At midnight Thursday, the labor agreement between the NFL and the players’ union will expire. And so the two sides will be meeting around the clock until then, right?
Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that mediation resumes Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. in D.C. It will break only a couple of hours later, between noon and 1:00 p.m. for an ownership meeting that begins at 3:00 p.m. in Chantilly, Virginia, 25 miles away.
So why bother to even have a mediation session?
Breer reports that mediation possibly will resume after the ownership meeting, but we won’t hold our breath. The day after an adverse court ruling (Judge David Doty ruled that the league violated the CBA by incorporating “lockout insurance” into its TV deals) typically features defiance, not conciliation. The best move by both sides would be to agree to stop the clock on the expiration of the deal for at least a week, and then to commit to constant talks aimed at resolving the labor dispute after the league has had a full and fair chance to migrate through the five stages of grief.
Though the league predictably will continue to downplay the “lockout insurance” outcome, the reality is that the league specifically beefed up network contracts to ensure that significant revenues would continue to flow into the owners’ pockets during a work stoppage. That strategy now has been blocked, and both sides need to adjust accordingly.