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Players will formally ask league to return to mediation

Antitrust Hearings Against NFL Owners Begins Getty Images

During Wednesday’s hearing on the question of whether the lockout should be lifted while the Brady antitrust lawsuit continues, Judge Susan Nelson encouraged the parties to return to mediation.  A day later, the players will officially ask the league to continue talks.

Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal reports that the players will be sending on Thursday a letter asking the NFL to submit to mediation under the supervision of the federal court.

The league has made clear, most recently through attorney David Boies (pictured, and again flanked by Elwood Blues) its lack of interest in negotiations aimed at settling the lawsuit.  Thus, it’s likely that the NFL will simply reject the players’ offer — or possibly respond with a letter inviting the players to return to collective bargaining.

The NFL presumably doesn’t want to negotiate a settlement of the Brady case because the NFL doesn’t want to have a federal judge supervising the next labor deal.  If that’s the case, the NFL should respond by articulating that concern.  And then the two sides can try to come to an agreement on that point.

And then that agreement can be used as momentum toward reaching another agreement.  And another.  And another.  Until perhaps they resolve all their differences.

Yeah, right.

But at least we can dream a little.

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28 Responses to “Players will formally ask league to return to mediation”
  1. billybats says: Apr 7, 2011 1:40 PM

    Because Judge Nelson didn’t immediately grant an injunction, yesterday’s hearing was a victory for the owners, however small.

    Every day that goes by without an injunction is another victory for the owners, as the Mike Vrabels of the world have to resort to other measures to put food (or beer) on the table.

    The players would be smart to cut the best deal they can cut right now, before things get REALLY ugly.

  2. thelockoutbeard says: Apr 7, 2011 1:42 PM

    The Lockout Continues. As the lockout grows on so does my beard! I am growing a lockout beard! You can follow me on twitter @TheLockoutBeard.

    -The Lockout Beard-

  3. rovibe says: Apr 7, 2011 1:43 PM

    Prediction:

    The league will instead ask players to return to collective bargaining.

    if and when the players agree to do this, the league will than have more ammo to use against the players later (if necessary), saying they are now a union again, and their antitrust suit must be dropped.

  4. duanethomas says: Apr 7, 2011 1:44 PM

    All you guys on here that carry the owners slop bucket, what will your response be when they turn this offer down?

    *Funny Elwood Blues reference…he does look like him though.

  5. smarterthantheaveragebearfan says: Apr 7, 2011 1:49 PM

    At a DOCUMENTED $750 an hour why would Boies want to settle anything?

    As much as Boies is the Peyton Manning of the legal world he CAN lose the big one occasionally just like Peyton does. And this case is a loser for him and his client.

    Oh well, there’s always appeals court. And more billable hours!!!

  6. gabagool72 says: Apr 7, 2011 1:51 PM

    @TheLockoutBeard is crazy! Thats dedication!!!!

  7. mick730 says: Apr 7, 2011 1:51 PM

    The NFL and David Boies are correct; return to collective bargaining. The players lawsuit is a distraction.

  8. GeeGz says: Apr 7, 2011 1:57 PM

    LOL Lockout Beard you are a funny dude. I am following you now on twitter. I like the love you have for the sport!

  9. commoncents says: Apr 7, 2011 2:00 PM

    The players walked away from negotiating when they had the chance so they could get protection from a judge. Their formal request is a joke, and as much as i love football, the players have not negotiated or acted in good faith yet so if the season is cut short, I definitely WILL NOT feel bad for them at all.

  10. nfl25 says: Apr 7, 2011 2:05 PM

    im just glad PFT gave the reason why the owners wouldnt want to agree. usually they just act as if they couldnt imagine why the league would not agree with whatever the players ask for. i feel like the judge will rule for the players, even though i dont agree. just hammer out a deal, b4 the draft

  11. tompapp1 says: Apr 7, 2011 2:06 PM

    The owners have never negotiated in good faith why should they start now. Those that side with the owners are fools and ultimately that allegiance could harm the NFL. I believe the fans that side with the NFL do so mainly because out of selfishness because they believe that by doing so that will lead to an agreement sooner than later.

  12. bfridley says: Apr 7, 2011 2:08 PM

    “They always come back…”

  13. clayjayhawk says: Apr 7, 2011 2:10 PM

    Im getting really tired of all of this. I just gonna watch womens beach volleyball all summer and forget about this madness.

  14. mrjackson206 says: Apr 7, 2011 2:11 PM

    They need federally mediated talks. It’s the only way this new cba will get done. It’s obvious they couldn’t get it done between themselves when the courts weren’t involved, so now its time to for the courts to help them get it done. Time for both parties to have to have their hands held like little babies, so they can figure out how to split up 9 billion dollars.

  15. chapnastier says: Apr 7, 2011 2:11 PM

    How about they request going back to the CBA negotiations which would actually solve the problem.

  16. thelockoutbeard says: Apr 7, 2011 2:24 PM

    This is a battle where everyone has dug in their boots and is ready for the fight. There needs to be some type of talks between the sides otherwise us as fans will suffer longer than we have already.

    If the owners reject the request for talking it just shows their lack of will to get a deal done and get the game we love back in motion!

    The Lockout Continues. As the lockout grows on so does my beard! I am growing a lockout beard! You can follow me on twitter @TheLockoutBeard.

    -The Lockout Beard-

  17. robf2010 says: Apr 7, 2011 2:35 PM

    Mike Vrabel has earned about $20 million from the NFL. I’m sure his next meal is not a concern. The players have had well over a year to prepare for this. Missing a paycheck or two will certainly hurt some of the younger fringe players but the others will be fine. If the NFL is counting on that as leverage, they’re incredibly foolish.

    De-certifying their union might have been bad faith on the players’ part but getting lockout insurance was equally bad faith on the owners’ part and they did that first.

    The owners backed out of the CBA that was in place, brought up a potential lockout, and bought themselves lockout insurance for protection. They didn’t want a deal. They wanted a fight. This is all on them.

  18. hobartbaker says: Apr 7, 2011 2:37 PM

    With the unruly hair, cheap suits, and perpetual smile, David Boies is the anti-De Smith. Along with the fact that he is brilliant and articulate as well.

  19. FinFan68 says: Apr 7, 2011 2:37 PM

    duanethomas says:
    Apr 7, 2011 1:44 PM
    All you guys on here that carry the owners slop bucket, what will your response be when they turn this offer down?
    —————————
    Likely the same as the owners’ original point. They are not interested in a settlement of the lawsuit that the owners believe is unwarranted. They seem more than willing to actually negotiate a CBA, something the players are trying to avoid at all costs.

    The league has offered on numerous occasions specific invitations for the players to resume negotiation/mediation on a CBA and the players have remained steadfast in their avoidance.

    I do not care that the league’s last offer came at the 11th hour. The players could have gotten an extension in order to make a counter offer and continue talks but they chose not to and walked away instead. The argument about they had to decertify before they were locked out is not valid for two primary reasons. 1) If the league was hell-bent on a lockout then why didn’t they initiate it when the CBA was supposed to expire two weeks earlier? It is widely accepted that the owners strategy was to lock out the players at the expiration of the CBA. That is only partly true. The most critical part of that strategy is what the players’ side conveniently forgets, chooses to ignore, or doesn’t understand. The owners lockout strategy from day one was not going to be initiated unless/until the union stopped negotiating on a new CBA as was agreed in the prior CBA opt out clause. 2) The NLRA specifically authorizes a union to decertify but there is a restrictive provision that states the union must wait 6 months after the latest CBA expired. That provision is there to prevent the exact strategy the players are attempting to employ. They are using the courts to gain quick leverage in order to garner an advantage in any further negotiations. That is why they insist on court involvement in the process…to maintain that fabricated leverage. The NFL no more wishes to become involved in settlement talks than the union wishes to drop the suits, reform the union and negotiate on a future CBA.

  20. bunjy96 says: Apr 7, 2011 2:38 PM

    The owners would be crazy to go back to the table under the auspices of ANY court!

    That’s been a problem since the original CBA was signed. That’s why Doty is so important to the players.

    No other major sport is under court supervision in this country and I would guess no solvent business.

    Secondly, If were the league, I would not negotiate with Kessler or any of his ilk, unless they re-certify. Can’t see in any way how it could be legally binding to the NFLPA* or the league.

  21. thefiesty1 says: Apr 7, 2011 2:45 PM

    As expected, the players are coming back with their collective tails between the legs. Please, please talk to us. Owners should not respond and let the players sweat some more.

  22. tednancy says: Apr 7, 2011 2:56 PM

    FinFan68 says: Apr 7, 2011 2:37 PM

    duanethomas says:
    Apr 7, 2011 1:44 PM
    All you guys on here that carry the owners slop bucket, what will your response be when they turn this offer down?
    —————————
    Likely the same as the owners’ original point. They are not interested in a settlement of the lawsuit that the owners believe is unwarranted. They seem more than willing to actually negotiate a CBA, something the players are trying to avoid at all costs.

    The league has offered on numerous occasions specific invitations for the players to resume negotiation/mediation on a CBA and the players have remained steadfast in their avoidance.

    I do not care that the league’s last offer came at the 11th hour. The players could have gotten an extension in order to make a counter offer and continue talks but they chose not to and walked away instead. The argument about they had to decertify before they were locked out is not valid for two primary reasons. 1) If the league was hell-bent on a lockout then why didn’t they initiate it when the CBA was supposed to expire two weeks earlier? It is widely accepted that the owners strategy was to lock out the players at the expiration of the CBA. That is only partly true. The most critical part of that strategy is what the players’ side conveniently forgets, chooses to ignore, or doesn’t understand. The owners lockout strategy from day one was not going to be initiated unless/until the union stopped negotiating on a new CBA as was agreed in the prior CBA opt out clause. 2) The NLRA specifically authorizes a union to decertify but there is a restrictive provision that states the union must wait 6 months after the latest CBA expired. That provision is there to prevent the exact strategy the players are attempting to employ. They are using the courts to gain quick leverage in order to garner an advantage in any further negotiations. That is why they insist on court involvement in the process…to maintain that fabricated leverage. The NFL no more wishes to become involved in settlement talks than the union wishes to drop the suits, reform the union and negotiate on a future CBA.
    ==========================

    Very well said.

  23. CKL says: Apr 7, 2011 3:20 PM

    hobartbaker says:
    Apr 7, 2011 2:37 PM
    With the unruly hair, cheap suits, and perpetual smile, David Boies is the anti-De Smith. Along with the fact that he is brilliant and articulate as well.
    ___________________________________
    The anti-Quinn as well. Quinn always comes off as so douchey sounding. So does Atallah. And De Smith? Pffft. The NFLPA* should have considered hiring a lawyer or rep or two as spokespeople who possess SOME charisma and a decent personality on top of great legal/business acumen I assume the NFLPA* people were hired for . It wouldn’t have hurt them . How things are said can be as important as what is said especially in negotiations. And especially when trying to “speak” to fans through the media.

  24. CKL says: Apr 7, 2011 3:21 PM

    I should have added..it wouldn’t have hurt the owners to hire a commissioner who had some charisma either. I cringe whenever I hear him speak not just the content but the presentation.

  25. vetdana says: Apr 7, 2011 4:28 PM

    -The Lockout Beard-

    We dont have to follow you on Twitter because we already KNOW what you are going to look like when this is over……..

    RIP VANWINKLE !!!

  26. realfann says: Apr 7, 2011 4:38 PM

    @tednancy

    The eleventh hour “offer” was one sheet of paper with a bunch of bullet points that were not materially different from anything previously said by the owners in two years of CBA negotiations.

    The one sheet did not even describe how all of the revenue would be shared. It was incomplete.

    Seeing the owners took two weeks to come up with a one sheet partial offer that wasn’t much different than any seen previously, the players rightfully concluded it was just a stall by a set of people that didn’t really want to negotiate.

    What the owners really wanted to do was lockout the players. Which they did.

    The owners do NOT want to negotiate until the lack of income forces a break in the players ranks. They need to have games cancelled for that to happen.

    So the owners will CONTINUE to stall and stall and stall until the season is due to start.

    The owners do NOT want a court supervised mediation because the judge has punitive powers that would force the owners to REALLY negotiate.

    The owners want to go back to the federal mediator who had NO power whatsoever to curb their behavior.

    So they can stall until games are cancelled and we the fans lose out.

    Fans that want to see football in the Fall want the judge to issue the injunction ASAP and enforce it immediately.

    Then we will be GUARANTEED training camps and a 16 game season and a 2012 Superbowl.

  27. ggeden says: Apr 7, 2011 5:44 PM

    FinFan68 says: Apr 7, 2011 2:37 PM

    2) The NLRA specifically authorizes a union to decertify but there is a restrictive provision that states the union must wait 6 months after the latest CBA expired. That provision is there to prevent the exact strategy the players are attempting to employ.

    —-
    ?
    The CBA never expired, the owners walked out on it with 2 years left on it. This may make the restrictive provision you mention now redundant. Also, it’s been more than 6 months since they walked out on it. The entire 2010 season was part of that process.
    ?

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

  28. ggeden says: Apr 7, 2011 6:13 PM

    ^ sorry posted that last bit in the wrong comments section. was meant for another article.

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