The NFLPA* may have no intention of negotiating before the April 6 court date on the players’ motion to end the owners’ lockout. But the owners say they’re ready to negotiate, right now.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked by Rich Eisen on NFL Network how soon he’d be ready to return to mediated talks if the players indicated that they were willing. Goodell said he’d be ready right now.
“Rich, with all due respect, I couldn’t get off this show fast enough to get to the mediation,” Goodell said. “We didn’t push away from the table. We were still at the table when they walked out of mediation. So for us to get back to mediation? You call me, I’ll be there. It’s a decision the mediator would have to make, but we would certainly be there, and I expect we will be there.”
Goodell’s comments continue what has been the owners’ essential P.R. message: They want to sit down and talk to see if they can settle things themselves, while the players are refusing to talk and prefer to let lawyers and judges settle things.
“There’s unfortunately been very limited contact,” Goodell said. “That litigation strategy is ongoing. That will have to play out for the next couple weeks, but I’ve said repeatedly that this will come back to negotiations and the sooner that happens, the sooner we’ll all get this resolved.”
Eisen said after his interview with Goodell that NFL Network reached out to the NFLPA* offering equal time for someone on the players’ side, and that the NFLPA* never got back to them. The players may have decided that while the owners are locking them out, they’re not going to cooperate with the owners’ television network.