoping the two sides are done wasting everyone’s time and will actually come to an agreement when this latest round of mediation begins.