After a fairly full day of talks in Washington, the NFL and the players’ union apparently have ended their negotiations at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Washington, presumably until tomorrow.
Albert Breer reports via Twitter that no one is talking as they leave the building. Former player Pete Kendall and NFLPA general counsel said “no comment” while leaving, as did NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith roughly 30 minutes later.
Breer hasn’t mentioned via Twitter whether any of the league representatives have exited. It could mean that mediator George H. Cohen opted to keep Commissioner Roger Goodell and company around for the purposes of talking to them about some of the issues that to date the parties have not been able to resolve.
A key threshold question relates to whether the league will share financial information to justify the effort to obtain a greater cut of the revenue pie.
Based on the people Breer saw going in, a fairly small group of folks showed up for the session, including Goodell, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, and outside counsel Bob Batterman for the league. For the union, Breer saw Smith, Berthelsen, Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, and former player Jim McFarland.
Breer didn’t mention seeing NFLPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler, a man who has been a divisive presence in past talks, and whom the league regards as the instigator of the union’s litigation-based strategies. If De Smith left Kessler out, and if in turn the league asked Panthers owner Jerry Richardson to stay home, it could be easier for the two sides to get past personalities and focus on progress.
It remains to be seen whether any details trickle out. The problem the union faces is that, as information is communicated to the NFLPA Executive Committee and the board of player representatives, the universe of potentially loose lips expands significantly.