During the first segment of Friday’s edition of PFT Live, we touched on a point that needs to be reiterated, given the reports (which are accurate) that Judge Susan Nelson has ordered the parties to submit to mediation.
When the two sides gather in Minnesota or D.C. or wherever else it is that they ultimately get together, they need to rely upon folks who negotiate contracts for a living.
Not the lawyers. Though plenty of lawyers do plenty of negotiating, the lawyers in this case are in litigation mode. Besides, several key figures on both sides of the table have expressed a desire to get the lawyers out of the process.
Every team has employees who negotiate player contracts, and almost every player has an agent who negotiates his contract. So why not put them to work on the CBA?
It’s not as if they currently have anything else to do.
Whether it’s a team of negotiators and agents or just one per side, having these people involved insulates the players and the owners against being directly responsible for making a deal, which will help keep the talks from getting too personal or emotional.
The only potential drawback is that the agents have a conflict of interest when it comes to the rookie wage scale. Put simply, the agents don’t want one, and that could become an issue.
Still, as long as everyone at the table realizes the existence of the conflict of interest, it potentially won’t become an insurmountable hurdle. Besides, it’s no different than the lawyers’ interest in prolonging the litigation in order to generate maximum fees.
So why not give it a try? Nothing else has worked. Maybe persons who routinely have found a way to get deals done — and who need to preserve their ability to work together in the future — will be able to help bridge a gap that isn’t nearly as big as the two sides would have us all believe.