Blog Entry

Score one for players

Posted on: April 11, 2011 5:43 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 6:00 pm

Score Monday's court decision an advantage for players.

NFL owners wanted mediation, but they wanted it back in Washington, D.C. with Federal Mediation and Conciliation Director George Cohen. Players did not, and guess which side got what it wanted? Players said they would go for a court-supervised mediation, and that's exactly what Judge Nelson ordered.

But let's be careful here. That doesn't mean this changes the landscape of the NFL lockout or that an end is coming soon. What it does mean is that players were granted their request -- simple as that -- and let's see how that goes.

Just because we have a court-supervised mediation doesn't mean we're closer to a settlement. On the contrary, until or unless we hear from Judge Nelson again I'm not sure much of anything changes. Remember, the last time these two sides went to mediation it produced 16 days of fruitless talks.

This time, of course, Cohen is not involved. Instead, it's Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan meeting with the two sides, and that's significant because he sits in Minneapolis and reports to Judge Nelson. If talks wander or stall or break down, he can always use the court's influence to push them again.

But tell me how this brings the two sides closer because I don't think it does. Having them negotiate again is good, but we saw what happened the last time a mediator was involved. Nevertheless, Judge Nelson is willing to give it another go -- albeit in another time and another place with a different set of ears.

What she did Monday was to tell players and owners to take their dispute out of the courts and back to the negotiating table. Nothing much was resolved when Cohen was involved, so maybe something happens now that the courts oversee the process, I don't know. But I can't imagine either side softened its stance in the last month, and I know from talking to representatives of both that each is prepared to dig in.

Plus, I remember when the 1982 NFL strike was mediated, and it took 57 days to gain an agreement. Big difference: That was a strike, not a lockout, and it was during the regular season, when there was a danger of losing a season and the playoffs. There is no urgency now, other than teams wanting to get to free agency prior to the draft, so Monday's decision doesn't exactly squeeze anyone.

But it might be a message that Judge Nelson is sympathetic to players. Might. For now, all she's done is told the two sides to get back to what they should have been doing all along -- which is negotating.  The order is hardly a surprise, especially in light of what she said at last week's court hearing.

Basically, it seemed she was telling both sides to settle their dispute between themselves, not in court. But she still might be heard on pending litigation. I would think if and when that happens her decision would be more significant than what we got Monday. And what did we get Monday? A judge who doesn't want the court immediately involved and who trusts the two sides to resolve their dispute through negotiation.

Look, let's be honest: There's going to be a settlement sometime, the only question is: When? Essentially, what Judge Nelson did is to say she trusts players and owners to work out their differences under court supervision. So she will give them that opportunity. And if that fails? Well, then, I imagine we'll hear from her again.

Category: NFL

Since: Oct 4, 2007
Posted on: April 12, 2011 12:57 pm

Score one for players

I don't think this will fly, but the fans should lockout the owners and players.  I would love to see networks have to institute blackouts due to lack of game sellouts.  Some inherited this wealth others were given it based on what the fans were willing to pay.  Some how I see this coming back at us to make-up for someone's loss.  Since there is a lockout, as far as I'm concerned I have lockout my spectatorship of the NFL for 2011.  The squabbling has nauseated me.  The players and owners are squabbling over money amounts that would last most fans a lifetime.  Whether I come back in 2012 is yet to be determined.  See you then.

Since: Dec 29, 2009
Posted on: April 12, 2011 3:25 am

Score one for players

I too am looking for no season.  My reasons are little different.  I'm a castrophonist.. I like when things are really really bad, like spic bad.  Volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and anything else that comes along that makes for some history and shakes things up.  I don't want a 2012, but I would like is some how at some point that prices cycle back down, so people who want to see the game with their family don't have to save more than 1 pay check.  I don't think that is toooooooo much to ask for, unless you're Apu.. lol.  Anyway.. I look forward to college football.. and who knows, maybe that alternative football league will get some play on the air?

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: April 11, 2011 10:07 pm

Score one for players

Who cares. Let them bitch until 2012. I am prepared for no season. I am actually hoping for no season. That will be the ony thing that will wake both sides up. 

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