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,”’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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Mediation between owners and players to begin on Thursday

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (R) and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch (C) arrive for labor negotiations between NFL players and owners with federal mediation in Washington on March 3, 2011. The current collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight tonight and a lockout is possible but not definite if none is reached. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg.

Judge Susan Nelson has ordered mediation between the players and owners to begin in Minneapolis on Thursday according to Judy Battista of the New York Times. Judge Arthur Boylan will apparently be the mediator.

The owners wanted mediation to resume under George Cohen, while the players wanted it to take place in federal court. Thus, Judge Nelson’s decision to have mediation begin under Judge Boylan is yet another victory for the players in the current CBA battle.

As points out, Peter King predicted on PFT Live on Monday morning that no Collective Bargaining Agreement will be reached soon. King expects a lockout injunction, which means there will be a football season next year but without a CBA (meaning 2011 will be an uncapped year, just as it was in 2010).

At this point, I would have to agree with King’s assessment of the situation in that there won’t be a CBA deal reached soon. The owners appear to be stalling so that the lockout goes into August or September where they can apply the most pressure financially. I’m sure the owners are thinking that if they can get into August or September, the players may start to press or turn against each other when they’re not collecting game checks every week. It’s not a bad strategy on their part, although fans will continue to suffer the longer the lockout goes on.

Hopefully this forced mediation will help, but it appears that we still have a long ways to go before the two sides come to an agreement.

Judge to impose forced mediation on owners and players?

David Boies, attorney for the National Football League (at microphone podium), speaks to the media after attending a federal court hearing regarding labor negotiations between the NFL and the NFL Players Association in St. Paul, April 6, 2011. Right of Boies is attorney Gregg Levy. REUTERS/Eric Miller (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL CRIME LAW BUSINESS)

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter via Twitter, Judge Susan Nelson told owners and players that she will impose “forced” mediation” early this week.


The NFL desperately wants mediation of a collective bargaining agreement under George Cohen while the NFLPA prefers mediation of their antitrust lawsuit under Nelson’s supervision. Nelson has hinted that she will side with the players, though there is a chance that she will defer to Cohen’s several-week head start on negotiations. Sources on both sides tell’s Mike Freeman that this round of mediation “might lead to a deal.” Let’s hope so.

Let’s. The best way for these two sides to come to an agreement that works for everybody is if they talk. Leaving it up to the court system is a bad idea because I would have to imagine that one side would walk away a clear winner and the other a clear loser. Granted, there needs to be compromise on both sides but leaving the lines of communication open would seemingly make the most sense.

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