Tag:Mediation
Posted on: March 3, 2011 3:55 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 4:51 pm
 

Top QBs to be plaintiffs in any antitrust suit?

Posted by Will Brinson

So here's a fun twist to the crazy reports that are swinging the NFL labor mood on the final -- barring an extension -- day of the current CBA: if the union decertifies and files an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL owners (a very real possibility), then Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady are willing to play the role of lead plaintiffs.

This report is currently percolating around NFL circles -- Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated and Albert Breer of the NFL Network first reported it -- and it's pretty huge news.

Why? Well, think about any time you've ever seen a high-profile court case. You identify, whether you know it or not, with one of the sides. And the way you perceive the sides a lot of times depends on not just what you know about that side, but who is representing the respective interests.

Put a better way, when the words "players versus the owners" get thrown around, everyone immediately thinks "millionaires fighting with billionaires."

But if Manning, Brees and Brady -- three immensely popular and likable guys -- are suddenly against the owners, it changes the public perception completely.

The obvious counterargument to that point is that no one makes more money than that trio of quarterbacks. My response: except the owners.

Look, find someone who knows nothing about sports, and that person can probably still identify all three quarterbacks we're talking about.

They're not poor peasants toiling against "the man," but they are tremendously popular and likable celebrities with the benefit of having never engaged in any sort of behavior that gives the public any reason to hate them.

Outside of winning a bunch of Super Bowls anyway.

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 2:46 pm
 

Wednesday mediation goes 'better than expected'?

Posted by Will Brinson

Wednesday's mediation session between the NFL and the NFLPA -- which featured some bigger names than previous meetings -- has ended. And, reportedly, it wasn't THAT horrible apparently.

That's from a source of Sports Illustrated's Don Banks, who said that the talks went "better than expected."

Of course, that's a relative term, considering that less than 24 hours ago, the NFLPA was celebrating a tremendous victory in the TV rights case thanks to an overturned verdict from Judge David Doty.

Mediation is set to resume on Thursday (presumably the final day, because of the CBA's expiration at 11:59 PM EST on Thursday night) and the league has adjourned to Chantilly, Virginia for an owners meeting.

But as Clark Judge reports, the owners might not stay very long. (Read: not all of the owners, who were in mediation Wednesday, are planning to hang around for Thursday's action.)

That may not matter anyway though, because it's entirely possible, as our own Mike Freeman wrote earlier Wednesday, that a lockout and/or decertification is coming down the proverbial tracks, and there's nothing that can be done to stop it.

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 11:27 am
Edited on: March 2, 2011 11:34 am
 

Source: Decertification likely coming Thursday

Posted by Mike Freeman

Barring some sort of last-second miracle the NFL union will likely decertify sometime Thursday, according to a source familiar with the union's thinking.

Again, things could change but this news is the most concrete example of how fruitless the mediation talks have become. It's possible even if there is some sort of temporary extension of mediation the union will still likely decertify on Thursday.

So the lockout is coming. Decertification is coming. Unless the Easter Bunny works some magic with his chocolate candies and help from his unicorns and elves homies.

Decertification has certain risks but overall is a smart strategy for the union. It blocks owners from locking out players and moves the dispute from the realm of negotiations to the court system where players have had success. Owners could face lawsuits and treble damages if players are subsequently successful in court.

So that's where we are. For now. Hopefully things will change but this legal fight is just beginning.

This entry was cross-posted from Mike Freeman's FreeStyle blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 10:13 am
Edited on: March 2, 2011 2:39 pm
 

NFL/NFLPA exec committees in mediation Wednesday

Posted by Will Brinson

Wednesday's mediation session between the NFL and NFLPA has a different tone, just based on attendance -- the entire 10-man owner executive committee, including lead negotiators Jerry Richardson of the Panthers and Pat Bowlen of the Broncos, is in Washington.

Art Rooney of the Steelers, John Mara of the Giants, Jerry Jones of the Cowboys, Dean Spanos of the Chargers, Mike Brown from the Bengals, Robert Kraft from the Patriots and Mark Murphy, Packers CEO, are the additional members of the executive committee.

Also in Washington are players like Kevin Mawae, Drew Brees and Tony Richardson. All of that's to say that there's a significantly greater number of movers and shakers in D.C. for the next-to-last day of mediation.

Per usual, though, that doesn't necessarily mean much for those seeking optimistic news out of the mediated talks.

Per Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal, Jeff Pash, the VP of Labor for the NFL, told the media it was possible for the two sides to "stop the clock" on the expiring CBA and elect to extend the deadline for negotiations.

Pash also reiterated the league's statement that Tuesday's decision from Judge Doty doesn't affect their plans for spending at all (even though that's fairly difficult to believe, if only because $4 billion is a lot of money and taking it in or out of a budget typically makes a difference for anyone.)

But the end source for optimism for anyone rooting for no lockout is an extension of the CBA past the 11:59 deadline on Thursday night. And even that seems like too much to hope for right now.

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Posted on: March 1, 2011 2:44 pm
 

NFL, NFLPA resume mediations in Washington

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL and NFLPA resumed mediation in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday and this time around, there were a few more parties present.

Giants co-owner John Mara accompanied Roger Goodell's entourage into the session along with Falcons president Rich McKay (who's also the new head of the Competition Committee) and Redskins GM Bruce Allen.

Another difference: someone was willing to talk to the media! In this case, the NFL's lead negotiator and VP of labor, Jeff Pash.

"I don't think you could have a greater sense of urgency," said Jeff Pash, the league's lead labor negotiator. "We all know what the calendar is, and we all know what's at stake for everybody. And that's why we're here. We're going to be here as long as it takes and work as hard as we can work to get something done."

Whether something can get done remains to be seen -- there's not a tremendous sense of optimism surrounding the negotiations, particularly after the NFLPA's reported decision to decertify before the owners can lock the players out once the March 4 deadline for a new CBA occurs.

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Posted on: February 24, 2011 12:17 pm
 

CBA mediation adjourned, 'some progress was made'

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL and NFLPA vowed to meet in Washington, D.C. and mediate their differences for seven days. They've done just that and have now adjourned from the final day of negotiations with plans to resume the talks on Tuesday.

"Our time together has been devoted to establishing an atmosphere conducive to meaningful negotiations and, of course, matters of process and substance," Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George Cohen said in a statement. "I can report that throughout this extensive period the parties engaged in highly focused, constructive dialogue concerning a host of issues covering both economics and player-related conditions."

Cohen added that "some progress was made, but very strong differences remain on the all-important core issues that separate the parties."

Which is to say, all the problems involving the labor talks and impending lockout weren't solved.

But we knew that would happen -- and it confirms the report from CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman earlier Thursday that a lockout is still looming in full force.

Cohen's asked the two parties to "assess their current position on those outstanding issues" over the weekend in order to properly revisit them when the mediation resumes next week.

That probably won't be too difficult, as both sides are completely aware of where they stand with respect to the biggest issues.

Realizing where they stand isn't the hard part -- it's finding a middle ground. And while both parties are obviously at least attempting to find a method for that, there's not too much hope that can be gleaned from the first run at mediation.

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Posted on: February 23, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: February 23, 2011 11:59 am
 

NFL calls for Thursday meeting of GMs, coaches

Posted by Will Brinson

A Thursday meeting of agents and the NFLPA was recently cancelled because of mediation talks in Washington, D.C., but that didn't stop the NFL from calling a meeting of general managers and coaches for Thursday in Indianapolis.

Presumably, the NFL wants to sit down with high-ranking members of its various teams and discuss precisely what's going on with the league as the deadline for a new CBA nears.

And, according to what NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Albert Breer of the NFL Network, there's "nothing special" about this little powwow.

"It happens every year," Aiello said. "It's a normal part of the Combine, which always has meetings galore. It's not the first time. It's not a special meeting. An update on labor negotiations would be appropriate."

Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, the NFL will also detail to those in attendance what sort of activities will be allowed during a locked-out offseason, and what kind of contact will be allowed between agents and teams during that time as well.

And these are things that teams need to know, regardless of whether the NFL and NFLPA are making progress in their seven-day mediation or not. The question as to why the NFLPA cancelled its Thursday meeting can best be answered by a series of tweets from spokesman George Atallah Tuesday, when he mentioned that the "tiny minority of agents who click "FWD" on an email to the media faster than [Chris Johnson] can run the 40 is not helpful." In other words, the NFLPA didn't want to meet with a slew of agents on Thursday and have some news of the meeting -- which would likely include details of the mediation process -- leak to the media.

It's much less likely that a hand-picked group of coaches and GMs would let spill to the various members of the press the happenings of that meeting (they have much less to gain by doing so), and the NFL's got a clear-cut opportunity to sit down with folks that need to know the information in the form of the Combine. So, nothing to see here. Yet.

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Posted on: February 18, 2011 8:01 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2011 8:02 pm
 

NFL, NFLPA full of 'no comments' after mediation

Posted by Will Brinson

The first full day of mediation between the NFL and the NFLPA has ended, and true to their earlier claim, there wasn't any talking about what went on with behind close doors.

Via Albert Breer of the NFL Network -- who, bless him, loitered his tail off in the nation's capitol waiting for the two sides to end Friday's session -- neither side had much to say following the session on Friday. To wit:

Pete Kendall of the NFLPA: "We're not gonna get into it."

Charlie Batch, NFLPA rep: "Can't say anything."

Richard Berthlesen of the NFLPA: "Can't comment on it."

DeMaurice Smith also "declined comment on his way out" while Roger Goodell and the NFL officials "slipped out the back door."

So, yeah, mum's the word after the first day of mediation, and that's probably a good thing. Eventually, some info will probably slip out vis-a-vis anonymous sources (though with both sides ordered not to say anything, there's a lot less likely to be a chance of "leaked" info), but it's probably safe to say that Friday wasn't precisely full of heavy negotiating.

Everyone involved in the mediation knows there's a long way to go before anything gets remotely solved, but the simple fact that no one's enraged by any early face-to-face action and/or proposals through one day of this process is at least a positive sign.

That won't solve the CBA crisis right away, but it's at least reason for some cautious optimism.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com