Now that the parties have driven their car into the abyss of uncertainty, one side continues to press the pedal to the metal.
With a 23-day window before Judge Susan Nelson takes up the players’ motion for preliminary injunction in the Brady antitrust lawsuit, an NFLPA* source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN that there’s “no chance” negotiations will occur between now and April 6.
With all due respect to Schefter and his source, Schefter’s source is an idiot.
If Judge Nelson or Judge Doty (who still has jurisdiction over two major disputes between the league and the players) order the two sides into mediation, there will be negotiations. And Schefter’s report makes us even more convinced that mediation should be ordered by one or both of the judges presiding over Litigeddon.
Frankly, the flat refusal to negotiate during the next three-plus weeks tends to confirm the league’s belief that the players aren’t being reasonable. Likewise, it tends to confirm our concern that the players are overplaying their hand after winning the “lockout insurance” case. And it will do nothing to persuade fans that the owners, not the players, bear the bulk of the blame.
Here’s the reality. As sports lawyer David Cornwell explained during Monday’s PFT Live, the league can make persuasive arguments against a preliminary injunction based on the impact of the “sham” argument on the players’ ability to prove that they have a strong likelihood of success on the merits, one of the key factors to assess when deciding to issue a preliminary injunction. If, in the end, Judge Nelson decides not to grant the motion for preliminary injunction, the lockout will continue — and the league will gain even more leverage.
Bottom line? The position taken by Schefter’s source proves that the source has no interest in trying to work out a fair and reasonable deal, and whoever the source was should be removed from any position of influence over the players’ interests. It remains in the best interests of the players and the league to try to work out an objectively fair deal. A 23-day window for doing so is now open. Cardinals kicker Jay Feely said earlier today that the two sides are close. Why categorically rule out the possibility of talking?
If no talks occur and the motion for preliminary injunction is denied, Schefter’s source surely will regret taking that position.
Hopefully, Schefter’s source has no real power over the decisions made on behalf of the 1,900 men whose interests are being represented by the class action.