Players and owners viewing second round of mediation as a ruse?

The home of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers is shown in San Diego, California at Qualcomm Stadium March 15, 2011. The antitrust suit filed by NFL players against the league will be heard on April 6 in a federal court in Minnesota, according to court documents released on Monday. The hearing is to be heard by Judge Susan Nelson with the players asking for an injunction against the lockout declared by the NFL on Saturday. REUTERS/Mike Blake(UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Remember the report about how a new CBA could be in place by the time of the NFL draft? Well apparently fans can forget about that.

Just days after NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported that the CBA discusses were getting “serious,” CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman refutes Breer’s claims and labeled the current talks a “ruse.” After speaking with sources on both sides, Freeman believes this second round of mediation is just a “song and dance, ritualistic, done to satisfy Judge Susan Nelson.”

Great. Happy Monday, NFL Fans! There’s still no hope that there will be a season next year!

One thing that I found perplexing about Breer’s report is that he said the two sides were serious about this round of mediation, yet they weren’t going to meet over the weekend. If the players and owners were taking mediation seriously, wouldn’t they want to exhaust their time together by trying to iron out their issues over the weekend? After all, there’s no season next year. It’s not like the owners and players had something more important to take care of last weekend that they couldn’t continue mediation. I get that these people also have lives but if they were taking it seriously and if they were getting somewhere in talks, why halt the discussion?

If you want to remain optimistic about the situation, then sink your hope into Breer’s report. But if you want to be realistic, then Freeman’s story makes more sense. The players are still confident that Judge Nelson will rule in their favor, while the owners believe that they can reverse her decision on appeal. Freeman is probably right in that we’re right back to where we started when the owners locked the players out in March: Nowhere.

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