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League, players to talk mediation with Judge Nelson today

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Thursday’s flurry of letters between the NFL and the lawyers who represent the players suing the league for, among other things, an end to the lockout will give way, apparently, to actual discussions on Friday.

Albert Breer of NFL.com, who has obtained the four letters that went back and forth between counsel for the two sides on Thursday, reports that a letter from David Boies refers to a Friday conference call with the court “to discuss mediation.”

If so, it’s an encouraging sign, since it means that Judge Nelson will be in position to mediate the communications regarding where and how mediation will continue.  With both sides hoping not to alienate Judge Nelson (or, at best, to suck up to her), hopefully enough bending by each side can be done to break the logjam over whether the mediation will occur in front of George Cohen, or whether Judge Nelson will appoint someone through the court to handle it.

The most obvious compromise would be an appointment of George Cohen by Judge Nelson.  Last time around, Cohen had no real power over the parties, since he had no judge to whom he could report if one side or the other were being unreasonable, obnoxious, or hostile.  Instead, his only option was to quit (which he should have done, given that both parties blatantly violated the media blackout he requested).

If Judge Nelson appoints Cohen, then Cohen will have a pipeline to Judge Nelson if, for example, Jerry Jones tries to intimidate the players or if the players want to end the process after getting an objectively reasonable offer because they don’t believe they’re getting enough face time with the owners in a process that routinely entails limited face time with the other side in the dispute.

To her credit, Judge Nelson realizes that the best resolution to this mess is one that the parties fashion.  The first challenge will be to fashion a resolution as to how a resolution will be attempted.

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22 Responses to “League, players to talk mediation with Judge Nelson today”
  1. commoncents says: Apr 8, 2011 8:59 AM

    And this time, Jerry Jones will be negotiating directly with Antonio Cromartie.

  2. geo1113 says: Apr 8, 2011 8:59 AM

    The crux of the biscuit IMO is the amount of financial information. Once they get past that, the real negotiations can begin. But make no mistake, the owners are not going to give the player 10 years of audited financial statements.

  3. pftidiot says: Apr 8, 2011 9:00 AM

    So what you are saying is that the Judge will be the mediator to discuss the possibility of resuming mediation? Nice, to many lawyers involved.

    I know each side wants their own slice of pie, but they should both remember that some pie is better than no pie. Unfortunately, they will continue to argue because both sides want 50.1% of the pie so they can say they won. Until they come to an agreement, both sides are losers, and we as fans are too.

  4. eagleswin says: Apr 8, 2011 9:07 AM

    “or if the players want to end the process after getting an objectively reasonable offer because they don’t believe they’re getting enough face time with the owners in a process that routinely entails limited face time with the other side in the dispute.”

    I can’t believe you just admitted the players might’ve been unreasonable during the first round of mediated negotiations. Why is that the players were the only people on the planet who didn’t understand that mediation involves limited facetime with the other party? I don’t recall an observation like this when the players were crying about respect a few weeks ago.

  5. bigd9484 says: Apr 8, 2011 9:07 AM

    Gotta throw a like in on this one. Have the players judge overseeing the owners choice for mediator, sounds like a compromise to me. In exchange, the players agree to bargain for the CBA so that the draft and free agency aren’t compromised by the lawsuit.

  6. 2011to2020lions says: Apr 8, 2011 9:10 AM

    Just get a deal in place

  7. tednancy says: Apr 8, 2011 9:14 AM

    “To her credit, Judge Nelson realizes that the best resolution to this mess is one that the parties fashion.”

    Exactly right. Let’s get back to the table, and out of the courtroom ASAP and make a deal.

  8. txchief says: Apr 8, 2011 9:15 AM

    commoncents says:
    Apr 8, 2011 8:59 AM

    And this time, Jerry Jones will be negotiating directly with Antonio Cromartie.

    ————————————————-

    Commoncents, possibly one of the best posts here ever!

    How about a shootout between Aqib Talib and Al Davis? Theycould have Bill Bellichek film it.

  9. bukes111 says: Apr 8, 2011 9:19 AM

    Hopefully both sides can agree to this compromise.

  10. vickadelphiaphreedom says: Apr 8, 2011 9:20 AM

    Thankfully baseball bumps right up against the beginning of hockey and basketball….cause there will be NO football this season.

  11. Kaz says: Apr 8, 2011 9:25 AM

    Well, I’m tired of the up and down moments of hope. Holla at me when we have an agreement. Hope was soooo last month.

  12. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: Apr 8, 2011 9:30 AM

    Given his background with the parties and the issues, George Cohen is the logical choice here. The mediation should center on negotiating a new CBA that no longer contemplates judicial supervision on a going forward basis. Settlement of the Brady antitrust action should be a secondary matter. The owners should grant the players the legal protection they’re seeking relative to their “disclaimer of interest.”

  13. bukes111 says: Apr 8, 2011 9:37 AM

    vickadelphiaphreedom says:
    Apr 8, 2011 9:20 AM
    Thankfully baseball bumps right up against the beginning of hockey and basketball….cause there will be NO football this season.
    __________________________________

    Don’t kid yourself about basketball. The players and owners are further apart there then they are here. I’m almost positive basketball will skip a season.

  14. ftblfan9 says: Apr 8, 2011 10:20 AM

    Unfortunately there is no real pressure on either side to reach agreement right now and I doubt Judge Nelson can truly create a sense of urgency.

    The players are missing “voluntary” offseason workouts and are not due the big paychecks yet, and the owners are not losing gate revenue yet.

    Don’t you think the players would like to see this go long enough to have to cancel a couple of preseason games?

  15. eagleswin says: Apr 8, 2011 10:22 AM

    bukes111 says:
    Apr 8, 2011 9:37 AM

    Don’t kid yourself about basketball. The players and owners are further apart there then they are here. I’m almost positive basketball will skip a season.
    ————————
    Don’t forget that the NBA completely opened the books to the players and it’s part of the reason they are further apart. Anyone who keeps harping on the owners opening their books further should look at what’s happening in the NBA.

  16. vetdana says: Apr 8, 2011 10:26 AM

    I’m almost positive basketball will skip a season.

    Thats OK… I stopped watching them after their last dispute !!…..I never was a fan of gaudy jewels…either !

  17. realitypolice says: Apr 8, 2011 10:47 AM

    bigd9484 says:
    Apr 8, 2011 9:07 AM
    Gotta throw a like in on this one. Have the players judge overseeing the owners choice for mediator, sounds like a compromise to me.

    ===========================

    I would agree with you that it is a good compromise.

    The only small caveat would be that I think it is slightly unfair to label Judge Nelson as a “player’s judge” just yet.

    While it is certainly true that the players seem to prefer judges to mediators in general, I don’t think this particular judge has shown any bias toward the players yet.

    Yet. Let’s see how things go today.

  18. polegojim says: Apr 8, 2011 10:55 AM

    Com-promise is an Art developed by reasonable people to reach agreement at critical junctures of important issues. Obviously there is a lack of such on both sides.

    Hmmm… sounds interestingly like the same issues on the Hill… shutting down tonight over an inability to…let’s see… compromise and reach agreement. How remarkable.

    By all means, let’s get THOSE leaders involved. That should prove fruitful.

    Concessions and reciprocol modification of demands. Why is this so hard?
    Yes it will be less than hoped and even painful, but it will result in a solution where everybody has done their part.

  19. realitypolice says: Apr 8, 2011 11:27 AM

    @polegojim:

    Excellent post.

    What happened to compromise in America?

    If Congress is willing to shut down an entire country instead of compromising, why should we think the owners and the NFLPA* would be reluctant to shut down a sports league?

    I’m not sure who said this first, but the perfect compromise is one in which neither party winds up completely happy.

    The only way to negotiate a compromise is to realize that it only works if you are willing to take less than what you want.

  20. laeaglefan says: Apr 8, 2011 12:09 PM

    As Andy Reid would say….

    Its Judge Nelson’s job to put the players and owners in a better position to have a successful outcome to their negotiations.

  21. thefiesty1 says: Apr 8, 2011 12:42 PM

    Good, get it done. The players should shut up and accept whatever the owners offer and get back to work. This all has basically been a players strike and now with the decertified union* they have no organization and should deal with the owners individually. The players should be happy with whatever the owners give them, they are after all, the employee. Either accept or go find another job.

  22. realfann says: Apr 8, 2011 3:52 PM

    The judge should order negotiations under her leadership and issue an injunction to end the lockout.

    That’s the only way we will be guaranteed training camp, the draft, free agency & football in the Fall.

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