In the nine days since talks between the NFL and the players’ union collapsed, various conflicting reports and statements have emerged regarding the resumption of negotiations.
The owners have made it clear that they want to continue talks immediately. The players have sent more mixed signals than a broken CB radio. (We say that with full appreciation that 72.75 percent of the audience has no idea what a CB radio is.)
On Saturday, the players spelled out the protocol for resuming talks in a letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell: “As you know, the players are represented by class counsel in the Brady litigation, with the NFLPA and its Executive Committee serving as an advisor to any such settlement discussions. If you have any desire to discuss a settlement of the issues in that case, you should contact Class Counsel.”
A day later, Giants co-owner John Mara told reporters gathered in New Orleans for the league meetings that it’s his understanding the players are waiting until April 6, the date of a court hearing on the motion to lift the lockout, to continue discussions. Mara said he wants to continue talking now.
But there should be no ambiguity. The players have invited the NFL to contact the lawyers representing the class action. They are Barbara Berens and Justi Rae Miller of Berens & Miller in Minneapolis, Timothy Thornton of Briggs & Morgan, James Quinn and Bruce Meyer of Weil, Gotsha & Manges or New York, and Jeffrey Kessler, David Feher, and David Greenspan of Dewey & LeBoeuf in New York. That’s eight different lawyers whom the NFL can call in order to get this process started. Their phone numbers are at the bottom of the complaint.
Once the lawyers are contacted, the NFLPA* will be involved in the discussions in an advisory role.
So if John Mara truly wants to get talks rolling, John Mara needs only to tell someone to pick up the phone and call. It can’t get any simpler than that.
We’re not sure why it’s gotten so complicated, unless the owners don’t actually want to negotiate.